Essays on Freedom - Freedom to Be Free

(by Fernanda Rezende Mendonca, Goiania-GO*)

What if today, with all the pomp and circumstance, I was offered the freedom I have been dreaming of for so long? If I was granted, free of charge, all the possibilities to become the master of myself, to be free to worship, to express myself, and to acquire whatever I want? What if today I could speak up, act, and think freely? If by the end of the day I found myself as the master of this wonderful possibility, would I be totally free?

Sometimes I am the queen of the situation. Facing a huge chocolate cake when nobody is near except my intelligence, that knows only too well what the limits of my body are, find myself free to do what I want. And usually, I eat until I think that I will never again in my life want to face another temptation like that. I satisfy my impulses to the point of not wanting ever to be the master of this "freedom." No, no! I can do without that!

How many times was I granted the freedom of choice - be it of a profession, or of somebody to be with and I made the wrong decision or simply felt paralyzed by the number options offered! How many times was I allowed to do what I wanted and simply didn't know what to do, or even worse, I chose to do nothing! Knowing myself, I can assure you that even if all the rules and conventions were abolished today, I would still a slave to my mind.

I live in a democratic country, in a well-structured city, I socialize with people from all walks of life, I have free access to all the sources of technical and scientific knowledge, and I have a family that teaches me everything I need to stand on my own two feet. And in spite of that, I am not free.

I am hostage to fear, I am afraid to make mistakes, of not succeeding and of being frustrated. I am a hostage to ignorance, to the lack of knowledge, to the difficulty in knowing the path to take. I am a hostage to prejudices, to refusing to learn, to have an inert mind. I am a hostage to "what will others say?", to conventions and to thoughts of the masses. I am a hostage to inertia and to the lack of will power. And finally, I am a hostage to a series of psychological deficiencies that confuse me in shooting down my best objectives. In fact, I am a hostage to myself.

I am learning that true freedom can't be bestowed by anybody but me. If we were to abolish all the social rules, it would certainly create the greatest problem of all for us because the current culture has not taught us to think freely, it hasn't taught us to defend ourselves against the enemies of our objectives, not to be humble enough to understand that in order to possess something, it is necessary to deserve it.

How enslaved we, young people, are by conventionalism and by the thoughts of the masses! How fragile is our will power when faced with the opinion of other people who are sometimes as unprepared as we are to pass judgments! How unprotected are our minds when facing numerous stimuli from diverse sources! One needs to be truly brave to be really different, in a society that imposes concepts laden with violence as well as with subtleties.

One needs a lot of knowledge to possess true freedom, the knowledge that bestows upon us the possibility to live peacefully amongst our fellowmen and to evolve without breaking the main laws, i.e. the Laws of [Nature.] First, it is necessary for me to learn how to use my intelligence so that later I can aspire to be free to think. I must learn that to want with my conscience so that I can be free to do what I want. it is necessary to know clearly where am I heading and why, so that I can then follow my path. And finally, it is necessary to have a lot of courage to accept the responsibility of being free in order to be worthy of conducting my life the way my conscience indicates.

Freedom, which is a natural prerogative of the human being, must not be sought on a whim, but with the knowledge of its try meaning and of the marvelous possibilities that it offers when it is used towards the individual self-betterment and for the good of mankind! This is true freedom.


*Excerpt from the book "Essays on Freedom" originally published in Portuguese. Based on Logosophical Cognition.


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