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What Freedom Means To Me

To begin with, I would like to mention a couple of characteristics of freedom that I shall discuss. Firstly, the meaning of the word ‘freedom’ is of diversity. The type of freedom I would like to investigate is individual freedom. That is, to make your own decisions without being exploited, harrassed, forced or influenced and fully by your pure and intact mind, which constitutes your free will, your knowledge, both recent and retrospective, and your tranquil consciousness. Those decisions can comprise almost everything and can only be made without violating others’ rights. The three properties of mind mentioned above are substantially of importance as they reinforce your accountability on decisions you make. Laws and punishing norms often assume that choices are made absolutely freely and that you are always responsible for your actions, unless you are somewhat or completely disabled in some way. Not including the offences of complexity, I also would like to add that, with regard to the offender, not having known that a specific act regarded ‘evil’ should not be practiced cannot be taken an excuse since most of the time people know that the offence they committed was fundamentally ‘bad,’ a doctrine known as ‘malum in se,’ literally meaning ‘wrong because evil.’ I will not discuss whether commiting a crime or a breach of a taboo should unconditionally result in conviction, or of all our actions, which ones could be done only with free will or partly unintentionally. My point here is that we do not always make decisions utterly without constraint.

Now, I would like to elaborate on what role our ‘free’ will plays. The question of free will is a tough and long-standing one. Some of my counterparts would believe that none of our actions’ consequences could signify our role in a circumstance and that we had and never have the ability to change what has and will have happened. I contemplated on this problem on my own, and until now I have not come to a conclusion where I cannot completely concur with the idea. I genuinely think that there are certain things we cannot control, such as falling asleep when exhausted, but most of the time, we are making decisions. What I have believed so far was that the idea that we can make decisions without restrictions and we are thus free was faulty. I have been able to sense that ‘somethings’ in ourselves are profoundly influencing the decision; thus, calling ourselves completely ‘free’ on deciding, say, to choose a colour for the car we will buy was unquestionably foolish. However, I was completely aware that we cannot be ‘free’ unless we are not forcibly, authoritatively, oppressively or by suppression, chained. What I realized is we can only be responsible, thus having a free will, if we are away from our psychologic chains, and are in a ‘free state.’ This state emerges from the presence of three properties of mind. In conclusion, not being concerned if our decisions are right or wrong; biased or unbiased, while most of the time they are wrong or to some extent biased as we grow our defects in time due to what we experience, we can be ‘free’ and thus have a free will, if and only if we are in ‘free state.’

What would ‘free state’ and freedom bring about then? Why is freedom is so essential? Having seen that freedom only emerges from ‘free state,’ I will list some of the opportunities when free choices can be made. Firstly, if you know, or to some degree are able to comprehend what you need or desire, there is no one that could opt better than you. This brings us to the question of ignorance. In itself, it is pretty explanatory; however, it is of significance in that in some situations, we may not be able to perceive an issue in the way we should, and could make wrong choices by ourselves. Ways out for this sometimes require expertise, or a friendly advice. In these situations, although we are the ones who make the ultimate decision, we are under the influence of some external party. However, we still get to be held accountable for our final decision because the help we received should indeed be with its explanation made by your advisor. Secondly, I would like to mention briefly about psychological effects of unfreedom. It often could be seen that people with a good mental health experience freedom of clothing, accomodation and perhaps more generally a lifestyle. Conversely, I personally observed and have been told that suppression of expression of thought, manipulative and oppressive parenting, and peer pressure have had profound effects on developing severe mental disorder. These illnesses are frequently seen on women to which there are children bound, or through which the house is taken care of. What I am arguing here is deeply connected to freedom and respectfulness to people’s early needs. Those whose needs have not been met by their parents are clearly about to have some difficulty of choosing, but nonetheless and unsurprisingly, they are, most of the time, held responsible for their actions; thus, are believed to have ‘free’ will. While chains mentioned not only restricts one from making their own rightful (or at least ‘free’) decisions, they also inhibit and sometimes diminish their creativity. This can be seen in children as well. In their early times, children tend to be more creative given that they have no knowledge about their surroundings whatsoever. They analyze what they see, sense and touch, and unintentionally produce unique pieces of reality. Without constraints and common sense, they are the gods of liberty. Provided that they are given freedom of motion and of expression of desires, they grow up being more creative and productive. On the other hand, people who had been oppressed in childhood could easily have tough time at school, at work or more generally in life. They may struggle learning new concepts, applying those onto the questions on exams, keeping up with their colleagues, or indulging their partners.

Hence, my readers, I would like to come to a conclusion. Appearing to be sure of my success in elaborating my views on freedom, I want to emphasise that the ‘free state’ is indispensable for freedom, that experiences, a posteriori, do and sometimes should play an essential role, although they often result in unpleasant outcomes, that experiencing freedom as a child is important as what we are is what we lived as a child and helps maintain creativity.

I will surely publish another essay on the consequences of being deprived of freedom in both childhood and adulthood in Muslim families.