Saturday, February 23, 2013

What is Freedom?

I've heard it said that ask 5000 people, you'll get 5000 definitions; but I don't think it's that difficult. In fact I think it can very nearly be distilled down to one single word... Choices.

Let me explain;

Freedom of the Road is one of many phrases widely tossed around motorcycle circles. I use it a lot myself. But, The Freedom of the Road and its like are not "Realities" you can reach out and grasp or definitions... they are only vocal talismans of a philosophy... spiritual symbolism.

I've heard and read a few peoples versions lately of what Freedom is to them and that's fine. You have to explain it to yourself in a way you understand I suppose... What gets to me is that it's a rare occasion where somebody doesn't spew some version of a particularly negative, denigration of the very concept of Freedom.

It is that idea that to me is insanity.

It implies that FREEDOM does not exist and can not. It would have you believe that it can only exist in a world without realities. A world where everything is all sweetness and light. It implies that FREEDOM is but a fantasy.

... that with jobs and taxes and relationships and mortgages; regulations and laws, fees and permits, and all the other burdens of life... Freedom can not exist.

What is Freedom?

Who started this damned obscene, weak livere'd nirvana idea that FREEDOM is a life of no responsibility, no consequences and no cost?

They ridicule Freedom as the utterance of Platitudes. The Blood I have seen spilled in its defense is not Platitudes. That the speakers of such insults lack the cajones to own their Freedom is not my problem... but they need to own up to their own weakness and not try to hide what they lack behind the claim that Freedom does not and can not exist.

Who was the feeble minded nit wit that conjured up the idiocy that to be truly FREE, You have to be able to just go down the road without any obstruction, difficulty or labor? That Freedom means Fuel must be without cost, tires grow on trees and the sun always shines!

Pretty good pablum for a weak mind or a gutless wonder.

But that is Not Freedom...Hell, that is not even a decent life. If you went looking for a definition of a dreary grey existence; that would pretty much sum it up.

Life without cost has no value. It is unworthy of living. A life with out risk, with no struggle to overcome is a bland torture of the spirit. The soul would atrophy from disuse and eternity would become a black hole.

That which is of Great Value is Achieved at Great effort, cost and sacrifice.

Freedom can not be achieved by avoiding cost. In fact, such action prohibits Freedom. Freedom is born by having the courage to make choices. The first requirement of Freedom is an unyielding spine.

Whether you are Free or not is a choice that can Only be made by you. The attempt can be made to claim; "I was bound. I had no choice". That is always a lie. There is always a choice.

Freedom is a choice. Servitude is a choice. They are not imposed on you. You choose Freedom, or you choose servitude.

Of course the tyrant demands your obedience. But, it is a demand to which you must surrender or resist. It is always your choice. To say; "I had no choice" is a cowards refrain. I'm sure the coward is not accepting of the label... but it doesn't change the accuracy.

A coward cannot be a Free Man. The two are mutually exclusive.

Who makes the choices in your life and why? In that question is where Liberty lives.

Life is full of options. That is simply a laws of physics Fact of Life. Freedom is achieved when YOU are the one who chooses left or right. Do you stay inside and dry or walk in the rain? Do you hand the thief your wallet or your fist? Do you tolerate an abusive employer for safety and security? Or, do you command him to silence and walk with your integrity? Do you Pursue your dreams even when your Significant Other has arrogantly warned you they don't approve, and that doing so will terminate the "relationship". (gender blind here dear readers!)

Freedom is achieved when you've attained that philosophical or spiritual place where you make the choices in your life based on your requirements for your life, your personal integrity and your soul.

Freedom is achieved when those choices are made because the value of the choice to your self respect exceeds the cost of the consequence and you have marshaled the courage to support the choice.

That, is Freedom.

Yes, the consequences of your choices could very well lead to poverty, abandonment and even early death. They also might reward you with great riches and living to a revered old age. The consequences are really irrelevant.

What is important is to realize that though they may shorten their lives and endure great trials; men who live in Freedom breathe air the sweetness of which few men truly taste.

Beyond the Costs of Freedom... are the costs of Honor... yes they are often intertwined... but that is another debate...

Freedom isn't about success... it is Only about options, choices in spite of costs and try.

Grab Your Handles and Ride
Brian


5 comments:

Arizona Harley Dude said...

Brian,

I stick to my comments on Steve’s blog. Freedom is an elusive concept that has many interpretations. Society has rules and laws that override TRUE FREEDOM and regardless of my, or your, choices we are bound by at least some of them.

Merriam-Webster defines Freedom as…
1: the quality or state of being free: as
a : the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action

Your claim of everything without cost being…<’good pablum for a weak mind or a gutless wonder,> is hyperbole of an extraordinarily grand measure. Surely being free in today’s world would necessitate the necessity of gas, tires, insurance and other necessities that require some form of payment. Or cost. None of us can drive or ride without the coercion of a license, tags, and insurance.

We are always free to make choices and take the fork we choose. No Sir, Freedom isn’t free as demonstrated by the thousands of brave men and women who laid down their life for our right to be as stupid as we choose to be.

Today, even in America, there will still be restrictions that can’t be dismissed as not having the guts to object. I'm suspecting while you are enjoying your Freedom, your truck and bike are both insured and licensed, you carry a valid drivers license, and would guess you slow on the highway when you see a Patrol car. That Sir does limit the aspect of your freedom that does not require some form of coercion, but does limit you, and me, to an absence of TOTAL Freedom.

Brian said...

AHD; I employed a bit of hyperbole in a failed attempt to break through the thickening shroud being woven around Freedom, Liberty and Honor, by soh-sigh-uh-tee.

I do not believe that there are or can be multiple interpretations of Freedom; No more than there can be multiple perceptions of what a Redwood Tree is. It is what it is.

To my mind Freedom is one, single, reality. Yes, people can individually place greater value on pieces and parts of it. But it, Freedom, remains that one, shining, singular treasure in life.

What I have also failed to do is get my point across. The shroud has so far proven impenetrable.

The "Definition" of Freedom promoted by soh-sigh-uh-tee is increasingly one that, with intention, weakens it and transfers its power to those who perceive themselves to be in command. It is a constant and insidious part of human history.

I am "Commanded" by No One. That said, I don't go around pokin' grizzly bears in the butt with sharp sticks either. True Freedom doesn't eliminate common sense or the consequences of stupidity.

While I won't ever stop trying to verbalize what I know in my heart and in my very soul... for now I'll have to accept failure to transmit that idea.

I just can not, and will not accept the idea that Freedom is about the price of gasoline or car insurance. It is something far deeper, and ethereal than that... I just can't put it into words.

I suppose it falls into that "If I have to explain it you won't understand" category.

I suspect that is where the idea of "Multiple Interpretations" comes from... the effort by many many people to "Explain" the unexplainable. You either "Get it" or you don't... and we continue struggling trying to put words to what can't be described.

Ride Far.

Trobairitz said...

Thought provoking post.

I would be inclined to agree that life is about choices. I think we always have a choice in life no matter what we are doing. We don't always enjoy the choice/decision we make, but we have the freedom to make the choice.

With regards to having to insure a vehicle because it is the law that is not coercion. To me that does not infringe on my freedom at all. Driving/riding is a privilege not a right and to enjoy those privileges you must choose to comply with some laws. You can choose not to and see what happens, but technically you can choose to comply or not.

I work for a defense attorney I see many people who choose not to comply with the laws. Every one of them was free to make the choice they made.

Maybe it is odd, but I don't give much thought to freedom on a daily basis. Maybe when I hear talk of WW I and WW II, but the so called wars of today are not about protecting our "freedom" as the media would like us to believe. Just my two cents.

Brian said...

Trobairitz; two bits. ;) I don't see riding as a privileged. To move about on the earth is a right, in my eyes. But having Freedom and Rights does not eliminate also having responsibility for your impact on the world around you. Insurance to me, is accepting a bit of that responsibility. To me that is part of and not subtracting from Freedom... maybe that is a light on the divergence of "perception"...

also... "Todays Wars"... ahhhh... another deep and unsolvable debate! ;) most wars are indefensible con jobs on the people... on BOTH sides of the battlefield.

Brian said...

I acknowledge that many disagree with what I say here.

I accept that likely MOST do not agree...

I say... it doesn't change the accuracy of my belief any...

My concept of Freedom lives within the Quote;

"They can take our lives... They can NEVER Take our FREEDOM"

Freedom is unavailable to the many.

Like those who fly in wingsuits...
climb the sheer rock faces...
break the surly bonds of earth...
Those who refuse, though it means their lives, to bow to the tyrant...
Those who march into the guns...
Those who shred the impositions of soh-sigh-uh-tee... though it means trial and tribulation...

Freedom... is Only available to those with the courage to grasp it.

It resides in a thought. In the spirit flowing in your veins. I believe Freedom is unrelated to the price of food, fuel, insurance, rent, tires, shoes or any of the chemical and physical requirements of life... To me those things are simply the mechanical actions required to support life... like breathing.

Are we to stop breathing to know "Freedom"? Can we only know Freedom if we cease surrendering to the coercion of eating?

Freedom to me is the idea that the 'balance' in your heart tips to the side of LIFE rather than obedience to those "Things"

If you do not understand what I am saying... I can not explain it.