Category: 2019 april atoz blog challenge

Freedom L

Freedom: L loss, love, laughter

“Government has three primary functions. It should provide for military defense of the nation. It should enforce contracts between individuals. It should protect citizens from crimes against themselves or their property. When government– in pursuit of good intentions tries to rearrange the economy, legislate morality, or help special interests, the costs come in inefficiency, lack of motivation, and loss of freedom (italics mine). Government should be a referee, not an active player.”  –  Milton Friedman 

On Love: Henry de Montherlant, Le jeunes filles 1895-1972 French Author. Anyone I love takes away part of my freedom, but in that case it is I who wished it; and there is so much pleasure in loving that one gladly sacrifices something for its sake. Anyone who loves me takes away all my freedom. Anyone who admires me (as a writer) threatens to take it all away from me. I even fear those who understand me, which is why I spend so much time covering my tracks – both in my private life and in the persona I express through my books. What would have delighted me, had I loved god is that thought that god gives nothing in return.

Mr. Nelson Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom: It was during those long and lonely years that my hunger for the freedom of my own people became a hunger for the freedom of all people, white and black. I knew as well as I knew anything that the oppressor must be liberated just as surely as the oppressed. A man who takes away another man’s freedom is a prisoner of hatred, is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness. I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else’s freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.

Debora I – Peace for all and equal opportunity for everyone the world over.

Thank you for reading! I so appreciate your comments –

 

Freedom K

Freedom: K Keeper and Key

Who is the keeper of your freedom? These quotes by Ayn Rand are key in my view –

‘Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual)’.

 ‘Do not be misled . . . by an old collectivist trick which goes like this: there is no absolute freedom anyway, since you are not free to murder; society limits your freedom when it does not permit you to kill; therefore, society holds the right to limit your freedom in any manner it sees fit; therefore, drop the delusion of freedom—freedom is whatever society decides it is. It is not society, nor any social right, that forbids you to kill—but the inalienable individual right of another man to live. This is not a “compromise” between two rights—but a line of division that preserves both rights untouched. The division is not derived from an edict of society—but from your own  inalienable individual right. The definition of this limit is not set arbitrarily by society—but is implicit in the definition of your own right. Within the sphere of your own rights, your freedom is absolute’.

Kgakgamotso (Jane is her second name) our housekeeper for the last 36 years in Johannesburg is here with us in Plettenberg Bay. She & I flew down on Tuesday and we fly back on Saturday.

Her Tswana name means ‘Amazing’. She was given her name soon after she was born. At birth she was silent for several hours. Her mother thought she had died but when she cried several hours later, her mother thought this was Amazing 🙂

All Tswanans have second names which is part of their culture.

I was keen to have knowledge of her siblings names and meanings –

Otsile (James) means ‘I am here’

Kedisaletse (Rachel) – everyone is dead, I am here to look after them

Goitsimang (Lynett) – Nobody knows

Kerileng (Gladys) – what can I say?

Motialepula (Lettie) – came with the rain

Monnawapula (Matthew) – man with the rain

Thuso (Daniel) – help

Oupa – brother

James W: I do not know what freedom is. I’m learning about what freedom is not

Freedom J Justice

Freedom J – Justice

“No one can flatter himself that he is immune to the spirit of his own epoch, or even that he possesses a full understanding of it. Irrespective of our conscious convictions, each one of us, without exception, being a particle of the general mass, is somewhere attached to, colored by, or even undermined by the spirit which goes through the mass. Freedom stretches only as far as the limits of our consciousness.”– Carl Jung, Paracelsus the Physician (1942).

 On Monday 8th April I saw one of the protestors on TV (protest was happening just up the road from my Johannesburg home) state openly, ‘Violence and anarchy is how it will be. We will do violence and bring anarchy until our demands are heard’. Now, we do know that this man and followers do not have the full story. He believes that the opposition party to our governing party is responsible for the mess that their Alexander township is in. It is true that the governing party misappropriated funds for the development of the township. The opposition party has been doing what they can under constraints. I would not be surprised if these protestors are actually governing parties agitators who want to lay the blame elsewhere – pre-election posturing.

Above quote by Albert Camus: ‘Absolute freedom mocks at justice. Absolute justice denies freedom. To be fruitful, the two ideas must find their limits in each other’ –

Nelson Mandela (above): ‘Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to human dignity and a decent life. While poverty persists, there is no true freedom

MJ D:It’s definitely the ability to live without prejudice – of others and by others

 Jüte S : Freedom means the joy of being able to act freely without any sense of self-inflicted obligation or guilt. (I’ve used her words before; I’m repeating them because of the word joy..)

Thank you for reading – I appreciate your comments –

 

I Illusion of Freedom

I Illusion of Freedom

Marion Woodman: ‘A life truly lived constantly burns away veils of illusion, burns away what is no longer relevant, gradually revels our essence, until, at last, we are strong enough to stand in our naked truth’ –

Frank Zappa’s image and quote reminds me of Plato’s Cave-

Napoleon Bonaparte once said “Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets”.

The next two images and quotes are by Saul Bellow, born Solomon Bellow (10 June 1915 – 5 April 2005). He was a Canadian-American writer. For his literary work, Bellow was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the Nobel Prize for Literature, and the National Medal of Arts.

I think we know that newspapers and other media control a lot of what we see or are exposed to. Wikileaks and Julian Assange and others, and fearless journalists not in the pay of politics opened our eyes. Political parties spend obscene amounts of money (paid for by the tax payer) in advertising as to why they are so great and why we must vote for them because that will be the best deal in our receiving greater freedoms in the work and recreation arenas.

I was so pleased to come across Mr. Nelson Mandela’s quote and image. I was thinking of the value of disillusionment, as a way of lifting the veil from our eyes and seeing reality for what it is, discomfiting though it may be to be free of illusion.

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

Thank you for reading. I love to read your comments.

AtoZ H Hope Freedom

H: Hope of Freedom

“There is tension in our nation today. South Africans are worried about the future of their children and their country. The nation-building foundations laid by Nelson Mandela, Ahmed Kathrada and others are being demolished while the whole world watches. Our hopes and aspirations are being dashed.”

I excerpted the above from an article by The Freedom Movement in South Africa dated April 2017. 2 years on tensions remain, exacerbated by pre-electioneering posturing by certain powerful parties, especially the governing party. Election Day is the 8th May … 

In my country we have people whose hopes have been dashed countless times, promises broken to them a zillion times and still they live in dire poverty. The poorest of the poor. A great many previously disadvantaged lives have improved significantly. We have leaders in the sciences, business, arts and culture, entrepreneurship, music – but the majority of the previously disadvantaged remains dire. Yet, it is among those whose hopes are the highest. In spite of the evidence of the great failure of our last 25 years of democracy (on many levels eg education, health, gender issues) their hope is that their time has come to receive. Is that what Hope is, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? Even though they are aware that this government has stolen countless billions from the tax payer, whose money was to be used by the government for improvement in basic necessities, education, schooling, houses, the creation of training and jobs and better employment opportunities for all? Promises, promises, promises – even though that is what they’ve said before, many times in addressing the nation … broken, broken broken. 

And, yet hope remains. Hope for the freedom promised, freedom from the shackles of poverty, freedom to wish for a better life for themselves and families. Is this what makes it nobler, to retain hope in the face of it all? The stronger one’s faith the stronger one’s hope? Or is this blind hope and of those who know no other way –

*this next has absolutely nothing to do with what I’ve written above – but it is something I came across while doing a little research for this H post.

Ayn Rand

“When I die I hope to go to heaven–whatever that is–and I want to be able to afford the price of admission.”― Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

It’s a very bold statement; I like it a lot. For me it means that if I reach heaven, I hope to have earned it by who I’ve been on earth in word and deed. 

Sue S: Doctors always remember things by mnemonics. Freedom is the 3 H’s: Hope (goals to work towards); Health, Happiness (positive attitude). In contrast with the 3D fetters of depression, disillusionment/disappointment or disease.

Thank you for reading – I’d love to hear your comments –

G Grace in Freedom Guilt and the Gilded Cage

G Grace in Freedom and the Gilded cage

“Set patterns, incapable of adaptability, of pliability, only offer a better cage. Truth is outside of all patterns.”
― Bruce Lee, Tao of Jeet Kune Do (Goodreads) –

A gilded cage below – there is no doubt that this has been my environment just about ever since I was born. I deliberately chose an image of an empty cage. Living life while in a gilded cage with many freedoms – but at the expense of others; which puts those who have ‘freedom’ at the expense of others, in another sort of cage, a crampedness of spirit, a lack of grace, ‘set patterns’ as Bruce Lee says above – We choose our chains I suppose; will we acknowledge our guilt?

Di R sent me Wendell Berry’s poem as her contribution to my request. I know I’ve used it before in a previous post maybe last year or the year before, or one of you sent it as a comment to one of my posts. It’s perfectly apt, and gives for me the sense of being in the grace of freedom at least for a while in the beauty of Nature –

Jan T says: As an South African it means to me that all people are equal, all races are equal as compared to the race issues before 1994.

But it also means as a white man my freedom economically is less than ..

Jüte S: Freedom to me means the joy of being able to act freely without any sense of self-inflicted obligation or guilt.

Thanks for reading! I’d love you to comment –

 

F Freedom

F Freedom

Toko M is an old school friend of my elder son Mike. They were at prep school together and overlapped again at university. We’ve maintained contact over all the years. This is his response to my what’s app request –

Toko M: Well, my name means Freedom so that’s a good start. Tokoloho is freedom in Sotho –

My friend Nicki S sent me this – including this photo of Freedom D who works in the guest house in Johannesburg that she does too (permission to use photo). He does some transfers (airport) and tours for a few guests that stay.

Freedom D: So in the period during apartheid all native children had to have Christian names (English names basically). One of the reasons behind this was for a native person to have a name that would be easy to pronounce. As a way of protesting against apartheid some of our parents gave us names such as mine Freedom. There are also some children who are named Justice, Peace and so on. Also I was born in the year 1976. If you would recall that is when we had the Soweto uprisings. Freedom was a buzzword at the time. It is common in different and in most African communities to name children after a memorable event.

I could write more about eg Freedom from fear, the fear of freedom, the fight and flight for and from freedom but I’m keeping this short. I am now in Johannesburg; drove up from Plettenberg Bay on Thursday, overnighting en-route. I’ll be here for a few days. On Tuesday 9th April I’ll be flying with Kgakgamatso (Jane) my housekeeper for the last 36 years from Johannesburg down to George airport, and from there we’ll drive to Plettenberg Bay. She’ll stay in our home for about 4 days, then we’ll fly back! Tuesday will be her first flight! I’ve booked window seats for the aircraft …

Thank you for reading! I’d love to hear from you in the comments –

E Freedom of Expression

E Freedom: Expression

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, freedom of expression is the right of every individual to hold opinions (I prefer the word ‘views’) without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. 

Freedom can also be seen as the enemy by those who want to keep us subdued and complacent.

Art and freedom of expression are vital elements of any functioning democracy. Art, however defined, can take matters to the extreme in many instances and the viewer may well feel uncomfortable, shocked, horrified at such expression. Brett Bailey, a local artist here in South Africa, internationally known, has had many of his works denounced and installations pulled down and destroyed. Not surprisingly, it upsets a great many when a truth has been expressed, graphically. A local cartoonist, known by the name of Zapiro, has had the governing party threaten to sue and/or jail him for his cartoons that express uncomfortable truths.

As Brett Bailey puts it: “Do any of us really want to live in a society in which expression is suppressed, banned, silenced, denied a platform? My work has been shut down today, whose will be closed down tomorrow?”

“Freedom is the soul of art.”  Abhijit Naskar

There are so many ways in which we can express ourselves freely. The written word, the sketch, the painting, creating music (even if it is heavy metal), cooking, crocheting, the clothes we wear, or not. We can express ourselves in the way we love, with whom we love. There is a supportive energy in this. Call it Eros, the life force. It also true too that many of us deny ourselves this freedom of expression, for various reasons – or, as noted above, it is denied to us.

Kayla A: My definition of freedom is having the ability to live/think without needing the permission of others. Freedom is in the mind, and Freedom is free –

Thank you for reading. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this –

D Death, Denial of Freedom

D Death, Denial of Freedom

Are our freedoms being taken away from us? I’ll explore this in further posts – eg freedom of expression/speech; political freedom inter alia.

The more I prepare my posts in readiness for the day, the more I realise what a huge task I’ve set for myself. I want to keep my posts short, sharp and punchy and avoid preaching at any costs. At the same time, with the encroaching threat of the death of freedom in its MANY and prolific forms, it gives me an opportunity to question this concept, which is more than just a concept. It is surely the life blood of an individual, a culture, a country, a nation – and for those who wish to retain political power the danger of the individual recognising his or her right to freedom, voicing it, demanding it, is a real one –

Is globalism a threat to our freedom? Does it lead to the erosion of national sovereignty?

“What sort of political freedom will be left to the ordinary man on the street when all government and all power are centralized in global bodies? What voice will he have? Who will hear it?” (excerpted from theimaginativeconservative.org).

“I am not ready to die,
But I am learning to trust death
As I have trusted life.
I am moving
Toward a new freedom”.

May Sarton

Christopher F: Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose –

Lesley C: what immediately came to mind for me was sleepovers with my kids (as extreme as that sounds, it was the best thing after being denied that right) –

Thank you for reading! I value your comments –

C Freedom of Choice Change Conundrum

FREEDOM

C Freedom of Choice, Change and Conundrum

“In place of the clear and rigid ancient law, You [oh Lord] made man decide about good and evil for himself, with no other guidance than Your example. But did it never occur to You that man would disregard Your example, even question it, as well as Your truth, when he was subjected to so fearful a burden as freedom of choice?” 

― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Grand Inquisitor (this states the conundrum).

When I started drafting posts for this A-Z blog challenge, I would in other moments not at my desk doing other tasks, wonder if I was writing about Peace or Power and would have to remind myself that I was writing about Freedom. They are so linked – at least in my eyes.

I’m reading, very slowly, (as opposed to my usual speed reading) ‘The Choice‘ by Edith Eger. I am finding it very hard going in spite of the apparent ease and grace with which she writes. She shares her personal stories of the Holocaust. At all times she embraces the choice of the possible even in the face of evil. It is a tour de force, which I can read only in small doses.

Do we have the freedom to change? I know that I can never, nor would I want to or even if I wanted to, change another person by forcing them to change. I can change only myself, or my attitude towards others and myself. I know that I have that sort of freedom within; whether or not I exercise it is another matter. 

Mother Theresa: I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples’. Which makes me think of climate change and consumerism and that we each can do our bit in small or big ways.

An important conundrum of Freedom is expressed by Freud –

Kate R sent me her poem:

I see myself through your
Eyes, liberation.
Yet only through
Embracing
The peaks and valleys
The waxing and waning
Of the journey
Mine.
Do I know you
In each moment.
Always.
Free.

Thank you for reading. Please comment – I love to read them.

Freedom of Body, Bondage

B: Freedom: Body and Bondage

‘But freedom, liberty, is an attribute of the soul and it may exist even when the body is in bondage‘. Ralph Adams1863-1942 American architect.

If I think of an individual I immediately think of Helen Keller and wonder about her ability to rise above her disability. Her own attribute of freedom of soul surely played the largest part –

‘We are bound to our bodies like an oyster to its shell’. Plato, Phaedrus

How many of us feel freedom in our bodies, that which we’ve been given, and grown into. Or do we feel betrayed?  Susan E. Schwartz writes (in our co-authored book) in a  chapter on Body, ‘Rather than mere denial or avoidance, our bodies are the palettes on which we express. Our bodies keep us in this world, defining who we are. Daily the body calls. How we choose to answer remains the question’. Which make me wonder how in bondage we are or slaves to the prevailing whims of fashion and beauty –

Mr. Nelson Mandela: ‘Liberate all our people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination’. 

Arthur Penrhyn Stanley: ‘Christ pitied because He loved, because He saw through all the wretchedness, and darkness, and bondage of evil; that there was in every human soul a possibility of repentance, of restoration; a germ of good, which, however stifled and overlaid, yet was capable of recovery, of health, of freedom, of perfection’.

The lotus is in bondage to the mud until such time as it flowers into its open beauty.

Margot L: Freedom is to have the lightness of feet and fullness of heart to go merrily into the world, dancing to your own rhythm

    Thank you for reading – do add your comments, I love to read them –

A for Art, Ambiguity, Autonomy, Actions

Freedom

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!

#April AtoZ blog challenge 2019 theme reveal

Theme Reveal

This time round I wasn’t going to do the international April A-Z blog challenge, but I changed my mind yesterday!

My theme is Freedom. I’ll be putting up quotes with images of some of the well known sayings on Freedom as well as including words from friends who I asked today via what’s app and I’ve had some lovely responses!

I hope you’ll join me in popping by! The challenge requires us to post on each letter of the alphabet from A to Z starting on 1st April. So 26 posts every day except for Sunday when we take a rest –

Good luck to all taking part –

 

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