AtoZ Freedom U

Freedom U

Do we have a universal understanding of freedom? Does the concept of freedom feature in all lives and cultures? Do some not know what the word means? Does the east’s understanding of freedom differ to the west’s understanding? Northern and southern countries?Β 

Underlying all of this is, I suppose, the question of how conscious or unconscious we are of that beat, that striving, that yearning to be free of our inner demons (a daemon also) and those underpinnings of society. How aware or unaware are we of the choices we make?

Dalai Lama: “The problems we face today, violent conflicts, destruction of nature, poverty, hunger and so on, are human-created problems which can be resolved by human effort, understanding and the development of a sense of brotherhood and sisterhood. We need to cultivate a personal responsibility for one another and the planet we share”.

Eleanor Roosevelt: “True patriotism springs from a belief in the dignity of the individual, freedom and equality not only for Americans but for all people on earth, universal brotherhood and good will, and a constant and earnest striving towards the principles and ideals on which this country was founded”.

Woody Allen: ‘More than at any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray that we have the wisdom to choose correctly’. πŸ™‚

Nicki S:Β For me, freedom brings a lightness and space in your head from all the monkey chatter. Freedom in your surroundings and your own personal space without restrictions and regulations from others, or even oneself.
Thank you for reading and I so appreciate your comments –

32 Comments on AtoZ Freedom U

  1. Another great post, Susan, with much to ponder. I don’t think I like Woody Allen’s choices though. Perhaps there is a third?

  2. Good question, Susan. I don’t’ think most people truly understand the meaning of “freedom”.

    Like the other Susan mentioned in the comments above, we are held too tightly in the clutches of our subconscious conditioning.

    Doing things in a certain way, just because that’s how they’ve been done for centuries.

    Captive to what others will think. Captive to our own fears and self doubts. Who in the world is totally free? I, for one, am definitely not.

    Find my V post @ My Favorite Video Game As A Kid: Nintendo Oil Panic

    • Thanks Kaddu – our culture and conditioning keeps us captive indeed – you’ve expressed it so well! Are we free – maybe not after all –

  3. Thanks again for your thoughts and wonderful quotes, Susan. My responses to your last two blogs were more pessimistic than I feel most days–a little too much like the Woody Allen quote. It is a hard time, but piling on the despair doesn’t help. I can look at the Dalai Lama, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Sri Chinmoy and allow them to re-kindle hope and I can plant lettuce in my garden for me and wildflower seeds for the butterflies. Every morning when I wake up, I am free to walk into the day and do one good or generous thing for another human being or for the earth. Sometimes that’s all I can ask.

    • Thanks Elaine – I feel I have been a bit darkly pessimistic .. but like you I find joy in the small things. It’s been a hard thing to write about Freedom and see it in a wider lens for me but I’ve been learning along the way what it’s meant for others and more others .. πŸ™‚ And the history of it and how it’s been a hard won courageous struggle for freedom fighters, if won at all. All the freedoms we have – like as you say planting in your garden and looking after the Monarchs and their being free to go elsewhere, my receiving an email from my bridesmaid in Ohio, hopping into my car to do some shopping, watching the lovely rain – all this is heart warming in amongst the tragedies. Terrible floodings in the south east where I live – unbelievable – the loss of life and displacement of so many and the destruction of so much .. South Africans are great givers and help in so many ways.

  4. Hi Susan,
    It is difficult to have a universal understanding of freedom as the concept of freedom is seen through cultural and religious lens. Though basic human values should be respected and an individual or a group should be given the freedom to thrive. Diversity is the law of nature and just because someone has a different gender or ethnicity or values etc. – does not mean they should not enjoy equal freedom!
    Read my U post here UBUNTU

  5. Thinking about animals and their sense of freedom…most have never been restricted and just go about their daily activities…envious of that!!!

  6. How do we understand each other? Even if free, can we get out of our unconscious ruts? Freedom stretches the borders of the unconscious to emerge into consciousness…

  7. I think there are definitely differences in how different groups, cultures, countries, individuals define freedom. Think about the Saudi women wanting the freedom to drive, while perhaps still denied many other freedoms. And there are also differences through time. Here in the US, the thirteen colonies fought for “freedom,” while many of them kept slaves–and certainly gave little thought to allowing white women the rights given to white men. And meanwhile, England thought the Americans had the same rights as others other “Englishmen.”
    Sorry, I’m so behind reading your posts!

    • It seems that for some, particular freedoms are more important than others. And they do change over time – our democracy is still a young & struggling one; all here in SA were given the freedom to vote 25 years ago. Would I sacrifice one freedom in favour of another? I probably would if I had to, if I found myself between a rock and a hard place.

      Please don’t worry or be sorry about being behind Merril – I know you’re hugely busy!

  8. You’re doing such a great job Susan! I love all of today’s “Freedom” quotes, so thank you for sharing them. Earlier I read this excerpt β€œFreedom” by Kahlil Gibran taken from his book, “The Prophet” which I feel called myself to share. I haven’t read this passage for over ten years yet find the truth and understanding in his words eternally powerful! If you haven’t come across Gibran before you’re in for a special treat. Love and light, Deborah.

    And an orator said, β€œSpeak to us of Freedom.”

    And he (the prophet) answered: At the city gate and by your fireside I have seen you prostrate yourself and worship your own freedom, Even as slaves humble themselves before a tyrant and praise him though he slays them.

    Aye, in the grove of the temple and in the shadow of the citadel I have seen the freest among you wear their freedom as a yoke and a handcuff.

    And my heart bled within me; for you can only be free when even the desire of seeking freedom becomes a harness to you, and when you cease to speak of freedom as a goal and a fulfillment.

    You shall be free indeed when your days are not without a care nor your nights without a want and a grief, But rather when these things girdle your life and yet you rise above them naked and unbound.

    And how shall you rise beyond your days and nights unless you break the chains which you at the dawn of your understanding have fastened around your noon hour?

    In truth that which you call freedom is the strongest of these chains, though its links glitter in the sun and dazzle your eyes.

    And what is it but fragments of your own self you would discard that you may become free? If it is an unjust law you would abolish, that law was written with your own hand upon your own forehead.

    You cannot erase it by burning your law books nor by washing the foreheads of your judges, though you pour the sea upon them. And if it is a despot you would dethrone, see first that his throne erected within you is destroyed.

    For how can a tyrant rule the free and the proud, but for a tyranny in their own freedom and a shame in their own pride? And if it is a care you would cast off, that care has been chosen by you rather than imposed upon you.

    And if it is a fear you would dispel, the seat of that fear is in your heart and not in the hand of the feared.

    Verily all things move within your being in constant half embrace, the desired and the dreaded, the repugnant and the cherished, the pursued and that which you would escape.

    These things move within you as lights and shadows in pairs that cling. And when the shadow fades and is no more, the light that lingers becomes a shadow to another light.
    And thus your freedom when it loses its fetters becomes itself the fetter of a greater freedom.

    written by Kahlil Gibran.

    • Gibran’s words are so powerfully true Deborah thank you. I have The Prophet, but not here at my other home right now, but I remember being so struck by his words and how he encapsulated the opposites and gave us deeper ways of looking into life away from our usual way … “your children are not your children. They are the children of Life’s longing for itself” – I don’t know if that’s accurate.

      Each and every word of this excerpt is so beautiful. ‘And if it is a despot you would dethrone, see first that his throne erected within you is destroyed’. From the lowest, the highest can rise. And accept even the unacceptable within yourself. Jung may have said that last – I remember reading and writing that down somewhere on a scrap of paper or in a notebook.

      Thank you so much for this Deborah.

      Love and Light to you ..

  9. I think I see this in terms of a micro/macro problem. At the micro level I don’t think we do have a universal understanding of freedom, and that frankly it seems impossible to me as long as we’re playing the us/them separation game. If I can’t hold for you the rights I myself wish to claim, my definition of freedom is irreparably flawed. And yet, I hold absolutely that we can shift into the macro view of unity consciousness that recognizes we ARE all the same and change our beliefs and behaviors accordingly.

    • Unity consciousness – ie on the collective level. Where does it start though – from the micro to the macro? I agree that while we keep the us and them alive there is little hope. Thanks Deborah ..

  10. Right now, there seems a disparity in the definition of freedom. People can’t seem to agree and they feel that their way is the ONLY way. I’m so discouraged in the world’s people.

    • People definitely have differing ideas about freedom. It’s very discouraging when people think their way is the only way – I’ve just got onto my computer now to respond and it looks as if there’re some very interesting comments from which I hope you’ll take heart.

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