Today, I will share two pieces of thought about freedom that led me to question and reconsider my beliefs on freedom..
Physical Freedom or Confined freedom (Life of Pi)
In ‘Life of Pi’, Yann Martel explores the idea the idea of freedom, and what it means to be physically free, as opposed to freedom of choice and the illusion of freedom that people possess.
He states that “Well meaning but misinformed people think animal in the wild are “happy” because they are “free”. These people usually have a large, handsome predator in mind, a lion or a cheetah. They imagine this wild animal roaming about the savannah on digestive walks after eating a prey that accepted his lot piously, or going on the calisthenic runs to stay slim after overindulging. They imagine this animal overseeing its offsprings proudly and tenderly, the whole family watching the setting of the sun from the limbs of trees with sighs of pleasure. The life of the wild animal is simple, noble and meaningful. Then it is captured by the wicked men and thrown into tiny jails. its happiness is dashed. It yearns mightily for “Freedom” and does all it can to escape. Being denied its freedom for too long, the animal becomes a shadow of itself, its spirit broken. So some people imagine
This is not the way it is. Animals in the wild lead lives of compulsion and necessity within an unforgiving social hierarchy in an environment where the supply of fear is high and the supply of food is low and where territory must constantly be defended and parasites forever endured. What is the meaning of freedom in such a context?”
If an animal has a secure and fully furnished territory, they no longer worry about predators, starving to death, or territory disputes. Then this animal will not be nervous and displaced but instead behave like a land owner then it enjoys a confined freedom.
Indeed , Freedom is pointless when survival instincts take precedence over enjoying that freedom, isn’t it?
The Law of Freedom (Vedanta Treatise)
This is not as much a revolutionary idea as much as a very powerful example. Swamji gives the example of a man who throws a rope around a mule’s neck and claims he is the owner. The mule has lost its freedom to him, you state. But the converse is also true! You cannot leave the mule either. By holding and enslaving the mule, you have lost your freedom.
Thus the law of freedom –“The more you claim possession of the world, the more you are possessed by it. An attitude of dispossession and renunciation alone can lead to freedom”
To note however, is that this is unrelated to the quantum of what you possess. To have equipoise and relish both joys and sorrows, loss and gain without getting swayed ..is truly being free
Thus, my new definition of Freedom is from Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead
“Freedom (n.): To ask nothing. To expect nothing. To depend on nothing.”