What Freedom Means To Me
Freedom, just like other societal constructs, is one such concept that has evolved with mankind. Its meaning, its context, its restraint, its exercise, all have been determined by law, and also are determined by personal belief systems of each individual on this planet. To give my two cents, on a topic this vast, complex, and contentious is a herculean task in itself. While my naive inner voice thinks Freedom is getting to use my phone all day and not getting scolded for it, I will put this thought on abeyance for now and try to contemplate on a serious note. All I can do is try to examine the implications of this word in the contemporary context.
Freedom to me isn’t the departure of British from India alone. Freedom would be the departure of imperialism.
Freedom to me isn’t the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Freedom would be not a single person having to face the pangs of racism.
Freedom isn’t allowing women to exercise their rights. Freedom would be women not having to ask for permissions but to have complete agency over their life.
Freedom isn’t the abolition of the Caste System alone. Freedom would be the acknowledging of privileges that come along with our caste and class and making efforts to minimize them.
As the epistemological view also claims, the foundation of freedom should not lie in dogma and authority ,but in rationality and reason. The scope of Freedom is as contentious as it should be. What freedom means to me might not be what it means to you, and that is the beauty of it! The dialogue on Freedom can never stop nor should it ever stop as it is a dynamic construct. Also it is the very essence of freedom to be able to critique everything with thought. Thus, freedom lies in the mind more than on paper. It cannot be reduced to a few fundamentals in the constitution. Until and unless those fundamentals are not exercised, the written laws are shallow. It isn’t freedom if you have to ask to get it. We are born free.
I can understand this is a far fetched concept as complete freedom can never be achieved. But my concern here is more with the discourse around freedom than its realisation. The discourse around what freedom means and its ethicality should never cease to exist as it helps give a direction to a concept that in reality is all over the place! It is important to respect an Artist’s freedom to emote, a Scientist’s freedom to explore or a Politician’s Freedom to vocalize. However, if any form of authority prohibits us to opine on their freedoms, then sadly Freedom doesn’t exist. With reasonable restrictions, freedom is the only principle that is guiding humans. Thus, it is clear to even me now that freedom to me is to be able to have an opinion and for others to have a say on my opinion as well!