Freedom is an innate right which humans have since their birth. Freedom is not something that can be touched, seen, felt or reached. All this gives a vague idea about freedom. What exactly does freedom mean?
Different people have different opinion, definition and thoughts about the idea of freedom. Some talk about freedom in political sense, some talk about social freedom, some about personal independence and some define it as religious freedom. But the fact that everyone wants to be free, holds true in all cases.
“The best road to progress is freedom’s road.”
– John F. Kennedy
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Freedom is the choice to live one’s life doing what one wants, live where one wants, eat by own choice and learn what one’s heart desires. This means that freedom can apply to different aspects of life and freedom is not an absolute term.
Freedom is to ensure respect and not just live free. All societies define freedom in their own respect. Different cultures see freedom in their own light and thus people living in different cultures enjoy freedom in ways that they feel appropriate.
Enjoying our freedom does not mean that we disregard the rights of others and live the way we feel right. We have to consider the rights and the feelings of people around us when living our freedom.
Similarly a free person does not have to fear when expressing his opinion ensuring that others respect and feelings are not hurt. Societies which encourage freedom of opinion, thoughts, beliefs, expression, choice etc. are the ones where creative minds flourish.
Freedom does not come with independence. Freedom is also about appreciating the enchanting beauty of nature and environment around us. A person who is worried and anxious cannot be free at mind and hence cannot enjoy the scenic beauty of a lovely moonlit sky or the pleasant music of the singing birds at the sunset.
Hence, freedom is all a state of your mind. It implies that your mind is under no fear or compulsion of safety in life. The feeling of having social recognition, of being praised and of being safe does not mean freedom. Our Aspirations and ambitions of being somebody are absurd and do not suggest freedom.
Education or preaching does not make us free. Following an ideal person or an example of a master is not a sign of freedom of a person. Freedom is the absence of any pressure from the social, political and religious environment that we live in.
Freedom has certainly no particular definition. While some think of it as the opportunity to act freely and personify ideas, others are of the view that it is about the possibility of doing what you want to do regardless of the impact on the other people.
For a prisoner, being out of the prison means freedom. But from social perspective, freedom is definitely something that a person is free to do while abiding by social customs and law of the country. No societies can guarantee absolute freedom to all social creatures. This is because it will be a complete chaos if we try understanding what everyone in the society wants to do.
Thus, freedom is not an absolute right, and it too has some constraints. A freedom that poses threat to the society and the nation we dwell in is not freedom in real sense. One cannot kill people, violate laws, smuggle drugs or doing anything detrimental to the society and call it freedom. A popular saying goes: “Your freedom ends where mine begins”. All of us have our own thoughts and ideas of being free.
Freedom is non denial of our basic rights as humans. Some freedom is specific to the age group that we fall into. A child is free to be loved and cared by parents and other members of family and play around. So this nurturing may be the idea of freedom to a child. Living in a crime free society in safe surroundings may mean freedom to a bit grown up child.
Similarly to a youngster or a teen, freedom may be about hanging out with friends, enjoying group activities. Some teens may want to involve in social service and contribute freely to the cause of underprivileged or poor. It may mean freedom to them. Old people may seek security of health and life, spend good time with grandchildren, involve in religious and social activities and believe it to be their freedom.
Thus freedom is about belief more than a concept. Deprivation of freedom is like a punishment to a human being.
Have you ever thought what does the word “freedom” mean? I think it is quite an abstract thing which is different for each individual. For example, for me, freedom means doing something that I want if it doesn’t harm other people. However, it cannot be described in simple words, because the word itself contains numerous deeper meanings. It depends on the individual understanding of freedom, and each of us understands it in different ways.
Someone thinks that the freedom is connected with the right to say anything the person wants without a fear of being punished or restricted of doing so. Others think that freedom is connected in walking anywhere they want. Some people think that freedom is your right to choose the government. But no one can say, what is the freedom itself? And in my essay, I have decided to drive deeply into the issue of freedom definition and share my thoughts what does freedom actually means.
I agree that freedom is the right to speak and do everything you want, but only when it doesn’t limit others rights and freedoms. Numerous countries don’t have freedom for their citizens. People are not allowed to criticize their government and cannot freely express their opinion on public. And when they are trying to say something different from the opinion of their government they are being punished. There, people can be fined or imprisoned because of their will to have freedom.
When I hear the word freedom from others, I am thinking about the freedom of choice. This meaning of freedom is easy to understand. People usually connect it with the elections. When there are several politic parties to choose from the person experiences freedom when choosing the one he or she believes in most. Of course, there are countries where politics is connected with the criminal world, and their people don’t have freedom of choice because of corruption, and their choice was paid for by someone else. But there are people who in these countries fight for liberty and sometimes they are changing everything. Like it was in Georgia and then in Ukraine, because their people understood what freedom is and that the choices they made before were not right.
Freedom can also be connected with the right of opening your own business and gain the financial independence. You can produce goods and services and work on your own. But in corrupted countries, I think it is impossible to open your own business without criminal support. That is because the economy of such countries is not healthy and competition is not connected with marketing and advertising activities, but in real money, which you are ready to pay corrupted law enforcement officers and criminals to start your business and then maintain it. And countries, where freedom is respected, provide equal opportunities for all. In this particular case, freedom is joined with financial wellness.
There are also cases when freedom means the right to say “no”. If you don’t agree with the government decision, community decision or another person decision you can say “no”. You don’t need to follow these decisions and you will never be punished for that. But this works only in cases when your ideas and actions do not violate the law and won’t cause harm to the people around you.
So what does freedom mean to me? At my opinion freedom can be connected with not following standard our society has. Freedom is something beyond stereotypes and templates and real personal freedom is a strong opportunity to express yourself in any possible way. Tattoos, piercing, hair style or clothes, we are free to wear or do anything with our body, and this is our freedom of expression. People why are thinking beyond stereotypes understand and respect that freedom.
Freedom is a way of thinking and understanding world around us, and each person understands it in his or her own way, and of course all of us has an own understanding of it. And each of us in some cases needs to fight for this freedom.
I am also thinking that freedom is actions of individuals who don’t need to ask themselves “why?” and just do things they love to do. Freedom is the absence of borders; you can feel freedom in your mind and freedom around you. Imagine that you are at the mountain peak and the world is a small point at the bottom. Do you feel freedom surrounding you? I can bear that you are! That is the real freedom which has a smell of wind and mountains, the skies in front of you. Birds are free to fly anywhere, and I can say for sure that you can also choose your own route.
So freedom can be connected with anything, either actions or thoughts and each person free to express his or her freedom if it doesn’t limit or violates the rights of others. Freedom is around us, and our understanding of this word is different but always closely connected with people around us. Freedom to choose, freedom to do, understand, think, get or any other verb we can insert after the word freedom. It is great to have freedom and a lot of people are still fighting for their freedom. And I hope they will soon get it in one or another way. The world without freedom is too cruel to live in, and if I had no freedom, I would probably be depressed with its absence.
In American society, freedom is the basic notion which each person must understand. Freedom is our American Dream and it was never connected with material things. It is our freedom and freedom of our nation and we should never forget it.
“Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom – and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech.” Benjamin Franklin
Mises Institute. (n.d.). Ben Franklin on Liberty. [online] Available at: https://mises.org/library/ben-franklin-liberty [Accessed 19 Dec. 2016].