Write a personal essay about your understanding of freedom and why you think it is important.
Freedom is such an important thing. The word itself has dictated our history. Again and again phrases featuring the word “freedom” have been coined and with them, charismatic individuals have brought nations to their knees. Indeed freedom is an important word, a word that has single handedly splattered the pages of history with the blood of millions. Yet I find it ironic that such an important, renowned and potentially infamous word is incredibly difficult to define.
The fact that freedom is so hard to define is what makes it so useful as a method of indoctrination. If you want soldiers to fight and die for you, all you need to tell them is that they are fighting for freedom. No more details are needed, for once you’ve mentioned freedom they will go to hell and back for you. Once they think they’re fighting for a better tomorrow they’re no longer people. Once they think that they are fighting for their loved ones they become weapons, living, breathing, relentless weapons. By this point, ironically, they sacrifice personal freedoms to fight for what they believe is freedom, but may well just be a dictators fancy. In my opinion this is why the expression, one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist, exists.
The concept of freedom is an effective means of control. Think of religion. World religions all offer freedom and salvation, but it comes with a price. In order to achieve the freedom religion offers, you must first impose restrictions on your personal freedoms. These restrictions aren’t necessarily a bad thing but they do prove that the concept of freedom is an effective system of control. They also suggest that perhaps human beings are not meant to have true freedom over their own lives.
True freedom cannot exist in our society, for it would be chaos. Could you imagine the world we would live in if any manner of criminal was free to perform any manner of crime they wished. No one would be safe, we’d live in constant terror. No, humanity as a whole cannot be granted true freedom because unfortuently we are like a disobedient dog. If we are not held on a leash we will get into all sorts of trouble both intentionally and unintentionally. True this may be a pessimistic view, but it is not one that is easily argued against.
But at the end of the day, what is freedom? Is it the ability to make your own choices or is it simply not having to face consequences. If there are no consequences then really and truly, there is no choice. But does that mean consequences are freedom? Does it mean that the only way freedom can exist is if we are being oppressed or punished? Once again it seems so ironic to me that the idea of freedom can only exist in the face of oppression.
Even as I come to the end of this essay I still have no idea what freedom actually is, perhaps no one knows. Is it oppression or is it choice, is it consequence or is it war, is it religion or is it peace? Nelson Mandela once said, “For to be free is not merely to cast of one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” I think this is the idea of freedom I like best, one where humanity treats one another with respect despite our minor differences. I think this is the definition of freedom I shall adopt. For to me freedom is what you make it to be, that is what makes it important.