This series of photographs featuring ships and boats were taken in and around Dili, Timor Leste.
Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds.
I LOVE…Freedom! When deciding this morning to write about freedom, I thought to open the post with a quotation which would nicely sum up my thoughts on the subject. One would think this to be an easy task. With the help of Google, and countless pages containing ‘freedom’ quotes, it should be a breeze. Hmmm…. What I found was page after page of quotations by great leaders, great thinkers, informing me that in order to be free I had to think a certain way, carry certain banners, join certain movements, and live a certain way. Somehow, that doesn’t seem very ‘free’ to me.
Freedom to me is not about governments, ideologies, or flag waving. I firmly believe that governments can not give true freedom, nor can they take it away. Freedom comes in the ability to make choices. I do understand that some people have far more choices than others. But nearly every adult human being has some choices, primarily the choice of what they do with each and every day of their lives. With that choice they can choose to be free, they can choose to conform, or they can choose to do whatever they’d like, even doing nothing is a choice. I won’t judge anyone over the choices they make, nor will I assume the responsibility of their choices.
To me, the battle for freedom is not against governments, militaries, or corporations. The battle takes place in our own minds, every day. In my mind, it’s simple….the battle is over what I perceive as ‘good vs. evil’. The determination between the two is my choice, no one has the ability to decide for me what is ‘good’ and what is ‘evil’ unless I choose to willingly give that determination away. My freedom comes not from being an American, which is a completely ridicules concept, but in my refusal to allow others to determine for me what I will and what I will not participate in. My freedom also comes from allowing others to freely choose for themselves what they will and will not participate in.
My freedom comes from living my life having very few rules. In my opinion, rules limits one’s choices and options. The few rules I do have I am flexible with, if I come across something better, I change the rules. What I value more than rules are standards, and even those are constantly changing. I will not allow them to be lowered. No matter how bad things may seem at any given moment, I can not allow my standard of what is and is not acceptable to me to be lowered, it can only be raised. My rules, my standards, are mine alone. I do not expect anyone else to follow them. Others do not have to have the same morals, convictions, or beliefs as I in order for me to enjoy them, respect them, or spend time with them.
There is no doubt, economically speaking, that I am a 99%er, and at the lower end of that 99%. The reality is though…. this is my choice. There is no shortage of money in the world, and I agree there are distribution problems. However, I can’t see myself complaining about something which is clearly my choice. I’ve nothing against those that do. I’ll give you an enthusiastic smile, a high five, and I may even sign your petition. I’ve absolutely nothing against the Occupy Wall Street movement, but I’ve also nothing against 1%ers. I’ll hang out with either one and probably find agreement and disagreement with both. It’s only when I find what I consider ‘evil’ will I then step back. And in finding that evil, I won’t fight it, I’ll just not participate in it.
This is not to say I have no compassion for causes and the good they can bring about. I can and will get involved in efforts to helping others who actually have no choice. This is usually involving children, animals, or adults truly lacking the ability to make choices. If one is an adult and has a working mind and body, you have choices. Economic situations may limit your choices, but you have the choice to improve that situation. If someone willingly chooses to exercise their freedom by allowing economics, or anything really, to limit that very freedom, who am I to intervene is that decision?
I will not wait for governments, organizations, or corporations to do the right thing and grant me freedom. History has shown that this would be a very long wait. My freedom comes in my refusal to allow it to be taken from me. My freedom comes in my realization that every second of my life involves choices and my future is directly determined by my decisions regarding those choices.
My freedom also comes in not taking myself, or any of this, too seriously. I rather good over evil, so I look for and only pay attention to good. I rather love over hate, so I look for and only pay attention to love. I rather friends over enemies, so I look for and only pay attention to friends. And as with everyone else, I usually find exactly what I choose to look for and pay attention to.