Saturday, October 2, 2010

Let Freedom Ring

No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself.

Friedrich Nietzsche
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Many people have paid a hefty price for that privilege. Most of us are still paying.

There have been amazing stories of skilled and enterprising slaves who were blessed with an opportunity to make enough to buy their own freedom, in a real sense to buy themselves. Others, not given the skills or opportunities, have paid the dangerous price of escape, often without success.

Feeling free is not the same thing as freedom. A false sense of security is more dangerous than insecurity. Back in the 40's and 50's, when I was growing up, a major ethic, in that post depression era, was to have a job. If you had a job you were secure. It was expected that you would stay at that job, working for that company the rest of your life until yu retired and it was assumed that your job was secure. There was a lifetime commitment between the employer and the employee. With the rise of organized labor a man's salary, security and working conditions improved to the point where he could think about settling down to raise a family and maybe even owning a home.

It all seemed like the American dream working itself out as the philosophers of 20th Century ideas had envisioned it. America was, after all, the land of the free. But the fact was freedom under those conditions was not attainable. An employer owned your job and therefore he owned a major part of your life. It was a false sense of security which seemed better than the desperate insecurity that had beleaguered the early 20th Century.

The 60's came and things began to unravel. Employers started replacing workers and workers started changing jobs. The work place was no longer the arena of freedom. Also, along came the skyrocketing cost of things like health care which meant that the simple job a man had was no long capable of taking care of the family he had begun. The husband's salary was not enough so the wife had to go to work also meaning that holding the family together became an improvised affair. As the expenses and responsibilities piled up something was slowly disappearing from the mental environment. It was the sense of freedom. We were tied down to jobs, debts, family obligations and physical limitations.

We go looking for things to give us a ssense of freedom. Vacations are a usual choice. Depending on a man's income he could take the family skiing in the Alps, or to a cottege on the beach or he could sit around in the living room, spending time with the kids, watching TV, resting and playing games. But wherever he went the vacation ended and he went back to the servitude of the job he never left.

He could be inventive, enterprising and manipulative, and rise in the ranks of wage earners, but whatever his specialty, profession or career he was still tethered to it.

Then comes retirement when he thinks at last he'll be free. But what he finds is a whole new set of responsibilities and a life of commitments, because he is used to it.
At some point, after all the slavery he's been through or put himself through he may realize that freedom is something that exists only in his thoughts. He's paid a heavy price for that realization, but at last he can begin to do the amazing thing of taking possession of himself. He's had the right all along to claim ownership. It doesn't matter who he works for or what he does, how big his family is or where he lives, who his friends and neighbors are or how much money he has. None of those things define him. He is a single entity, a unique idea in the vast universe of existence with total authority for being there. It took a long time, many struggles and a hefty price to find out that he has always been free.

DB
Vagabond Journeys
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Good luck
DB

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8 comments:

SALAMET said...

A well summarised post. My idea of freedom is to eventually becoming my own boss and not reporting to somebody else. But how will that work if all the people I get to employ finds their freedom. This will result in me loosing my freedom.

mrs. miss alaineus said...

i think the truest form of freedom is to reject all that and still be able to be an american. that guy with the grocery cart who does't beg, who follows his own drummer and answers to his own master, he's really free to me.

xxalainaxx

pacifica62 said...

Great food for thought and well said. I am approaching retirement myself, possibly next year, but I do not feel much of a sense of impending "freedom". But you are right, we have always been "free" but weighted down so much with duties, obligations and responsibilities that we have taken upon ourselves that we no longer realize or sense being "free". It is like a pall of hopelessness prevails instead. I hope that you have a follow up to this post db. I need to hear more about taking possession of oneself. You seem to have figured this one out so I want to hear about it.

Rose said...

Wonderful post!

Well said Darling.........I too agree with Mrs. Alaineus....I would love to stop seeing the beggers and freeloaders.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

I was with you up to the 60's, but I think that was a unique time. It was easy to make a living wage, but there was a lot of inequality. As we won freedoms for many americans, we suffered the rise of expectations and the "keep up with the Jone's" mentality. Living within ones means, and looking to the future, it is still doable. Alas, many do not, and it is then as you say.

salemslot9 said...

growning up, we used to
rent a cabin at a place called
The Sandpiper in Oscoda, MI
on Lake Huron
for a week every summer
nothing fancy
but, it meant alot

FrankandMary said...

I try to work toward my freedoms. I do believe it is work, not a no obligation gift. ~Mary

Big Mark 243 said...

Freedom is a state of mind, a state of being. That it costs is a matter of course, as life is about the constant ebb and flow of things and the cost of freedom is relative to how 'free' you feel you are.

As the saying goes... things that are free are worth exactly that. Alaina my be on to something in her comment, but there is a cost to that lifechoice as well. It must be paid and that is that with that.