Two Different Freedoms

Freedom is an important subject. It is something that we all yearn for and seek in some way. Freedom is also the subject of ideological and political mischievousness.

We can easily get bogged down and messed up on this subject.

What Is Freedom?

According to Dictionary, freedom is:

  • the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint.
  • exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.
  • the power to determine action without restraint.
  • political or national independence.
  • personal liberty, as opposed to bondage or slavery: a slave who bought his freedom.

Notice how often freedom is presented as freedom from. Only one item on the list the third is freedom to.

Many people think they are the same thing, but actually, they are not.

Understanding Freedom From

Freedom from, which means freedom from restraint, has been the most sought freedom of the human race.

Slavery has been used for centuries to harness the energy of people to serve the social and economic agendas of the ruling classes. Slavery often became socially sanctioned when people, either individuals or groups, were conveniently labeled as bad or deficient. Slavery treats people as children to be controlled, contained, and used. It has the additional effect of shifting the investment of social and economic resources to some and not others.

It usually prevents social and economic mobility. No one wants to be on the short end of oppression.

What Is Freedom To?

Freedom to is the forward-looking freedom. It is the freedom to make our dreams come true. Freedom to is freedom of choice and freedom of expression. It includes the freedom to invest our time where we think best and the freedom to be fully committed to what we are doing. When we feel free to, we feel whole and alive.

It is a wonderful feeling.

Freedom to is the adult freedom. It puts us in charge of our destinies. It is the freedom being discussed when people talk about life without limits. Freedom to has some requirements. It demands the investment of time and resources of all kinds into an individual\’s personal development.

Important Differences In Freedom From And Freedom To

Freedom from activates in us a desire to escape. When we are primarily oriented toward freedom from we may develop an escapist way of life.

Although freedom from oppression is wonderful, that freedom does not automatically translate to a life we want to live. That desired life requires skills and effort. Freedom to requires the investment of time, energy, and resources but also requires wisdom, patience, and determination.

Those necessary personal attributes may not necessarily be apparent when suffering from restriction. Not realizing the personal demands of the freedom to live can disappoint people when freedom does not provide instant rewards.

Social Impact Of Different Freedoms

When some people benefit from the investments to live a life of freedom to, then resentment will naturally occur in those who are not as supported.

However, there is a dark side to these freedoms:

  • freedom to can come at the expense of someone else.
  • lack of any restraint has negative implications. Being unrestricted can turn into greed.
  • freedom purchased on someone else\’s back is not freedom but a sophisticated form of oppression.

Resolving The Difference Between The Two Freedoms

Oppression can only exist if some do the work of others. To resolve the difference between the two freedoms, we need to:

  • acknowledge all the work that needs to be done to sustain us
  • acknowledge the support that each person needs to grow into their best self.

Only when we are totally honest about what we need to live and thrive can we create a cultural life that is fully life-affirming for each person.

I think it would be a great idea!

Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash

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