A: Art, Ambiguity, Autonomy & Actions

Is Freedom fixed and true and absolute? Is it somewhat ambiguous?  We may talk and think about eg Freedom from Fear, Freedom from Pain, freedom in aging, freedom of expression, freedom of speech, fight for freedom, the freedom one may feel when e.g. free from an abusive partner and so on …

“The character of human life, like the character of the human condition, like the character of all life, is ‘ambiguity’, the inseparable mixture of good and evil, the true and false, the creative and destructive forces – both individual and social“. Paul Tillich, Historian. (emphasis on ‘all’ is mine)

So, for the next 25 posts of this A-Z blog challenge, I’ll be putting up quotes from those known and unknown. The unknown are however known to me. I decided only on Wednesday to do this challenge after being quite certain that this time I wouldn’t. Freedom was on my mind if only because of the political strife happening in our country. Protests galore, roads being scorched, cars and trucks having stones and rocks thrown at them and thereby any travel was severely curtailed. Freedom to travel safely was taken from them by outside factors (pre-election posturing and protesting, in a sometimes violent fashion) –

Re the unknowns – On Wednesday afternoon I sent out a what’s app to personal friends saying I was going to do this challenge and I was requesting from them what Freedom means to them personally. The responses have been wonderful, real and varied.

Nikki C – Autonomy over our choices, actions and emotions.

Lindy G – To be free means for me the ability to accept ‘what is’ – it goes without saying that this is easier said than done.

Thank you for reading. Do you have any thoughts on this? I’d love to hear!

42 Comments on A for Art, Ambiguity, Autonomy, Actions

  1. Too fabulous! Love it! I shall not comment too much …. I look forward to just enjoying the entire alphabet.

  2. To quote your own Nelson Mandela: “I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.” Embracing and living that concept is what real freedom means to me. Great start, Susan! xo

    • Mr. Mandela certainly used those words but he was quoting an English poet, William Ernest Henley (1849-1903), the poem called ‘Invictus’.

      The last verse of the 4 verse poem reads:
      It matters not how strait the gate,
      How charged with punishments the scroll,
      I am the master of my fate:
      I am the captain of my soul.

      The last 2 lines are most inspiring and an ideal worth striving towards! Thanks for coming by Pam xx

  3. So glad to read your post susan, you never cease to amaze me – i not only read what you write but more interestingly i read all the comments which gives me varied perspectives of how the others view – I saw a few freedom quotes and I like to share with you:”You will never be free until you free yourself, from the prison of your own false thoughts.” I do not know who said it, am guessing may be Buddha:) Hoping to connect with you for the next 25 days. All the best to you!!

    • Firstly I know that your mother-in-law died recently Genevive so my deepest condolences to you all. May her dear soul rest in Peace.

      Thank you for your lovely quote – I’ve definitely heard variations of this; maybe Buddha, maybe Hafez the Persian poet. – I agree the comments add sooo much!

      All best to you for April and A-Z xx

  4. You couldn’t make this up Susan! I’ve just got home from the “Freedom Centre” where I go swimming a couple of mornings a week. What an amazing coincidence! So, after reading your first “ambiguous” post, wonderful comments and thought-provoking replies I agree, “Freedom” definitely means different things for different people. Re: inner work, annihilating the ego comes to mind and the joy of attaining freedom from “desire” too.

    I can imagine how tempting it must’ve been to want to be free from even taking part in this challenge, and yet, you succumbed … why? Perhaps to learn how to understand freedom in a deeper, more profound way then perhaps otherwise possible … and even better, then to share all that knowledge with other like-minded souls also on their journey to “Freedom” (however defined).

    In the words of the singer George Michael, taken from his “Freedom” song, “Well it looks like the road to heaven / But it feels like the road to hell …” Yesterday, I took a day off work and revelled in spring cleaning my home, pottering around the garden, posting my poem and taking a long walk around my favourite woodlands, now carpeted in white anemones. What freedom I sung to myself! Love and light, Deborah.

    • Thank you for your lovely comment Deborah … the Freedom Centre and swimming – ahh, being held afloat by water or striving through it! And then to come by my post! 🙂 🙂 🙂

      I was going to use Mike S (my elder son’s quote) under I for Illusion or P for Possible and I will still, but just because you’ve said about it, I’ll use it here:-

      Mike S: The question defies itself. Freedom to ME is only possible when the ego shuts up, ie in psychosis, altered states or in dreams (flying etc..) As soon as there’s the illusion of ME, there’s no freedom.

      And Susanne van Doorn in my Theme reveal said about George Michael …Desire means different things too to different people. I’ve usually considered it as an attachment though I’ve come to realise it may mean more than that in its best sense. Though I’m still not sure –

      Freedom indeed for you as you went about your day! May all days be such! Love to you too, Susan

  5. dear susan,
    I was Almost a late starter to the a to z and some part of me itches to … but I know my plate is full .. …Anyway nice touch of A’s here – in terms of freedom I have come in my pursuit of it to realise that it is found within – sure the shackles exist in the physical world but it is the internal world where we can work to Be Free. perhaps nelson mandella is an example of this. I do think that like all concepts they morph and change as we do ..

    • Thanks Sandra – the inner work is so important, I’m with you on that one. Mr. Nelson Mandela and his Long Walk to Freedom (the title of his book) is an example of freedom and its value. Anyway, it’s really early here this morning. The sunrise is spectacular and streaky with colour and a sliver of moon is in the oddest position – those elements in the sky are surely free.

  6. Freedom means different things to different people. Countries, cultures, regimes are so diverse. Freedom to some would still seem like captivity to those of us in more privileged societies. You’ve taken on a lot with your theme, I wish you well with it.

    • Thanks Keith for coming by. I guess there are many cultures to whom Freedom is not even a concept. Those who do not have the Judeo-Christian/Platonic western world view no doubt look at the world somewhat differently. Thanks for your good wishes with this theme. I hope you’ll come by again.

  7. Susan, I am glad you are making this challenge a collaborative effort. For years, I was in charge of training in the cooperative learning initiative at our college. I know the value of combining the efforts of many.

    The Paul Tillich quote resonates with me, for sure. One of the skills I have tried to acquire is moving forward even as I struggle with ambiguity, without and within.

    I am sorry about the political strife in your country. Right now we have a war of words in ours, so disheartening. Still, I aim to live under the roof of hope. Thank you for creating such a wonderful post, Susan.

    • Thanks Marian for coming by. Ambiguity, uncertainty and paradox are well worth being acquainted with – though it would be jolly nice to have some order every now and then in the political arena. There, there is too much confusion, devilish forces at play.

      My sister’s daughter’s ex husband was here in Plett with his sons (my grandnephews, who are so adorable) last week. He was saying that he does not pay much attention to the news these days and is much happier for it! a few of my friends say likewise –

  8. When I hear ‘Freedom’ … this is what bubbles up in my mind. Our American sense of self and the understanding of freedom is being crystalized right now in our current political circus – because freedom feels like it is slipping away. Prior to this last 2+ years I think Americans have been ‘napping.’ Gliding along without any appreciation of the rare gift our country is in the international community. Now, when ideas and principles we hold dear are being challenged, ignored and sometimes scorned, we are beginning to wake up to the notion that our freedom might just be at risk. It is sort of like the old saying – you don’t miss it until it is gone. These are scary times.

    • Thanks for coming by Elaine. It’s true that we often note something only when it’s in danger of being taken away or when it’s already taken away. Believe me when I say that I am very concerned too when I see what is happening in the world and much aware of your politics and also in our own back yard, or at the front door .. scary times. Hopefully we’ll wake up –

  9. This is really amazing. I do not think about freedom a lot. This might be because I believe that not everyone will have the same views on it. What is freedom to one person may be oppression to someone else. No one will ever be really happy so to me freedom is a constant battle. A beautiful concept but a battle nonetheless

    • Thanks Zeanna for coming by. It’s happened through history that the oppressed often becomes the oppressor, strange as it is. Happy is not a word that is much in my vocab – I like moments of contentment or joy … actually now that I write ‘joy’ this is what happiness is!

  10. Freedom seems to bring the amorphous from its very inception as you begin this alphabet of thoughts and feelings…

    • Thanks Susan – hopefully there’ll be more clarity along the way or more thoughts and feelings about it. Freedom of expression/s comes to mind ..

  11. I love that you’ve decided to do the challenge Susan, and I certainly like the quote you’ve chosen for today. I definitely hold that to be true. I think about freedom a lot as well, but I think my focus is mostly internal, as I truly believe that my call is always to keep expressing inward outward. I’m certain that’s how I contribute the most. This morning I’ve been thinking about Rumi’s words: “When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” That to me is freedom.

    Happy April, and good luck with the challenge!

    • Thanks Deborah! Yes, keeping the freedom within firstly is the best way to express it outwardly … and Rumi’s quote is powerful. I may use it … I want to use Rumi in some way. May I quote you directly in one of my posts?

  12. I’ll add the word Anxiety to your list. Despite the freedom of my home environment and a personal life relatively untouched by violence, the United States is now captive to politicians who stir fear and hatred and constantly threaten violence. Everyone I know is anxious about the loss of democracy and freedom. On top of universal goals, we now have free-floating anxiety about what will be done to take away more freedoms or destroy the environment or take away more social benefits, health care, etc.

    • It’s unbelievable how powerful governments are Elaine. Free floating anxiety is the right word – it’s happening here in our country too … yet, we are not giving up (Tho believe me I feel like it). The individual voice does count and we have to stand up and be heard. And civil society and groups and organisations are winning the battle in meaningful ways – some countries are saying NO to deforestation – but I read and hear about T on TV and his hench men – and women … and I despair …
      Keep the Faith …

  13. There are various aspects to being free, Susan, that are dear to me. One is the ability to enjoy my home and garden, the things I have worked very hard for in a difficult job where I pay very high taxes on everything I earn, without worrying that someone will jump over the wall and attack me, the second, is the ability to drive in and out of my gate and travel to work without being hijacked or broken into, the third is to be able to work in peace and be able to rely on the integrity of work done by others. I don’t have any of these freedoms any more and it does make me sad. I know my children will leave South Africa for a better life elsewhere which is even sadder.

    • Robbie, yes this is the reality today sad to say. We took freedom for granted and enjoyed all that it brought us and now – well, now we maybe have to fight for freedom – which will probably be my F post … and just maybe post election we’ll be on a better trajectory … thank you for coming by and keep safe.

  14. I love your post, as like in your country the U.S.A. is undergoing challenges around Freedom. What we are allowed to think, or do with our bodies, or the religion we choose to practice. It seems that politics is now limiting our freedom instead of encouraging freedom.

    Happy April 1 to you! You have done a great start with your challenge.

    • Thanks Gwynn so much. I’ve taken on a bit more than I can chew re this theme 🙂 but it is so relevant. And very challenging I agree as we feel freedoms slipping away …

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