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What is your definition of 'freedom'?

Every now and then we all question our own sense of freedom and what it is to be 'free'. How it is to live in the 'land of the free'. As much as it can sometimes be a little deep to talk about with peers, I thought this would be the best place to propose a discussion on your personal opinion of what it is to be 'free'.

See, a lot of people I've asked define 'freedom' as the opportunity to do what ever you want... I then follow this with asking, 'If everyone did as they wished, you'd then be bound by a constant fear of the actions of others, would you not? Then how 'free' would you feel?'

I simply want to start this conversation not because I believe 'freedom' is a definable concept, but because everyones' opinions of the idea is different and it's interesting to hear those opinions.

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    Apr 25 2013: "you'd be bound by the constant fear of the reactions of others"I agree. this topic was discussed in my class a little. I remember my teacher saying " Your freedom begins when other people's ends" example; You say something that might offend the person next to you. you can either throw caution to the side or not speak so freely around that person whom you've offended.
    • Apr 25 2013: But couldn't it be argued that the choice itself is freedom? you still had the choice to throw caution to the side or limit what you say, and no one else made it for you. I think freedom is always there no matter if you live in a dictatorship or a democracy, because freedom is being able to make choices based on what you want. for example if you live in a dictatorship you can choose to fight or to obey. The choices may not always great but they are still your choices to make. So i guess freedom would be up to each individual to decide on how free they are.
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        Apr 25 2013: I agree John, that having choices is a freedom. If we are aware of limitations or restrictions due to laws, regulations and rules, we make choices within those constructs.

        Like I used to tell the guys in jail who often said it was "unfair" of the cops and courts to send them to jail for an offense. When we live in a society, there are usually certain rules and regulations. We have the choice to break those rules and regulations, or, abide by the rules and regulations. That is a free choice. It's like you say John.....we can choose to fight, or obey.

        Personally, I believe I have a great deal of freedom of choice. Part of that is due to the fact that I live in a free country, in a free state, and I do not intend to commit offenses that may threaten my freedom.

        Another part of the picture for me, is that I was taught from the time I was a child that there are consequences with the choices we make. The more information we have about consequences related to the choices, the more freedom we may feel.
        • Apr 26 2013: very good point colleen. too often the blame is misplaced. people say they "hate cops" when perhaps it's more likely it's the person who gave the police their orders that they're angry at.
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        Apr 26 2013: Well said, John.
        You are free if you decide you are free.

        When it comes to the choice between to fight or to obey - in a free world, whatever the system, its name or definition, you can actually chose both at the same time.
        It's a positive development that we are given the ability to make this choice, but it's only positive if what we're fighting for is something worthwile and that our fight is a good one.
        The internet gives us this ability.
        • Apr 26 2013: i'd disagree, freedom is not subjective. idealised bondage is not freedom.
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          Apr 28 2013: Ben,
          I think our perception of freedom is subjective.....don't you? If we are imprisoned, then it is obvious that we are physically restricted or limited.

          Regarding your other comment....
          "Ben Jarvis
          1 day ago: very good point colleen. too often the blame is misplaced. people say they "hate cops" when perhaps it's more likely it's the person who gave the police their orders that they're angry at."

          I also observed, with the offenders I worked with, that they were often angry at and frustrated with themselves. They did not feel that they were free to make choices for themselves. They often expressed the idea that they were being pushed along, or pulled along in this world and had no control.
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        Apr 26 2013: Hi Ben,

        "i'd disagree, freedom is not subjective. idealised bondage is not freedom."

        I believe it is subjective - think about a person confined to a wheelchair, something that many perceive as a substantial restriction of freedom. This person can still feel free despite this adversity and doesn't need to idealise it.
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        • Apr 26 2013: That's a good question. I believe that freedom is more of a noun because while freedom is an idea its not so much an action. It could fit well as a pronoun because freedom can be used to describe many actions, such as living free. However if I had to choose anything to attribute to freedom I would say that freedom is more of a symbol.
          I say this because freedom is different from person to person just as a symbol means something different for each person. Take the US seal for example. The picture of the bald eagle in the seal could mean honor and strength to one person and truth and majesty to another. Is one persons interpretation more correct than the other? No, its just that each person attributes the symbol to what's most important in their life.
          Freedom is the same way. To me freedom is the ability to make a choice based on what you want, but to someone else freedom could mean not being ruled over and forced to do things. Neither of us is wrong because freedom is relative to each person
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        Apr 29 2013: No John, because the person is still bound by the options presented. in this case none of us are free. Funny how beings who have never had something visualize so much and lst after it so much.

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