Free to, free from, free for…it all seemed simple, even obvious, but no more. The varieties of what is free, and to what pre-positions it is linked, now seem as mysterious as life itself. Now it is more a question of partials: where to locate freedom, how freeing is the yielding of some aspects of life to some exteriority; imprisonment of body, of mentality, to the logics and thought systems which frame our questions and make us wonder about the boundaries of the illusory.
The rise of strong religion, the self-satisfying temptation to go-it-alone without government, the celebration of fame and money, all signal that we are in times where we-the-people are diminished. Looking for meaning, we tend to grab for easy answers.
To give ourselves over to a belief is to be free because the belief is not totally an investment. And what is left over is free in a way that those who resist belief must keep invested in varieties of resistance.
To have a single logical system for all and sundry occasions is freeing because it takes little energy after a while, and the mind is free to wander on side trips while our logical self is carrying out its program.
To become imprisoned is to yield one’s body to a sphere which is so limited, so determined that little choice, few possibilities are imaginable. The imagination is freed to take whatever paths it may invent.
The paradox: the total freedom of total choice is often its own prison as its chosen path does not always eliminate the others.
The prison of “The Present Age” of bureaucratic efficiency, is boredom: the world practically runs itself. There is nothing to do, and change is resisted. From Kierkegaard, we observe that the only real action is promoted by resisting change.
The most debilitating attack on freedom comes within the context of great freedom where the present is something lesser than we had hoped. Here, we are prisoners of our own disappointments, hoping for something better, while in every instant, we yield hope.
At such points we become vulnerable to the prisons brought upon us by others while we, seeking relief, pray for meaning to be given us…to be thrust upon us…