Freedom

Freedom of will and action, of choice, is real but precarious.  I do have the freedom to choose what I will feel on a given day or in a given moment, how I will experience the objective situations that present themselves to me, how (and whether) I will react and respond to them.  Yet, this freedom is too subtle, too faint, and hence too vulnerable.  It’s real, but always under the threat of annihilation, of being erased completely. Like political freedom, the freedom of choice is forever threatened by its enemies, both internal and external.  Like political freedom, the freedom of choice can increase under certain conditions and decrease under other conditions.  Like political freedom, the freedom of choice is our birth right but it is not an automatic privilege that will be simply given to us because we deserve it; instead, it has to be obtained, nurtured, kept safe from its enemies, made to grow, and used with great caution.  Like political freedom, the freedom of choice can take a life-time to acquire but can be lost in a moment.  In fact, the process through which we acquire political freedom is very much like the process through which we acquire the freedom of choice; both kinds of freedoms are to be acquired again and again, in each moment, indefinitely.  The moment we stop acquiring our political freedom, we lose it.  The moment we stop acquiring the freedom to choose, we no longer have it.  While political freedom is a social phenomenon and the freedom of choice an individual one, the former is pretty much useless without the latter.  There may be perfect guarantees of rights and freedoms in a Constitution, but whether the people supposed to be enjoying those rights and freedoms actually have the capacity to choose at an individual level is not guaranteed in any Constitution.  That capacity is highly fragile, one may even say that it is volatile; to aquire, maintain, and cultivate this capacity an immense amount of consciousness, attention, alertness, and discipline are required…each moment.

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