Welcome to day 21 of my Writer’s Devotional.  Today I was giving the writing prompt of The Meaning of Freedom.  I’m supposed to examine what freedom means to me, and how one person’s freedom impacts others.  Here goes.

What do you think of when you think of the word ‘freedom’?  Do you imagine a white dove flying through a clear blue sky?  Do you imagine a world free of war?  Or do you imagine yourself having the ability to do something you’ve been longing to do for years?

The sad thing is, none of us can really be free.

Now Freedom, as defined by the dictionary, is:

1.  the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint
2.  exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.
3.  the power to determine action without restraint.
4.  political or national independence.
5.  personal liberty, as opposed to bondage or slavery: a slave who bought his freedom.
And to me, freedom has always been a simple thing, a simple concept that I don’t think should be too hard to understand.  Go wherever you want, do whatever you want, so long as you stay within the confines of the political and social law of the land you are living in.

By definition, my idea of freedom is anything but free,  because you are not exempt from ‘external control, interference, regulation, etc.’  You cannot determine your action without restraint, you do not have political or national independence.  All you have is personal liberty and freedom from confinement and physical restraint.

But when you think about it, isn’t that really the best that anyone can hope for?   Because if we all applied this literal definition of freedom to our everyday lives, society would quickly collapse into anarchy.   No rules, no restraint, personal liberty, the ability to do what you want, when you want, with/to whoever you want, whether they are willing or not.  I just get this resounding image of Mad Max when I think of this.

And if that were the case, if we followed this definition, in the end only a certain percentage of the population would truly be free, because they would be the ones who had the means to impose their will upon others.  We’d basically be right back to where we started, only a helluva lot worse.

I wish I could go into this long winded, well thought out discourse on the nature and meaning of freedom, but I’m not that smart, and I don’t think much more needs to be said here on this topic.

In the end,  we all have our own definition of freedom.  And in the end, no one can really be free.  Because external forces will always exert their will upon us, one way or another.  Our government, our society, our family, and our friends.  Freedom, true, unadulterated freedom, I think is an aspect of life that we all reach for, but sadly none of us will ever obtain.

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