What is freedom?
The most obvious answer is one we can see: freedom is the ability to walk about without being stopped, to live outside walls, to be able to pursue one’s interests — and the welfare of one’s family and loved ones — without undue and excessive interference from impersonal governing bodies — whether those bodies are political, financial, medical, or religious.
In the country in which I live, the United States, we have for years pointed at “other” countries as the bad guys: “You have to have papers to go out on the street!”
“The government dictates and controls their travel!”
“There’s no freedom of speech — you can’t say what you feel, think or believe without being censured!” (Social media, anyone?)
“They censor information!”
It can go on. And it does.
Some people in the country in which I live like to say that we are free indeed because we have many, many laws, which is an interesting way of looking at things. Laws are limitations placed upon people when, morally, they are unable to do the right thing unto their neighbor. Generally, the more laws that are in place, the less that people do things from their heart, and the more they conform to dictates.
They follow the law, and confuse this with goodness, kindness, compassion, or justice.
Freedom, also, is not something that is “given” to us through decrees and statutes, constitutions and legislation. As any lawyer knows, and as regular people with commonsense readily see, it’s easy to find loopholes, twist words, creatively “interpret.” And anything “given” can be taken away.
The artwork, Spirit of the Canyon, is an expression of freedom, the kind that starts within us, because that is where, initially, freedom begins. And in some times, and some places, when outward expression is severely circumscribed, freedom is limited to our thoughts and hearts, our beliefs and convictions, our very inner being whom we share with few, or any, others.
It is a good thing that our private thoughts are private, our prayers, if we say them, secure with God who keeps our words as close to His heart as we keep them to ours. From there, we seek out other humans who are “safe,” people with whom we can share and communicate without being condemned. (Face to face, personal interaction is an important part of this process.)
Freedom begins with thinking, with silence, with contemplation, with getting away from noise and chatter and propaganda that relentlessly assault our spirits and try to replace our own convictions with the teachings of others.
Freedom begins with thinking.
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