September 29     

Today's quotation:

Total freedom is never what one imagines and, in fact, hardly exists.  It comes as a shock in life to learn that we usually only exchange one set of restrictions for another.  The second set, however, is self-chosen, and therefore easier to accept.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Today's Meditation:

I do have to laugh sometimes when I hear people talking about their "freedoms."  I think that most of us realize that our freedoms are very limited, at best, because one of the needs of society is to function smoothly, and that tends to be impossible if everyone is free to do just as they please all the time.  What most of us do is adapt our wants and needs to conform to the rules of society, so that we feel free when we think about what we want to do versus what we're allowed to do.

I couldn't drive up to Canada without a passport.  Yes, I'm free to visit Canada (and I love doing so), but I'm free only as long as I'm carrying that little booklet with me.  In some states, I can buy all the wine I want-- but not before 8 a.m., and not on certain days of the week.  I'm free to buy a car and travel wherever I want within this country, but if I decide I want to drive at certain speeds, I can expect to be penalized severely-- up to having the license that allows me that freedom taken away by the state, effectively depriving me of that particular freedom.

I know that most of us are fine with these restrictions on our freedoms.  After all, if all of our freedoms were unlimited, the chances are very good that we'd all be living in anarchic states that tend to be very violent, as some people's ideas of freedom would definitely involve harming others to take what they want when they want it or to exact revenge whenever they feel like it.  We only have to read about many towns in the old West in the United States to see what could happen when "law and order" are absent from society.

Most of us are willing to sacrifice a significant number of freedoms so that the elements in society that would cause harm are kept in check.  And that's fine-- personally, I would rather lose some freedoms and live in a safe place than have all my freedoms and have to be afraid for my life every day.  That's called compromise, and we compromise our freedoms every day-- and our compromise helps to contribute to the greater good all the time.

Questions to consider:

Why do so many people consider freedom to be so important?

What are some of the freedoms that you're glad that other people don't have?

What would a society that imposed no restrictions on freedoms look like?  Would you want to live there?

For further thought:

The only person who is really free is the one who can turn down an invitation to dinner without giving an excuse.

Jules Renard

more thoughts and ideas on freedom



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