Freedom V

Do we have a vision of Freedom? How do we imagine it – every one living in peace and harmony and rainbows in the sky? Is this realistic when we know that economies are largely built on war machinery and the imposition of one country over other countries? Is violence inherent in man and he is still to learn to inhibit those tendencies? How can we call ourselves civilised when violence continues unabated in spite of much beneficial progress in many areas, and we violate others’ freedoms –

Jane Goodall: “The part that always shocked me was the inter-community violence among the chimps: the patrols and the vicious attacks on strangers that lead to death. It’s an unfortunate parallel to human behavior – they have a dark side just as we do. We have less excuse, because we can deliberate, so I believe only we are capable of true calculated evil”.

Billy Graham: “Auschwitz stands as a tragic reminder of the terrible potential man has for violence and inhumanity”.

“Nonviolence is the only credible response to the violence we’re seeing around the world”. Coretta Scott King

My version of freedom may differ from yours. Are there so many varieties of freedom that we can pick and choose?

Stokey Carmichael, activist in the 1960’s. “Dr. (Martin Luther) King’s policy was that nonviolence would achieve the gains for black people in the United States. … He only made one fallacious assumption: In order for nonviolence to work, your opponent must have a conscience”. 

Thank you for reading and bearing with me. I so appreciate your comments.

37 Comments on AtoZ Freedom V

  1. Out my windows, I watch the birds figure out which bluebird or tree swallow will live in which nesting box. Which red breasted grosbeak will dominate the feeder (it’s always a male). I love the goldfinches and chickadees who seem less interested in fighting or establishing dominance, but Nature is harsh and competitive. Little gorgeous hummingbirds are the worst. Some teachers remind us we can do better. The Dalai Lama astounds me with his willingness to wear the ceremonial hat offered to him by other religions and cultures. He approaches different traditions with curiosity, not defensiveness. I get discouraged with the constant violent speech and action in my country, but as long as we have elders like the Dalai Lama and Jane Goodall, as long as we hang on to and act from our better natures, there is hope.

    • What a lovely scene watching Nature and her inhabitants go about their daily little lives while witnessing (some of) them engaging in competitive behaviour and fulfilling their function ..

      Do we fulfil ours? Is striving for Freedom part of our function? Thank heavens for those with wisdom from whom we gain guidance and reflection …

      Thanks for coming by Elaine.

  2. An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind – Mahatama Gandhi!
    But the opponent perpetrating violence should also understand this. I feel it is wrong to suffer injustice and when people are subjugated they must rise against the oppressor. Non-violence may not always be the answer though it is one of the best policy to follow.
    We as humans sure have power to deliberate and stop the violence and hatred – it starts at individual level and can become an important trait of humanity!

    Read my V post here VALUES

    • Thanks for coming by Kislaya and for your wise comment. Does one sometimes use violence, sometimes not? The one who uses violence to achieve the aim of freedom may be in danger of becoming the oppressor themselves if violence was the means …
      I also think it all starts on an individual level ..

  3. What a wonderful post, Susan. I love your thought-provoking question and all the quotes you have shared. I couldn’t choose one over another. They are all valid, though I do think that it’s true, for nonviolence to work, it must be valued by all.

  4. That quote by J Krishnamurti is so true. We should be concerned with the total understanfing of mankind and not divide ourselves into groups which separate us from the rest of mankind. I suppose if we must belong to a group it should be with the acceptance that all other groups are equally worthy.

    • Thanks LInda, mutual active respect for the ‘other’ would go a long way in peaceful co-habitation. May that day arrive!

  5. It continues to be the ultimate irony. As a creature capable of deliberation, we deliberately continue to unleash hatred and violence upon others in pursuit of our self-defined beliefs. How tragic.

    • Thanks Ankur for coming by – it is tragic. Makes me think of the truth of Freud’s words re the repetition compulsion – i.e. that history will keep on repeating itself until the pattern is broken and that we learn from errors past …

      • Indeed. And perhaps it is mankind’s fatal flaw. Nothing we can do about it seemingly. In promoting self, we put the entire humanity at risk.

        • Fatal flaw – this is similar to what “Susan” below said – but those two short words have brought me up short … Thank you Ankur.

  6. I have mixed feelings about violence. In the sense that I am definitely no Mahatma Gandhi. So if anybody hits me, I won’t turn the other cheek. I will hit back. But, if I am left in peace, i.e. if nobody encroaches my personal space, I won’t go bothering others in their personal space either.

    In other words, everybody has the freedom to live in peace, and so do I.

    I totally agree with J. Krishnamurti. The moment you create boundaries–geographic, religious, or any other–you get disconnected from the whole. It’s like the finger starts believing that the eye is a separate entity, and so tries to claw it out of existence.

    Find my U post @ How Often Should You Update Your Blog

    • I wonder sometimes how I would react or respond if someone was violent towards me, physically. The ‘authorities’ say, don’t look your attacker in the eye, hand over your car keys, wallet etc and do not attack if you don’t want to get badly hurt … I can’t say what I would do ..

      Kaddu, thank you for your comment .. I like the metaphor of the finger and the eye; and the way you say how boundaries already begins a disconnection from the whole.

  7. Once again your posts are very powerful, Susan. I especially like the Jane Goodall quote as I have been fortunate to meet her on several occasions, and admire her greatly!

  8. Alongside violence as soon as I realised we had reached “V” day I thought about “Verses” poetic, religious, politic, satanic and divine! All verses really and how a fatwa was issued against the writer Salman Rushdie years ago because many believed his own verses / words were satanic themselves!

    As a UK poet I feel free to shape the world in front of me exactly how I please and in doing so, I try hard not to censor my “Shadow” or “Animus” or any other inner archetype from expressing speaking out too. Though sometimes (believe me!) the chorus within often sings together along one single line.

    As I tend to follow only my own rules, I often ignore the rules of grammar by giving expression to thoughts and feelings in my own unique way. I don’t feel the need to conform. And by sharing my poetical stories, I feel I can grow wings and fly, giving life to objects in ways I couldn’t do otherwise.

    Yet how lucky I am to be able to write and share my words and not censor them like many other poets and writers in other countries have too in order to escape death or many years of imprisonment. What freedom! As always, there is much to reflect on. Thank you Susan! Love and light, Deborah.

    • You have a true gift with words and your poetry Deborah that resonates with me, the reader, every time, and clearly many others. The images you evoke are wonderful – somehow you bring in the opposites in a graceful way, that hits the inner spot every time and leaves me in awe and admiration.

      A fine example of being true to your pen that is mightier than the sword!

      Love & Light from me to you, Susan

    • That’s a beautiful vision Marian – I checked and excerpted these words:

      ”The theme of this painting, drawn from chapter 11 of Isaiah, was undoubtedly attractive to Hicks and fellow Quakers not only for its appealing imagery but also for its message of peace: “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the young lion and fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.”

      Thank you so much – 🙂

  9. This is a great post, but sadly violence has taken over our lives. My hope is that people will become more observant and aware so they can stop the violence. We are of one people… provided others will realize this!

    • We do violence to ourselves also Gwynn … we ‘know’ better, intellectually, yet we continue as before abusing our own selves in all the ways we do. Well, I should speak for myself – not eating very well, being lazy in many ways. That may sound like a strong word to use in this example but it starts small ..

  10. Sadly, violence and freedom seem to go hand in hand. Is that human nature or a twist in the nature of the human?

    • Does it have to be? Is this the only way to get our own way? Violence is inherent within each of us – but surely we can rise above it, using e.g. restraint? If we were to realise that the harm we do to others is harm we do to ourselves. This IS in this instance, serving a self-interest which is no bad thing .. thanks Susan

  11. Oh, dear, that comment about the chimps deflated my optimism…however, I will hang on to our sense that we are a little more advanced… good food for thought.

    • It is a damper isn’t it Beth – as humans though we do have the ability of reflection, choice, restraint and so on ..

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