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 –

 

39 Comments on Freedom L

  1. Thank you, Susan, and thank you Nelson Mandala and Virginia Wolff. I enjoyed O’Donahue’s poem, too. I have never heard of de Montherlant, but I agree. My love limits my freedom as an individual because I’m part of something larger, from family to country.

  2. Love the Virginia Woolf quote, but this from Mr. Mandela: “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.” Is so true. I see it here from people who want to deny rights to so many people, but think it’s OK to demand that Christianity (and their view of it) be the law of the land.

  3. I liked the third para of the post, wherein Nelson Mandela talks about freedom of both the oppressor and oppressed, very thought provoking susan, thanks for sharing:)

  4. Is anything equal, really? It takes much to face the losses we have unwittingly imposed on others. We are responsible to be conscious and that means a loss as well as gain…

    • Thanks Susan, much of what we do or be is unconscious and it takes courage to face what we have imposed on others and acknowledge our guilt which as you said in a recent comment can give us focus – and here I’ll add to not repeat the imposition and make reparation in whichever way we can ..

  5. “Susan ~ I’d been wondering what today’s L word or words would be. I guessed maybe the word “love”. Then last night I happened to turn to something in a book I’ve been putting off reading. Considering the theme of today’s post, the synchronicity of what I read startled me. It was about lying and the lies we tell ourselves and how easily we can fall into the habit of lying as a way to maintain a kind of pseudo freedom.

    “Every fact can be undone, can be wiped out by a lie. Lying can obliterate the outside event which introspection has already converted into a purely psychic factor. Lying takes up the heritage of introspection, sums it up, and makes a reality of the freedom that introspection has won . . . Perhaps reality consists only in the agreement of everybody, is perhaps only a social phenomenon, would perhaps collapse as soon as someone had the courage forthrightly and consistently to deny its existence. . . Whatever is not proved by thinking is not provable—therefore, make your denials, falsify by lies, make use of your freedom to change and render reality ineffective at will.” ~ Hannah Arendt

    ~ From “The Portable Hannah Arendt”, Edited by Peter Baehr; chapter titled “Jewess and Shlemihl”, p.56

    In fairness, most of us aren’t taught how to think deeply or critically. It’s discouraged in families where actions and words don’t align, and within capitalist societies that utilize a combination of advertising, propaganda and cultural conditioning to keep people compliant, uninformed, and parroting one another within their chosen tribes, religions, and/or *acceptable* political parties. The *perceived* freedom we seem to enjoy to think and speak and buy and choose within our system’s limited set of *allowable* choices helps to validate and maintain the illusion of free thinking within a free society.

    No matter how tempting, the perception of freedom becomes a poor if pleasant substitute for the freedom to be found in embracing reality, even when freedom brings with it a kind of solitude or death. I think this is what John O’Donohue was trying to say in the lovely poem Deborah included. Adding how as I’ve gotten older and let go of things, he’s remained one of the few poets whose books I’ve hung onto over the years and continue to appreciate.

    Like most people, I grew up believing my thoughts were my own. Much later in life I realized how mistaken I’d been. It’s never too late.

    • We’re conditioned from an early age by a variety of strictures, structures and systems, the family, schools, institutions of all kinds, including religion and governments. It takes critical thinking as you say to attempt to free ourselves from that deep conditioning which pervades our thinking and feeling. A child for example will lie to its parents about the missing cookie – it does not want to be in the bad books of its parents and the parent may go along with the lie to avoid upsetting the apple cart. We believe the lie told by our partners rather than believe they’re cheating on us, like we believe the lies govt tells us .. We’re great at self deception and especially denial .. so ‘psuedo freedom’ is the outcome-

      Thought is father to the action – but the ability to refrain or restrain ourselves from enacting dire thoughts is one of the things that makes us human –

      Hannah Arendt’s words are powerful – thank you ..

  6. O that is so lovely Deborah thank you! The lines and images and messages of them are full of meaning, not unlike your own beautiful poetry. I’m familiar with John O’Donahue; I think he and David Whyte for friends?

    May we never have our wings clipped and may we continue to soar and be part of this beautiful planet and all that it offers us.

    Have a lovely weekend:) Love Light and Laughter to you ..

  7. Whow all round applause…loved the poem by John O Donohue and so good to be reminded of Nelson Mandela’s deep insight and forgiving spirit….l want to believe that there could be a seed growing into a tree to set our beloved country free. Thank you Susan!

    • I hope Deborah comes by to read your comment Diana. It is such a lovely poem. Let’s keep our hopes up re: the elections and that the seed/acorn of Mandela’s of freedom for all, flowers into a magnificent oak offering shade and a resting place beneath its branches and leaves, nesting for the birds, and a sight to behold –

  8. Your posts about freedom really made me open my eyes. There are many ways that our freedom is limited, some ways we choose and other ways are part of the laws. Now I understand why some people become vagabonds as they think they can create their own form of freedom, but do they?

    I especially LOVED your last quote. I’m glad I wasn’t drinking my morning green tea as I might have sprayed it over my computer screen. One fried computer is enough for this year! 😉 Enjoy your day of rest.

    • We do limit our freedoms Gwynn I guess, but sometimes unconsciously. When a person takes away another’s freedom with the view that theirs is more important, or more correct or valid, or the others’ have no right, then we are in the world of the ‘vagabond’ – lovely word!

      Glad you weren’t drinking green tea! Thank you for coming by!

  9. I really like what Milton Friedman has to say about government – the referee analogy feels brilliant to me. While this topic of freedom is certainly complex and nuanced, I’m trying hard to think of any situation where freedom is impeded that doesn’t include interference, which if removed wouldn’t bring resolution. And on the other hand, I think what Henry de Montherlant shares about love is important to this conversation as well. The choices we make on our own to limit our freedom can lead to wondrous things as well.

    • No, no resolution if there’s interference, yet de Montherland’s words also speak to interference, but that of choice. That’s why I like it too! Thanks for noting this Deborah!

  10. I’m reading the beautiful “Benedictus” (a book of blessings) this afternoon by the late Irish poet, John O’ Donahue (he also wrote one of my favourite books “Anam Cara”) and have just, in pure synchronicity, turned the page to this poem … the rest as they say is poetry! x

    For Freedom

    As a bird soars high
    In the free holding of the wind,
    Clear of the certainty of ground,
    Opening the imagination of wings
    Into the grace of emptiness
    To fulfill new voyagings,
    May your life awaken
    To the call of its freedom.

    As the ocean absolves itself
    Of the expectation of land,
    Approaching only
    In the form of waves
    That fill and pleat and fall
    With such gradual elegance
    As to make of the limit
    A sonorous threshold
    Whose music echoes back among
    The give and strain of memory,
    Thus may your heart know the patience
    That can draw infinity from limitation.

    As the embrace of the earth
    Welcomes all we call death,
    Taking deep into itself
    The right solitude of a seed,
    Allowing it time
    To shed the grip of former form
    And give way to a deeper generosity
    That will one day send it forth,
    A tree into springtime,
    May all that holds you
    Fall from its hungry ledge
    Into the fecund surge of your heart.

    by John O’Donohue

    • O that is so lovely Deborah thank you! The lines and images and messages of them are full of meaning, not unlike your own beautiful poetry. I’m familiar with John O’Donahue; I think he and David Whyte were friends?

      May we never have our wings clipped and may we continue to soar and be part of this beautiful planet and all that it offers us.

      Have a lovely weekend:) Love Light and Laughter to you ..

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