From the beginning of civilization, slavery was already part of its social system. In fact, biblical story tells that Moses led the Israelites out of enslavement and the tyranny of the Egyptian pharaohs. Thus, servitude could be traced back in the history of every society. Up to this modern age, bondage has various disguised faces like chameleons.
In the progression of time, liberty becomes more and more intense issue of societal order. The tale of gladiator who fights to death to be a free man, the accounts of public discussions in the agora of ancient Athens to practice the democratic way of life, and the fight against proliferation of modern-day slavery among other things are unrelenting issues of freedom and liberty in the history of humankind and governance.
In the past, freedom was defined to be the absence of oppression and slavery. Its meaning changed accordingly in the course of time to satisfy the voracity of the controlling authority. While slavery contends for freedom, today’s bondage is certainly an upshot of economic adversities and wealth exploitation, political games, and sovereignty intrusions to name a few. And, in today’s most complicated world, freedom seems like everything.
The power to express physically (to act), verbally (to speak) or mentally (to think) as one wants is termed freedom. Nevertheless, it must be understood that said freedom must be used without detrimental effects to or overpowering other people. Otherwise, the exercise of such freedom ceases others to practice their own. For this reason, rights are ordinarily used other than freedom because of its lawful, moral and social entitlements. At this instant, the context of liberty is not absolute but it is soundly communal or collective.
Since we are living in a conjoint society, laws are equalizers of freedom which set fair boundaries in the perspective of mutual gains. Freedom demands responsibility for our words and for our ideas that we put into actions. Imagine a society without laws where anyone does as s/he wants in the name of freedom? There would be a complete disorder and upheavals, a survival of the fittest and the powerful. Vandalism and slander, exempli gratia, as expressions of thoughts with conforming actions are corruptions of freedom. This means that one’s power to think, speak, and act goes beyond the limitations stipulated by law. Moreover, present-day freedom gears towards peace and order for the common good which we call, in governance, a democracy. Equality before the law establishes freedom and explicitly interprets that no one is above the law.
Unequivocally, freedom is not what one wants! More so, it is certainly not for the elite few who influence others for their selfish motives. Never disgrace the freedom fought for us by our true heroes and heroines of the past. Let us not discard our liberty by exerting too much efforts to think adversely and to act drastically against one another. The freedom we ought to have is a selfless freedom, clinched with commitment and people’s oneness in spirit.
Centuries ago, our freedom had been triumphed by our ancestors and we are now relishing the prize of their sacrifices. In respect and gratitude to this bequest, our only obligation is to safeguard and nurture such freedom for the betterment of our society and for the coming generations. Soberly, the dynamics and concept of today’s freedom is commonly taken the wrong way creating shadows of egoistic motivations. Freedom brings us unity and should never create divisions among us which would weaken its spirit and lessen its essential paybacks.
By magnifying the oblivion of our existing freedom, let us reflectively re-examine ourselves and prudently look into the walls we might had created thwarting its purpose and meaning. The shades that impede freedom to thrive are within ourselves. Candidly, we are free to do the best we could for ourselves and for our neighbors. The question is, how do we use and make the most of our liberty? Being aware of life’s undercurrents at present, every person has different ways of safekeeping their freedom. Whilst others opted to die for it, others had chosen to live in despair and slavery.
The world is so complex, swiftly changing and engulfed with enormous social, economic, political and environmental problems among other issues. With all these given facts, if we would think all of those muddles in our minds, we are becoming architects of our own penal colony. Relatively, many of us are allowing ourselves to be prisoners of impractical ideologies, of our past (or false history), untruthful broadcasting, social media, personal vices and the likes. We submit ourselves to be slaves of modern technology, consumerism, materialism, and most of all, the glow of money. These things control our freedom to explore and grow to have a meaningful life.
Similarly, lot of us are incarcerated by emotional temperaments and setbacks. Our angers, our fears and inferiorities, our regrets and frustrations, and our retributions and envies deregulate the flow of positive thoughts of selflessness, peace, compassion and mindfulness of others. Let us not make our freedom senseless and worthless through our selfish intentions and by becoming undisciplined, obnoxious and defiant while hiding in the robe of liberty.
Hence, the greatest form of slavery is not from the outside force, it is coming from within ourselves. To be mentally confined with negative thoughts, holding on to letdowns of the past, our materialistic attitudes and the love for money tangled with emotional cargoes latch us into slavery, depriving ourselves with the freedom we actually owned.
First and foremost, to relish personal freedom is to have spiritual cleansing, not necessarily being religious, to attain a higher level of consciousness. The process of letting go or emptying our minds of the destructive thoughts and reviving our emotional banks with positive feelings would give us peace and happiness. Let our hearts and minds recuperate with positivity and acceptance of reality.
Reflectively, the greatest and unconditional freedom is the freedom to change for the better, to do good things and make a difference, to spread love and compassion, and to bring peace in every human encounters.
Putting all things together, I firmly believe that the holistic concept of freedom shall be based on one’s peace of mind and happiness and that truth will always set us free to fulfill our life’s purpose.