Surely we all cherish freedom. Don't we?
What is “Freedom” then?
Finding a suitable definition of freedom in my language, UK English, is confusing. I will give you the best one from my heart in a moment, if you will allow me. In many languages the words for freedom and love have the same root. One of the problems is language itself. In particular the construction of any language. Different languages have undoubtedly different effects on overall attitudes and ways of thinking – even of local logic. Different languages have a distinct effect on different thought processes. To put that another way, different thought process styles peculiar to a region of our world, can and do generate their own styles of language structure. Therefore, I think you can see that freedom itself rests in different places in people's minds in different languages and even in different local idioms within a given language. There is thus a different sense of freedom in different idioms.
My idea of a reasonable definition of Freedom:
Taken from the Collins English Dictionary: a noun
1. personal liberty, as from slavery, bondage, serfdom, etc
2. liberation or deliverance, as from confinement or bondage
3. the quality or state of being free, esp to enjoy political and civil liberties
... but in effect, surely, all that is necessary is freedom to express one’s own life whilst respecting and guarding the freedoms of another.
My passion is freedom. My greatest frustration is freedom. But I can easily enjoy the idea of freedom and the aspiration of it and its close associate, Love, for my neighbours and my fellows; how can I enjoy that? Because I am an optimist.
It seems that modern human beings do not actually support freedom terribly well, nor do they understand it. Maybe this is peculiar to those of us in so-called westernised cultures. In addition, with particular regard to the USA, though, no-one can surely suggest that the country that supported apartheid long after the end of WW2, the country that destroyed the fine cultures of many Native American nations and the country that derided the use of the UN for its proper purpose, is a true supporter of liberty. It would be a ghastly and terrifying joke to make such a claim. Why terrifying? Because it is also the most powerful military force on this lovely planet; the planet which belongs to all of us different beings, to wherever we happen to stroll.
Yes, all of this planet actually belongs to all beings, even more than one small area of land is said to belong to a house-owner. There is no way we are anywhere near respecting that. Sadly in my lifetime, the self-evident truth of the right to possession of this planet equally with all our fellow beings, is now further and further away from being respected.
There is worse, of course. The whole of Caucasian humanity has been responsible for arrogant destruction of much of the freedom expressed in the whole living world – not just other groups of humans have been killed or disrupted, but many, many creatures of other breeds who, in my book, are just as entitled to their freedom of their world as are any other species. In truth, of course, it is not just us Caucasian people who have caused problems for others, but in recent times, it is mainly us.
Having pointed my bloodied finger at my own, it has to be said that in modern times all governments are prone to kill off freedom and genuine love of their fellow beings. The diversity of character of each single human, for example is just incredible and yet is only vaguely allowed for by national controlling influences, provided that in some way these different folk can be assembled into some form of “majority”.
So therefore I believe that the huge pile of law that is now heaped on top of each one of us, is utterly unnecessary, especially if it is replaced by actual love and respect for all. Unfortunately, though, the sword has now been replaced by the gun, the horse by the tank, the Dove of Peace by the jet fighter/bomber and latterly, the gun has, itself, been supplemented by a variety of weapons of mass destruction. The latter nuclear weaponry and its delivery systems are largely only allowed to be possessed by the USA and its associates and one or two rebellious independent nations and one alleged enemy.
On the plus side, within my lifetime, the preaching of love, together with unarmed and civilised non-violent protest for a cause has, at least, led to the removal of a major layer of control over one large population, that of what is now modern India. By such brave action, the entire nation that we call India is now independent of British rule.
So, that is a sign of hope for some of my passionate beliefs in true freedom for all. I do not know if I am morally right or wrong in wishing for this at this time in history. However, I do know that we are living under the serious threat of continued slavery for most of humanity, ruled by an elite of people who are generally selfishly motivated by the desire to control and are rather narrow-minded. The latter are generally hardly of the characteristics likely to respect the actual freedom of other ordinary folk.
What I now believe is that my own belief in freedom can help to temper the excesses of the arrogance of both democracy and of political force, if I can find some way of indulging this particular passion. I can only see that the preaching of love, hope, peace and joy for all my fellow beings, as practised by the “Great Soul” Gandhi and so beautifully preached by one of his mentors, Leo Tolstoy, is a basis for hope. That is why I am encouraged to find a real way of symbolising freedom. Actual freedom. But democratic party political power is not it, for one thing. And that, as they say, is for sure.
European Union – optimism
But we do have to persist in our professed desire for mutual respect of individuality, that respect only modified by love and care. Many things have been tried in recent history to achieve something of the sort. The opening of national borders for example does seem to work optimistically in mainland Europe – but in all honesty, it is only one stage sideways from what was the case a couple of centuries ago, and now it is with the added insult of needing identity papers. The agreements between many nations of Europe to extend and achieve several layers of freedom was set up towards the latter half of the 20th Century, with undoubted good intentions but sadly for those of us believing in freedom, it was not long before the headquarters set up to administer these accords, started to become an overriding new government, which now places a layer of more and more significantly restrictive control over all its member states.
Frankly, that is not the way it was sold to me, going back several decades. Nevertheless, many good things have happened for my benefit within my lifetime. Those good things have mainly come about because of love and respect by others, in particular the entire medical world, a great part of the varied social organisations which have grown around me and also I have seen a profound improvement in the quality and amount of social housing for the “worker bees” of the various hives of our nations within Europe as well as my native country (now named) the United Kingdom.
Whilst those above-mentioned improvements are generally a good thing, it does not allow for proper freedom of the kind we need. We must, however, trust that it is a step in the right direction.
© Elaine Kentland, July 2017