There are fundamentally two types of people in the world: those who accept all that they are told to do — from the time that they are born until they die — and those who question everything about the nature of life and love and God. The one will lead to a quiet and rather simplistic life that seems, at least on the surface, to be peaceful and conciliatory with nature and society itself. The other will be a struggle and a fight to find a reason or truth behind a position or an action.
I, for one, will go with the latter camp. I have never been able to just accept what I am told to do. I must always question why? This certainly is true when it comes to the concept of freedom. (1) What does it mean to be free? Freedom, of course, is not free. Then, what is it? It can only be a revelation that is arrived at after a profound period of reflection. There are, unfortunately, many misrepresentations of freedom. We often hear, for example, of people claiming to be free so that their actions have no associations with others. This is, absolutely, not true. I do not exist in a vacuum. I am a citizen of a society — or a family, at its most humble. I cannot simply act arbitrarily because I am intrinsically linked to everyone.
In this line of thinking, if I live in a democratic nation and have voted, I am morally obligated to accept the decision of the majority. I may complain and labor to hear my own voice, but this stance is what most people want. If I fail to agree, I should feel at liberty to exit the society — to move to another country or to isolate myself. I cannot capriciously decide to selectively accept its services and decline other obligations.
In this way, most modern societies, have a public health care system. I am compelled to protect my body and mind because of the cost of preventive medicine and hospitalization. (2) When I visit a medical institution, however, it is full of overweight people, when I walk on the street, I pass many smokers, and the bars are full. Alcohol, the most pernicious drug of all, continues to be readily available.
I may sound morally extreme, but I am not. It is claimed that what I do with my physical entity is my own business. This individualism has been pushed too far and will have long-term consequences — especially as the society ages. A plethora of old, sick people will only be an added burden to the young.
Therefore, it must be my obligatory ethical stance to strive for excellence in all my actions — those physical, psychological, and spiritual in nature. My right to question will, ultimately, lead me to this conclusion. The great librarian and educator Margaret A. Edwards (3) leaves us with a thought: Too many adults wish to “protect” teenagers when they should be stimulating them to read of life as it is lived.
A closing thought: Real freedom is the ability to think through a problem and arrive at a conclusion that is both ethically and physically beneficial to me and the society. This means realizing at an early age that I am a necessary being in God’s eyes and to find my mission to complete my path in life. A wasted and misspent life is, thus, the antithesis of a life lived freely.
To sum up: This week, we spoke about the individual right to question the values and rules of society.
To be noted: From Benjamin Disraeli (4) — Justice is truth in action.
Just for fun:
This week, on your grand walk, please reflect on what you think about. Are your thoughts freeing you to pursue your mission?
Every day look for something magical and beautiful.
Don’t be a wage slave – critical thinking is great!
Quote: I am a necessary and not a contingent being.