A to Z Freedom Quest

 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

Image result for jesus quotes on quest

“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.”
― Albert Schweitzer: The Quest of the Historical Jesus 

Thank you for reading – I so appreciate your comments.

 

Freedom P

Freedom P

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

Image result for image for Pesach

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.

Freedom O


FREEDOM O

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 – 

Image result for rumi quote on the ordinary

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.

Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. - Martin Luther King, Jr.Thank you for reading! I so appreciate your comments –

 

AtoZ Freedom N

Freedom N

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!

 

AtoZ M Freedom in Music

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!

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 –

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