Ze end! April has whizzed by –
What is the zeitgeist of our times? Will be ever be free of this particular time in history, with its rapid advance of technology and with it the spread of fake news, the rise of nationalism and its concomitant awfulness, climate change and much more, which seems to be the defining mood?
Zorba: Kazantakis, Zorba the Greek: “Free yourself from one passion to be dominated by another and nobler one. But is not that, too, a form of slavery? To sacrifice oneself to an idea, to a race, to God? Or does it mean that the higher the model the longer the tether of our slavery?”
Solzhenitzyn: Gulag Archipelago: “…Do not pursue what is illusionary – property and position: all that is gained at the expense of your nerves…It is enough if you don’t freeze in the cold and if thirst and hunger don’t claw at your insides. If your back isn’t broken, if your feet can walk, if both arms can bend, if both eyes can see, if both ears hear, then whom should you envy?” (with thanks to my bridesmaid who sent this to me).
Zorba: “Every man has his folly, but the greatest folly of all, is not to have one.”
Khalil Gibran: Love is the only freedom in the world because it so elevates the spirit that the laws of humanity and the phenomena of nature do not alter its course.
Autumn tree in it’s golden glory taken by my son yesterday –
Thank you all for coming by to my Freedom posts. I’ve so enjoyed and appreciated your comments.
Yes, to Freedom in all it’s guises – freedom from, to, with, against, for, in, out, below, above, freedoms lost and freedoms gained –
Mr. Nelson Mandela: “I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended”.
Jean-Paul Sartre: “Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does”.
Thich Nhat Hanh: “Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything – anger, anxiety, or possessions – we cannot be free”.
May strivings for freedom fall on fertile soil –
some recent cell phone photos of mine
As always, thank you for reading and for your comments which I appreciate greatly.
X marks the spot! This day 25 years ago marks that momentous day when we all went to the polls to vote in our first democratically elected government. I was so proud to make mine for the ANC and for Mr. Nelson Mandela. O that feeling of Freedom for everyone! A collective joy swept through our nation for a long while filled as it was with optimism and hope and equality! And the next time around as well, when Mr. Thabo Mbeki took over the helm. Thereafter when a certain Jacob Zuma took over, dethroning Mbeki in a well planned coup, things went from not so good to worse and desperately worrying.
Today is a public holiday honouring our first democratically held election – it’s a beautiful and sunny day.
In these last few days, freedom of speech, freedom from poverty, economic freedom, freedom from gender bias, freedom from thuggery, freedom from xenophobia and other such have been hot topics on the radio as I’ve gone here and there in my car. Everyone who I’ve heard on the radio was examining and putting the x-ray onto this question of freedom and wondering how far we’ve come in pursuing this ideal.
Could we put the x-ray onto the inner recesses of our souls? Our psyches may find it hard to withstand what the x-ray may reveal, but it’s a excellent way to start.
Neil S Freedom means to me to not be shackled by any encumbrances, physical, emotional, spiritual or financial.
Thank you for reading. I always appreciate your comments.
Nearly there! But golly it’s been a weighty few weeks writing about Freedom everyday except for Sundays when we have a break! I’ve so appreciated your comments, I can’t tell you; I’ve found them thought provoking & broadening and I know that others have too. Thank you all for taking precious time to respond. Come Tuesday it is Z! Ze end!
Nathaniel Hawthorne below
We’re all wounded in one way or the other. Do we feel betrayed when the beliefs we’ve held dear are not so, such as being conditioned to believe in the sanctity and safety of the family, religion, government other institutions and therefore also conditioned to believe in the freedom to be and act only within those limits? We’re betrayed many times, by ourselves, those we love, the society in which we live. We also do the betraying to others. The wound of this, if acknowledged and the inner work done to address it, is a way of seeing or getting to the truth and being liberated and freer and less captive of clutches of which we are so familiar even if unconsciously –
C.G. Jung: “Wholeness is not achieved by cutting off a portion of one’s being, but by integration of the contraries”.
Coco Chanel: “The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”
Ingrid M: My own idea about the word freedom …for me it would be not having to be concerned about the state of the world in general …the environment, the fate of the poor, the wars being fought in so many countries, cruelty to children and animals. That lovely line in Desiderata which used to give me comfort: “No doubt the universe is unfolding as it should” no longer applies.
Thank you for reading and have a lovely weekend. I so appreciate your comments.
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.
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?
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’. 🙂
Thank you for reading and I so appreciate your comments –
Where is truth to be found; is there freedom in truth?
And the Truth shall set you free. John 8: 32… it’s a taxing question in that do we want the truth? Is too painful to come to truths about ourselves and our loved ones and the societies in which we live? Isn’t it better sometimes to live in blissful ignorance, knowing that what we don’t know or don’t want to know can’t hurt us? Isn’t it easier to avoid those little hints at truth –
“Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness… but only when you pay your taxes? That means your freedom is rented, leased, & not unalienable.”
Thomas Jefferson: “To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”
Martin Luther King: “Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.”
Linda H: This morning, Linda H’s definition of freedom is definitely Statutory, Financial and Fiduciary Statements and taxes up to date and filed, leaving a clean desk to play on.
Thank you for reading. I so appreciate your comments
Mr. Nelson Mandela: ‘It is an ideal for which I hope to live for and to see realised. But, My Lord, if it needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.’ 20 April 1964 from the dock of the defendant at the Rivonia Trial.
What would I be prepared to sacrifice for my freedom if it was in danger of being taken away from me? Freedom of speech? If this was silenced, would I stand up and be counted? Would I be prepared to die for it? And, as a free person seeing others kept in slavery, would I stand up and fight for their release from their imposed shackles?
What is the shadow side of Freedom? Does my freedom come at the expense of others?
What is sacred to us?
Albert Schweitzer: ‘There also exists a sleeping sickness of the soul. Its most dangerous aspect is that one is unaware of its coming. That is why you have to be careful. You should realise that your soul suffers if you live superficially. People need times in which to concentrate, when they can search their inmost selves. It is tragic that most men have not achieved this feeling of self-awareness. And finally, when they hear the inner voice they do not want to listen anymore. They carry on as before so as not to be constantly reminded of what they have lost. But as for you, resolve to keep a quiet time … Then your soul can speak to you without being drowned out by the hustle and bustle of everyday life’.
Lisa B: (freedom means for me) the ability to choose not to suffer, no matter what the circumstances.
I thought long and hard about my friend’s view on what freedom means to her, and I couldn’t quite square it except for thinking she may have had the Buddha’s 8 fold Noble Truths in mind.
But as is known, suffering is a part of life. How we choose to respond to it, or look back on it, is a different question.
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross: The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of those depths.
And what of our own shackles? Are our freedoms still limited by our conditioning, of family and institutions, that uphold one thing and practice another? is there a sense within that we can free ourselves from conditionings that no longer serve us?
Lizzie G: Freedom is being able to escape the shackles of our upbringing.
Moments of silence and sorrow for all victims of the Sri Lanka blasts.
Thank you for reading. I so appreciate your comments.
I’m using quotes here as in their way they relate to freedom as I see it –
Most of them are about rebellion –
‘I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves’. Harriet Tubman.
Born Maryland, USA, died March 1913: Harriet Tubman was an American abolitionist and political activist. Born into slavery, Tubman escaped and subsequently made some thirteen missions to rescue approximately seventy enslaved people, family and friends, using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad (wikipedia).
‘A little rebellion now and then is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government’. Thomas Jefferson
‘Art is fuelled by rebellion: the need, in some amounting to obsessions, to resist what is, to defy one’s elders, even to the point of ostracism; to define oneself, and by extension one’s generation, as new, novel, ungovernable’. Joyce Carol Oates
‘Rebellion cannot exist without a strange form of love’. Albert Camus
‘The spirit of rebellion which animated lovers of liberty from the 13th century onwards need to be reignited, so that the new generations assuming responsibility for the future understand that freedom is not just another word’. Frank Furedi, sociologist, commentator, author (in Spiked, May 2015).
I reckon it’s worth rebelling against any form or structure that seeks to limit our freedoms. Within the rule of law. But whose law is the greater? The inner one or the outer one?
Thank you for reading and I so appreciate your comments.
Freedom Q Quest
It’s Good Friday, Easter, the day of Christ’s crucifixion on the cross at Golgotha. A blessed Easter to you all.
Was Jesus on a quest for peace and freedom for all mankind? Did he show by his parables and actions that He was who he said He was? These are questions that we all ask in our individual way as we ponder Jesus’s long walk to the cross and his crucifixion at Golgotha (the place of skulls) – and his final words, My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?
Ignatius of Antioch 35AD – 108 AD
“He comes to us as One unknown, without a name, as of old, by the lakeside,
He came to those men who knew Him not. He speaks to us the same words: “Follow thou me!” and sets us to the tasks which He has to fulfil for our time. He commands. And to those who obey Him, whether they be wise or simple, He will reveal himself in the toils, the conflicts, the sufferings which they shall pass through in His fellowship, and, as an ineffable mystery, they shall learn in their own experience Who He is.”
Thank you for reading – I so appreciate your comments.
Pesach – Passover is a Jewish holiday celebrating the Hebrews’ escape from Egyptian enslavement (celebrated in April this year, beginning tomorrow evening at sundown). Passover begins with an elaborate meal, called Seder, and continues for seven days in celebration of their freedom from the Pharoah’s cruel ways. And on Friday, Jesus was having his Last Supper with his disciples; it was Passover.
Chag Sameach to my Jewish friends
There are so many P words I could use for this post on Freedom, eg the paradox and parameters of freedom, political freedom, psychological freedom, the philosophy of freedom et al but to do it justice would take forever, so I’m relying on a few quotes – 🙂
Erich Fromm: Modern man, freed from the bonds of pre-individualistic society, which simultaneously gave him security and limited him, has not gained freedom in the positive sense of the realization of his individual self; that is, the expression of his intellectual, emotional and sensuous potentialities. Freedom, though it has brought him independence and rationality, has made him isolated and, thereby, anxious and powerless. This isolation is unbearable and the alternatives he is confronted with are either to escape from the burden of his freedom into new dependencies and submission, or to advance to the full realization of positive freedom which is based upon the uniqueness and individuality of man. (Escape from Freedom).
Margot: (from Henry de Montherlant): It is difficult to be truly free when we dig our heels in and decide to love people and places. (yet) To be truly unattached and ‘free’ could rob us of the joys that make life worth living.
Thank you for reading! I so appreciate your comments.
Do we become aware of our ordinary freedoms only when we lose them? Do we feel discomfort when we sense an oppression to our legitimate protests eg polluted air, rivers, land, poor quality education, poor health care, corruption?
Maybe our freedoms are not so ordinary after all; our basic rights are expressed in most constitutions – which do not allow for ostracism on paper, yet is practised against many in our country –
I flew back from Plettenberg Bay last Saturday with Kgakgamatso after a few very special days there. I walked around my little garden here in Johannesburg and was thrilled to see a few of the pot plants on the patio sprouting orchid buds!
I’d been wondering what to do about this pot plant in a different part of the garden. Everything looked pretty dead. But when I looked at it this morning in among the debris, this is what I saw – it makes me think that freedom can sprout in the most unlikely conditions to it fullest expression-
Elie Wiesel: We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.
Thank you for reading! I so appreciate your comments –
Mr. Nelson Mandela: ‘There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires’ (an excerpt from his presidential address).
Bernice King, youngest daughter of Martin Luther King: ‘If each of us works toward making a sincere effort when we wake up each morning with a renewed commitment and dedication to embracing nonviolence as a lifestyle, this world will become a better place, bringing us ever closer to the Beloved Community of which my father so often spoke’.
What has given me a certain amount of freedom is not feeling guilty if and when I say no to a request, even if on the surface it’s a perfectly reasonable one. I find it hard to say no to a delicious looking slice of lemon meringue pie, and will find all sorts of justifications for saying yes. Last week I had my hair cut in Plettenberg Bay, and the salon owner offered me a slice, the pie delivered by a local baker of renown … who was I to say no? It was his birthday after all ..
My poor husband thinks the word no is just about the extent of my vocabulary. It’s so short and sweet, such a complete sentence – so freeing!
There is much we can and need to say no to. And, not in my name. And, never again and never forget.
Notre Dame Cathedral – Our Lady of Paris – may she rise from the ashes –
James Iredell’s words in To The Inhabitants of Great Britain (1773): “The noblest of all causes [is] a struggle for freedom.”https://www.carolinajournal.com/opinion-article/james-iredell-and-the-nobility-of-fighting-for-freedom/
Mari K: (freedom for me is) to make decisions that suit me and not because I am beholden to anyone –
Thank you for reading – I so appreciate your comments!
M: Freedom in Music
Krishnamurti : it would have been a good quote for Saturday’s post L on Love inter alia
I’m keeping it short and sweet this time round –
David S: True freedom is like music. It’s not about doing what you like, but rather about understanding the rules and then doing what you like within the rules.
Those that try to make music without obeying the rules make noise, but those who play within the rules have the ability to enjoy themselves and make something beautiful. The same applies to life.
Camilla P: Freedom means … being the mistress of my time and being privileged enough to work from home at hours that suit me
Thank you for reading – I so appreciate your comments!