I am not free to jump from the balcony of my residence. If I jump, I may break one of my limbs. Because I stay on the first floor.
Freedom does not mean permission to do whatever I like. “We are free only where we know,” said Will Durant [The Story of Philosophy]. Knowledge gives freedom. Knowledge is freedom.
Most of us make the mistake of thinking that doing what we like to do is freedom. What we like is determined by our knowledge or awareness or consciousness level. The rapist in Delhi whose number keeps rising by the day (in spite of the equally rising number of religious leaders) thinks he is free to rape a child. His knowledge or consciousness level is too low to understand why his act is based on an incomplete understanding of himself.
Passion is good and necessary for any human being. Anyone without passion will be as good as a rock in the denuded Himalayas.
Freedom is not freedom passions.
Freedom is freedom from uncoordinated or un-understood passion. Freedom is the freedom from the thief within me. From the politician in me. From the assaulter in me. From the rapist in me...
Freedom does not make me a superman who is free from social restraints. Freedom does not make me a Spiderman of filmy heroism, either. Freedom does not make me a godman or godwoman who will condemn other people as irredeemable... or see oneself as capable of working miracles in any institution.
Freedom is understanding myself properly and working toward my own self-fulfilment. Unfolding my individuality. Achieving my potential to its fullest. Becoming what I can. What I really wish. What my heart really wishes. And helping other individuals unfold their potential in the process.
In the words of Will Durant, “To be great is not to be placed above humanity, ruling others; but to stand above the partialities and futilities of uninformed desire, and to rule one’s self.”
To rule one’s self.
To rule one’s self. That’s the real freedom. That’s the real power.
PS. This post is dedicated to a person whose speech I listened to this morning. Yet another speech ad nauseam.