Friday, October 03, 2008

Redefining Freedom

I spent tonight with my work friends watching the American VP debate as well as the Canadian Prime Minister debate. Both were interesting in their own way, but the Prime Minister debate was much more interesting simply on the basis that there were 5 people debating at a roundtable, and they were actually talking face-to-face instead of simply just providing an answer then moving on to the next question (Meaning it was an actual debate).

When I hear someone (Sarah Palin) talking about freedom, I always ask myself what I consider freedom to be. I know that my definition of freedom contrasts that of many others. I feel some people see freedom as the freedom to arm themselves, or the freedom to live in their dream-home, or the freedom to drive a big SUV, or the freedom to buy consumer goods.

I truly consider myself an extremely lucky person. First of all I'm lucky to be born where I was born, I'm lucky to come from a great family with good values, I'm lucky to have the freedom to make choices that I feel are for the better of the world, and I'm extremely fortunate not to be tempted to make choices that will corrupt me.

Freedom, defined by the American Heritage Dictionary is:
free•dom (frē'dəm) Pronunciation Key
  1. The condition of being free of restraints.

  2. Liberty of the person from slavery, detention, or oppression.

    1. Political independence.

    2. Exemption from the arbitrary exercise of authority in the performance of a specific action; civil liberty: freedom of assembly.

    3. The right to unrestricted use; full access: was given the freedom of their research facilities.

    4. The right of enjoying all of the privileges of membership or citizenship: the freedom of the city.

  3. Exemption from an unpleasant or onerous condition: freedom from want.

  4. The capacity to exercise choice; free will: We have the freedom to do as we please all afternoon.

  5. Ease or facility of movement: loose sports clothing, giving the wearer freedom.

  6. Frankness or boldness; lack of modesty or reserve: the new freedom in movies and novels.
    1. The right to unrestricted use; full access: was given the freedom of their research facilities.

    2. The right of enjoying all of the privileges of membership or citizenship: the freedom of the city.

  7. A right or the power to engage in certain actions without control or interference: "the seductive freedoms and excesses of the picaresque form" (John W. Aldridge).

Here is how I see freedom:
  • Not being a prisoner to the oil companies and fluctuating gas prices
  • Not being a prisoner to a bank for loans that I can't afford
  • Wearing jeans that I've had for over 7 years
  • Riding my bike home from work enjoying the fresh air
  • Walking where I need to go and not being a slave to a schedule
  • Not being a prisoner to a stock portfolio that will determine the rest of my life
  • Knowing that I could be happy living on very little
  • Continuing to learn more about the world
I'm afraid that my definition of freedom is not the same as other people. I see freedom as living a simple life that doesn't go beyond my own means, that doesn't put an unnecessary strain on the earth's resources, that allows me to try to learn more about the world and how we got where we are, and doesn't make me a slave to anybody or anything.

I wish others will someday share my dream of this type of freedom. I really hope an economic catastrophe and depression will make people realize how unnecessary their lifestyles were and will truly bring people closer to their family and well within their means. This is a dream I have, and sometimes it takes a catastrophic event to achieve it.


Anonymous said...

Jim,You are an awesome person! Hopefully you can influence others to think the same way as you.


kam said...

Jim, I'm not going to challenge your definitions of freedom, but I would like to hear more about the ways you'd like to ahieve it.

Specifically, I'd like to know more about two of your bullets:
1. What are the ways we can avoid being affected by fluctuating fuel prices, when most of the very food we eat is delivered to us in ways we cannot control?
2. What in your opinion are the realistic alternatives to a stock portfolio, when it comes to saving for retirement or education?

Just wanna keep hearing you thinking buddy!

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