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Variations of Freedom

Let’s consider a few ways of restricting someone’s freedom. It’s a terrible thing to do and it can be self-inflicted or it can be imposed on others. It seems to me that, the more advanced a person or a society is, the more they rely on this practice. This subject cannot be easily exhausted, given the multitude of factors that influence each occurrence, from the people/systems involved, to motivation, level of intrusion, manner of execution, whether the influence is internal or external to the victim, whether it’s mutual or not, strangely enough we can also count the level of pleasure people can perceive in the process, the level of consciousness about the process, the inherent emotions, such as fear, security, domination, submission, volition, level of happiness or sadness/grief … to count but a few. In fact, all the factors that make our lives as colourful as it is (or dull, on the contrary) can be considered on introspection of how free (or otherwise) one really is.

I’m far from being a psychologist, sociologist or any other luminary in this sense – I’m a mere life observer, just like you and him and her, sharing what I perceive in our daily existence. I do this for learning, for thinking, for feeling alive and connected.

From another perspective, this game is like statistics: you can carry on finding more evidence as to tip the balance one way or another, into a cycle of ups and downs, like the ones you see on a graph. There’s no problem with that – we’re not building a scientific thesis. We’re observing, thinking and sharing our views. Let's keep it simple.

This is only the humble beginning of a continuing observation, so together, let’s add to this list what we think could help others in their process of understanding life.

  • In personal human relationships the most common and well known case of deprivation of freedom is probably the one based on jealousy and possessiveness. Before we even go to the level of ‘possessing’ people, we go through an infinite number of levels for our feeling of possession for our things. A ‘Do not touch’ sign in a museum is acceptable, but a mother who doesn’t allow her children to bring friends home to play, because they might touch her precious belongings is not. She’s not only restricting her children from playing indoors, she’s forming those children into less sociable people than they could have been otherwise. Maybe I’ll go into more side-effects of this later.
  • A jealous person who doesn’t allow his/her partner to look at, talk to, dance with or otherwise interact with other people is sick. The partner (in fact, both of them) may or may not realise this and consent to the treatment, but that doesn’t objectively reduce from the level of restriction that person is put through. Subjectively yes, low feelings of self-worth may reduce the perceived level of the person’s lack of freedom and they may assist in justifying and rationalising the facts, but the situation remains unchanged – if any, maybe it would encourage the behaviour to escalate, thus worsening the situation. It’s a vicious circle.
  • Restricting another one to speak their mind (or even masses of people, for this reason) is a universal disease. Finding and sharing ways of rejecting this treatment at any level is definitely worth all those books and websites that have been written about it, and continue to be published. How many bad feelings, even escalating to devastating wars along centuries did this simple but powerful act of controlling a fellow being’s behaviour bring about?
  • Negative thought patterns and limiting beliefs are an even trickier manner of reducing one’s freedom. Such beliefs are invisible to us and they can hold us back from accepting, let alone reaching our full potential. Sometimes this kind of thinking is passed on from generation to generation, by imparting them repeatedly during the formative years of a child. Few growing children realise they’re being formed to fit into a society developed by their elders. I think the worst influence adults can have upon their children is to not allow the growing minds develop thinking and creative abilities, thus ending up with some convenient little robots that can easily be used to suit the given circumstances. The reasons for this criminal act are as varied as are the situations in which it occurs, but I shall leave this for another note.
  • Arranging for and staging various events for a prolonged enough duration, in order to generate a conditioned reaction in which people draw false generalisations, the interpretation of which is also disempowering by blocking one’s mind with negative emotions such as fear and apprehension is one bad way of using one’s power. This abuse of power can be applied by an individual, a family, an educational system or even a government and the sad news is that they are actually doing it in various degrees and not only to their own people.
  • Illness, whether real or merely perceived illness, has a paradoxical effect on people, depending on one’s personality and strength of their will. The same illness can paralyse one person and at the same time inspire another to reach heights they never thought possible. It can be gnawing at one’s inner resources or it can fully liberate one. Consciously lab-generated and developed illness counts as well in this category and I also consider it an act of genocide in the name of science and political power.

The biggest crime against freedom

This is only my opinion and you may feel free to agree or disagree, prove me wrong - feel free to share your angle.

I think the worst crime is to limit one's own or another person's capacity to fully use their mental and emotional potential. It's a crime to not encourage your children to study and get educated, just as hideous as refusing to be educated or to learn and develop yourself, just for being lazy.

Given that the biggest advantage we have over the animal reign is our intellectual capacity, I think the number one culprit in limiting our freedom is the lack or denial of appropriate education at any stage in one’s life. Since the thinking process doesn’t stop when people are not suitably educated, look at what happens when uneducated people apply their thinking in real life. We only need to compare the lifestyle of the uneducated folk with that of reasonably intelligent animals, to realise how detrimental, harmful and even evil the human race can become. Examples of human behaviour harming their own self, their offsprings, their elders, animals and their environment, including the air they breathe or the water they drink are endless! Animals don't expose this behaviour - they simply exist in comunion with the surrounding nature: they exist, they eat, drink, multiply and die.

To be or not to be educated doesn't have to do with the financial affluence one may have or lack. When I realised I couldn't afford to carry on studying for a Master's Degree, let alone a PhD, I simply made a decision to not go the academic route, with the result that I landed on a more practical career ladder, less scholarly as a result. However, I learned much more during the years that followed my studies than ever before and I never stop.

Other people with poor origins but an avid thirst for knowledge have managed to put themselves through schools and universities around the world, or even study to high levels without bothering to receive the official degrees and certificates. In Europe it is the norm to grow up bilingual and in developing countries you can find graduates in meaningless jobs - in fact you find them everywhere in the world.

This is a consequence of the educational system itself: it prepares graduates based on the courses and the teaching resources available, rather than on the actual students' needs. This system is there to feed a greedy mechanism with labour force at various levels, with the aim to perpetuate this same mechanism by making its owners and role players even richer. Resources, both in terms of money, time energy and brain power from everybody who wants to put themselves in service of such a system are drawn from the studious victims before, during and including years after they graduate.

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