Reflections on Freedom (what is it? what does it mean?)

“Man is condemned to be free.” – Sartre.

One does not choose freedom. Freedom comes free with birth. It is inherent in the human condition. Likewise, one does not (cannot) ever choose to be born. Birth is the creation of individual consciousness; it is simultaneously the enabler and limiter of all freedom.

Choices are always here for us to make – and we are not free not to make them. One may choose not to choose and will have utterly failed in the attempt. For not choosing is always a choice. Freedom is a self-limiting fact of life. Liberation provides its own shackles.

As I have said, one does not choose to be born. This does not mean, however, that life is not a choice. The distinction is subtle, yet grand. Do you think that life is not a choice? Then simply turn over your wrists and slice diagonal– this gruesome act will have been your choice, and yours alone. Suicide, obviously, is an extreme consequence of one’s decision not to exist.

Freedom is not a right, and you and I have no right to it. Freedom is, rather, an enabler of rights. Freedom has a right to us.

Life is not a right, and you and I have no right to it. Life is an enabler of rights. Life has a right to us.

Life and freedom are inherent conditions of existing. One may either rejoice, or despair! Both are appropriate reactions. Yet whatever one chooses, it is his or her choice alone. Most things in life, although a majority of human beings are not aware of this fact, are choices.

Hence why I agree with the cliché that “with freedom comes great responsibility”. It is not so nearly often understood that with freedom also comes great anxiety, as well as great consequence. A free human being is one whom has realized that his or her life is a choice, and takes all responsibility for his or her choices and consequent actions.

As a conclusion to this short reflection, I would just like to straighten out one thing in particular: those whom tote that ridiculous bumper slogan: freedom is not free.

Well, if freedom is deprived of its very essence (that of being free), then exactly what are we left with?

I will of course gladly provide an answer: freedom without ‘free’ is just dumb.