The Irony of Freedom!

A realistic, contemporary interpretation of “the ideology of being free”, or Freedom was put up in one of the mailing lists. It is a transparent and dialectical analysis of freedom, rather than being superfluous and unrealistic. It goes as follows:

Is a jobless man who is starving, free? Is an illiterate, ignorant person, shut off from the world of books and culture, free? Is a man chained to a job 52 weeks a year with never a few days off for rest, vacation, and travel, free? Is a man continually beset with worries about making ends meet, free? Is a man in constant fear of losing his job, free? Is a talented person unable to afford the school-ing which would help his talent flourish, free?


Only the rich are able to enjoy freedom in its broader sense of abundance, security, leisure. The poor are not free. There is a struggle to share the freedom.

After reading these lines, I, conversely started contemplating the ever existent, but, the subdued urge to set ourselves free from various forces binding us to rigidity, in various forms and to different extents.

I believe, the quest to Freedom manifests itself in people, at different strata, to different extents, based on which of their needs are fulfilled and which aren’t. It is more dependent on the social coordinate of each individual in this ever expanding, disparity prone framework of the society. The urge to break free from shackles, which hold back an individual is the strongest amongst the suppressed people, who in most cases, aren’t in a position to exercise their will because of their disadvantageous socio-economic position.

Freedom, as a matter of fact is not absolute- contrarily it is highly relative, varying from individual to individual, section to section.

For instance, a person who is not able to cater to his basic needs envisages a freedom which would break the gradient between the inhibitors and the needy. Likewise, a mind which is constrained by the lack of any true value or purpose in the society, would want to break free from the rigid shackles of ignorance into cognizance.

These are natural traits in us, which most of the times are expressed only when the suppression breaks beyond a threshold, which again varies with individuals.

But again, most of the time, even when we are aware of the need to be free from such constraints, we seem to grow numb towards this urge, mostly because of the compromises we make in life to keep our wants fulfilled.
We end up being servile in one aspect or another, to something or the other.

This is the Irony of Freedom, constantly haunting each one of us!

About Raghav/Raghu

A fortunate mass of hydrogen cloud conscious enough to be contemplating that very fact.
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6 Responses to The Irony of Freedom!

  1. Denial of freedom I have come across: 1.A guardian to a kid : "Do not laugh that way". I don't know how else the child should have laughed.2.A to B: "I don't like what you are wearing. Go change". As if it is any of A's business.3.A family friend to his son: "You are joining this particular course in engineering". The guy's academic life is ruined after six years of worthless engineering battle.You can find lot of dominance from others over simple things in your life.An attempt at suppressing my freedom:A lot of people : "why do you want to go away from home for work/studies? why now? as if..blah blah.." to which my answer has been a simple, polite smile as if to say " I really do not care what u think or say"!

  2. @sri: Nice instances manifesting the imbalance of freedom, Sri. Denial of freedom in most occasions, although is imposed on us, we too tend to succumb to it most of the time, given the intricate lives of ours. But, the instances when we defy this denial of freedom would turn out to be positive epochs of our lives.

  3. @sri The instances you mentioned are more related to the mindset rather than a suppression of freedom. Raghu points out the fundamental conflict between the haves and have-nots which has existed since the time human beings started to settle down and til the land.

  4. @Vikram Vincent : Right Sir, as you have pointed out, this post by Maverick mainly deals with the gap between the haves and the have-nots. But he also talks about the shackles at different strata of our society which can include the 'haves'(Is a man chained to a job 52 weeks a year with never a few days off for rest, vacation, and travel, free?). Maverick also says "a mind which is constrained by the lack of any true value or purpose in the society, would want to break free from the rigid shackles of ignorance into cognizance".I agree that the rich are able to enjoy freedom, in a materialistic sense. In the quest to have all the wealth, freedom of mind is not given due time and importance. Also, due to societal constraints, not many of us are able to experience the freedom of simple things in life. (maverick's "…aren't in a position to exercise their will because of their disadvantageous SOCIO-economic position").The instances that have mentioned only corroborate "freedom of the mind" which is facing inhibitions at various sections of our society.**I had attended the seminar on open source you had conducted at our college, Sir. It was inspiring. Eventually, I joined the bandwagon of Linux users too.RegardsSrilakshmi D J

  5. @Sri: The "shackles at different strata of our society" are intrinsically linked to the forces of production-which is the basis. A person can afford to be creative only if that person has the time and only if that person has the economic backing.A carpenter, mason.. cannot afford to take leave or pursue music or dance classes or other hobbies simply because they are not paid sufficiently to be able to save and take leave/free time when needed. A related question would be – why is the drop out rate of children of poor people higher than that of the children from middle-upper class families?The point being that the 'freedom of the mind' can be only when there is economic freedom. Please do look at concrete examples to test the validity of the observations.

  6. @Sri@Mr.Vikram: Good thoughts being churned out.To make things clearer, let me tell you what instigated me to write this post: The lines I've quoted in this post,for, they touch upon all the hindrances one has to face in today's world to exercise one's will. Freedom does come at a price, and more at an economic price in today's world. In a practical sense,unless the security of 'economic carapace' is given to people, it becomes a rarity to see people try craving for freedom in other senses.Economic freedom(by which i mean freedom from worrying about fulfillment of basic needs), which undeniably is a function of an individual's societal status, at least until he/she grooms into an adult is a major factor constraining people's motives and efforts to crave for freedom in all other senses. And, if an individual is restrained of economic freedom till he becomes an adult, he has 'mostly' lost the chances of reaching a better social status and the cycle continues. Although, we have seen rare instances where people have 'risen', but, it is not common, while talking about the commons.

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