Monday Aphorism: Freedom

Free from, free to…so free that I often fall into the self-caused tar pits of my imaginings. I seem to vacillate between whatever is total freedom to think, to read, to be – and the fervent wish to know exactly what is going on, and what will be.

This freedom business is not so simple as once I thought. I can do just about what I want; as long as I can figure out what I want. I can plan, I can not-do, I can assent or refuse or dissent or argue. And it is often wonderful, following my nose which is hard upon the scent of knowledge.

But there are others; and freedom often gets in the way. My freedom impinges on yours, my dissent treads upon your assent, our noses cross paths as foreheads bump and teeth clash. It is difficult, even, to remain on similar trajectories for those of us who think we have chosen to be all together in freedom; and out of freedom.

And we all have different histories, different senses of how free is free, and how to think out this moment’s freedom in each next moment. Instead, we get into dead ends whose sign was not obvious until we had entered too deeply, and in some frantic thrashings try to extricate ourselves without considering costs. Still invoking the word, we first mutter, eventually scream for the freedom whose definition always needed the next moment’s guarding…

  • Dennis

    Interesting anecdote. However, I think we have to redefine what freedom means. In the West, we are often disposed to think of freedom as enablements or rights to actions, predicated upon an atomized self who desires, thinks, wishes, etc. I do not contest that freedom results from external reorderings, but I think that is only half the story. The climax to this tragedy is really that freedom should seen as interiorized or existential–a spiritual expression of the deepest of all Selves. As we become more self-realized, through trusting and loving whatever that arises, we notice all of our dreams and aspirations come true. It may not be the ones we sketched out when we were kids, but underneath those desires, we are satisified because that is what we wanted all along: To be free from our pain.

  • Dennis

    Interesting anecdote. However, I think we have to redefine what freedom means. In the West, we are often disposed to think of freedom as enablements or rights to actions, predicated upon an atomized self who desires, thinks, wishes, etc. I do not contest that freedom results from external reorderings, but I think that is only half the story. The climax to this tragedy is really that freedom should seen as interiorized or existential–a spiritual expression of the deepest of all Selves. As we become more self-realized, through trusting and loving whatever that arises, we notice all of our dreams and aspirations come true. It may not be the ones we sketched out when we were kids, but underneath those desires, we are satisified because that is what we wanted all along: To be free from our pain.

  • Harvey Sarles

    Dennis,
    I understand (and wrote) this aphorism more as a “meditation” than as an anecdote. It (and my other aphorisms) are attempts to “go into” my own thoughts. I think these thoughts are fairly common, if not exactly universal. But where they go, in our thinking (and where they don’t go) can get pretty complicated and very interesting.
    Each thought wanders to the edges of where we are and where we think there is “to go” from here. I think it helps for someone (me! – some years ago, actually) who is at a time of rethinking, to think of the possibilities of each thought. Which to reject, place on hold, follow – seems quite “deep” and possibly deepening in our thinking.
    As a set of “illustrations” I wonder if they can’t attract a reader to enter more deeply into her or his thoughts, and develop a clearing of one’s past thoughts, toward new layers of clarity.

  • Harvey Sarles

    Dennis,
    I understand (and wrote) this aphorism more as a “meditation” than as an anecdote. It (and my other aphorisms) are attempts to “go into” my own thoughts. I think these thoughts are fairly common, if not exactly universal. But where they go, in our thinking (and where they don’t go) can get pretty complicated and very interesting.
    Each thought wanders to the edges of where we are and where we think there is “to go” from here. I think it helps for someone (me! – some years ago, actually) who is at a time of rethinking, to think of the possibilities of each thought. Which to reject, place on hold, follow – seems quite “deep” and possibly deepening in our thinking.
    As a set of “illustrations” I wonder if they can’t attract a reader to enter more deeply into her or his thoughts, and develop a clearing of one’s past thoughts, toward new layers of clarity.