What Does it Mean to be Free?
In the words of Janis Joplin, “Freedom is another word for nothing left to lose.” When you have nothing left, you can do what you yearn for. There are no ties so you are basically free to do whatever you please. According to the dictionary, freedom is the state of being or absence of ties and not under physical restraint. It is the ability and the possibility to make the choices we desire.
Freedom is a word often heard in history. Its origins go way back to when many people still longed to be free from oppression and rulers. During the English settlements in America, the settlers demanded independence from England. The English started to hear this word for the first time when rebelling against its mother country. Many philosophers have tried to shed light on this subject; they argued about what aspects combined could clearly define freedom.
There is no one definition; it lies in the eyes of the individual. Like a river that gives sustenance to the different fishes in its currents so that they may live and grow independently. America is the birthplace of freedom where the thoughts and actions of people flow freely. Where would we be if the fishes like Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and Abraham Lincoln did not have a place to hone their thoughts? Would Franklin and Washington have help create the Constitution? Lastly, Would Lincoln have thought to defy the South by emancipating slaves? In a scholar’s opinion, there are two sides to the term freedom; negative liberty and positive liberty. Negative liberty is to be free from the interference of other people.
It is to be free from something being done on someone. Positive liberty refers to freedom to own a house or healthcare. It alludes to objects that can be given to an individual. However, the different types of freedom may vary and could include areas such as: academics, politics, and economics. Academic freedom is the idea that the students’ and teachers’ inquiry is important and key to better the learning environment.
Instructors should have the freedom to communicate ideas without being under fire for manipulation of youth. Rather political freedom is the absence of intervention from a sovereignty or government. In this sense it means having the basic social security and human rights. Lastly, economic freedom can be defined as free markets and owning private property. Economically, citizens have the right to produce, consume, and trade as they please. Freedom used to hold the connotation of living under a government that is not oppressive.
It has since changed to the ability to accomplish what you wish. Now in the 21st century, since Americans have established what defines freedom and rights, the word has lost its true meaning over time. Freedom is now the excuse people use to escape responsibility. If people do not vote, they blame it on freedom. Such as, “I’m free, so I have the right to not vote.
” This example shows that they are blaming freedom on their own misconduct. Freedom should not be used as a way to dodge duties. Citizens do not hold themselves accountable to their own misdeeds. But freedom is being able to attain your aspirations, as long as it does not endanger someone or society in any way. Those who understand the meaning understand that they have to be responsible for themselves and for others to keep it.
Those who do not understand the meaning will inevitably impose on the freedom of another, which can also affect their own freedom. While enjoying freedom we should also protect it for others. Society today views “freedom” incorrectly. Teens take advantage of the freedom that their parents entrust them with. When parents allow for their child to hang out with friends under adult supervision, the teen takes that opportunity to do otherwise. The teen might end up doing an illegal activity destroying their parents’ trust in them.
Freedom does not hold the same ideals that it once did. The consequence of a person’s freedom taken away is never taken into account. We are used to having this concept that we do not respect the practice. For instance, a lady walking in the middle of a road because she has the liberty to or someone playing loud music just because they have the freedom to. To the public, freedom now is defined as no restrictions.
Some people think that we can never be truly free. There are laws to preserve the order of society. Such as in academic freedom, teachers cannot speak of controversial themes. People are allowed to speak their minds but should also show restraint, therefore proving that nothing is truly ever free. Laws are in place and are meant to protect the populace. The law both limits and protects the individual at the same time.
There needs to be an understanding that it is your freedom, but the way a person chooses to utilize it can affect others. In all reality, there is something that will always keep them from being free. There could be a thought or an existing doubt that a person regrets. This simple setback can tie a person down resulting in their own fault of not being free. Freedom is being able to make one’s own choices without being judged or put down for it. Imagine a stage.
Suddenly one single light shines on a person. She steps on stage and just gets crazy. All her worries are gone and there is only herself there. No other person can stop her from being what she is. The eagle within her wants to break from the prison to soar. All it wants is to spread its wings and fly.
The longer the world holds her in, the more she will want to leave. When I hear the term freedom, I imagine the American flag proudly waving in the breeze and the many people that make up the United States of America. This thought alone, conjures up a picture where people are united in patriotism. It represents what the U.S. is and how our country began.
The colonists back in history struggled to obtain what we have today. Freedom is being free from unnecessary anxiety and fear. It means not being bound to anything that stops us from moving on in life. Freedom is also the ability to learn from the mistakes we make. If we were not able to make our own choices, we could never move forward. We would lose our individuality, prohibiting us from creating brilliant ideas that could one day be revolutionary.
Freedom means trust that one can obtain devoid of suspicions. Freedom means equality, unrestricted of limitations. Freedom means unity. That together we can achieve success. Together we fight, together we live free.