My contribution to Black History Month. A NEW question posed.

It seems that we agree on a few things. Slavery still exists in different forms, and it impacts more than just the black culture. And so, with your permission, which I really don’t need bc this is my blog, I would like to broaden the scope a bit. Instead of looking at this issue through the key hole of individual races, I pose a question that resonates with mankind…sorry, Colleen, person kind across the board.

I was remiss in asking the previous question without defining freedom. And that word is as ambiguous as what is considered slavery. Freedom is not doing whatever you want. People that do whatever they want end up slaves to drug addition, obesity, anger, sex, etc… In many ways, boundaries and guidelines create freedom. But in that, people who “fall into place” are slaves to the rules and unnecessary conformity. Until we have a clear definition of what it means to really be free, it is hard to debate the presence of slavery, (real and perceived.)

What does it mean to really be Free?


6 Responses to My contribution to Black History Month. A NEW question posed.

  1. Jared says:

    “It’s like porn, you know it when you see it.”

  2. Colleen says:

    Ha…you can say “mankind” without me getting offended. Thanks for thinking of me though…

    So, as usual, I agree and disagree with you right away. First, I agree that freedom isn’t just doing whatever you want. But I only agree because I feel like that’s a huge oversimplification of things. But even though lots of people do relinquish their freedom by becoming enslaved to their vices, it’s possible to use drugs, gain weight, lose your temper, and have sex without letting any of those things control you. So in order to be free, I think you need to have a good understanding of who you are, what you need, and what your limits are. So within that context, I think people should basically do whatever they want.

    Of course, there’s a catch. My freedom ends where another person’s body begins. I have no right to harm another person or put another person at risk without their informed consent. So as long as I’m not hurting anyone else, then I think I should get to do whatever I want (assuming that I know what I really want–although it’s no one else’s responsibility to tell me what that is, so I generally think the public and the government should stay out of it).

    I guess the point where we disagree and will probably always disagree is that I don’t think the examples you gave in your post are bad. I don’t think drugs are bad. I don’t think being obesity (depending on your definition of “obesity”) is bad. I don’t think anger is always bad (sometimes I think it’s not only really good, but really important). And I don’t think sex is bad.

    Ok, now that I’ve typed all that, I think I should ask for some clarification on your question.

    Are you talking freedom in a social/political context? Or more like personal freedom which would have a lot to do with one’s spiritual beliefs?

    I tend to answer questions like this in a secular context because it’s more inclusive (you know, what with people believing different things and all…). So if you’re asking about personal freedom, then I might need to rethink and/or expound on my earlier points.

  3. cheryl says:

    A bit pluralistic, though, don’t you think, doctor? I think you and your future wife (or your mother) may have different filters for what it porn. obviously from the discussion before, there are different eyes for what slavery is.

    but thanks for getting all Supreme Court quotey on us:)

  4. cheryl says:

    My mention of drugs, anger, sex, obesity were set in the specific context of being “a slave to…” So I am not talking about those in generalities, but in the context of being controlled by them.

    There is nothing more inclusive that talking to people from a spiritual perspective. people have wildly varied ideas about spirituality, but everyone has a spiritual side. they may deny it and ignore it, but we are spiritual as much as we are relational, sexual, physical, opposably thumbable humans.

    But that brings up a good point. Can somone have physical or social encumbrances of various degrees but still feel free? Can someone have all the personal choices in the world but feel like a big knot inside?

  5. Colleen says:

    you just got instant cool points for the phrase “opposably thumbable”.

    I agree that everyone has a spiritual side, but people live that in different ways. And while it’s certainly possible for people of various faiths to have an open dialogue about spiritual issues without anyone getting offended, I’ve found that it’s best to acknowledge those differences in advance and determine that all viewpoints will be respected (though not necessarily agreed upon), lest a perfectly reasonable discussion turn into a sermon. I feel like I should add that my not wanting to offend people has less to do with my compulsive political correctness than it does with the fact that it’s hard to actually accomplish anything in conversation if you’re just upsetting people.

    I definitely think that someone who lacks freedom in a physical or social sense can still feel free– although, that could be because I just saw The Diving Bell and the Butterfly– and I do think that has a lot to do with a person’s spirituality–even if it’s a nameless, shapeless sort of spirituality. Everyone is, from time to time, stuck in undesirable circumstances where they be saddled with debt, or limited by a medical condition, or stuck in some sort of situation where they feel trapped. And sometimes you’re powerless to change your circumstances. But that’s a real beauty in letting go of all the stress and anxiety and anger and just enjoying each moment for what it is. So yes. I think you can have freedom regardless of circumstance, but it’s certainly more challenging.

    I think I’d have to answer the second question with an affirmative as well. You can be free to make whatever choices you want and still feel like you aren’t truly free. I think that goes back to what I said before about how ultimately you have to know yourself and know what you want and need in order to be free. I think that’s part of why I left Denver. I was happy, I loved my life, I loved the city, but I really wasn’t sure if that was what I wanted and I didn’t know what I should do with my life. So even though I didn’t want to leave, I knew I couldn’t stay because I wasn’t making a choice to be there, I was just defaulting.

    And now I’m in a place that I hate, that’s totally miserable, but I feel comfortable with myself and comfortable with my choices, so enduring Columbia for a year really isn’t so bad in the long run.

  6. jon. says:

    opposably thumbable…. ha

    So, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that none of us is free. I might like to quote Bob Dylan in that you “Gotta Serve Somebody”. We all have authority in our lives and we all serve something. It might be a person that keeps us from our freedom, or might be our insatiable need for a fix, material goods, or popular opinion. We all serve something whether it is forced upon us or we choose to serve it. I might argue that the things we choose to serve sometimes are more deadly than those that are forced upon us.

    As a follower of Jesus, I’d like to think that I willingly submit to the authority that He places over me. In that, there is a kind of freedom that is difficult to explain. That’s not always the case of course, I serve all sorts of things. For the most part, we serve what we think will get us what we think we want… acceptance, love, admiration, comfort.

    On the other side of that coin, what about those “Masters” that are forced upon us?
    Family, Government, Slavery in the context of the last discussion…
    Some of those are healthy things and of course some are evil.

    My question would be…since I don’t believe we are really “free”…
    Are the things we serve “good”? (good for us, good for other people)

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