[Back to Freedom]
"I want to be free!"
Of course you do. We desire freedom, especially when we feel it has been denied to us. We also desire autonomy and power. But not all the things we desire are good for us, and we frequently choose to do things we regret afterwards. Desire, it turns out, is not a good guide for living.
The truth is, while we desire freedom, most of the things which matter to us are the result of limiting our freedom. We desire freedom, but we desire other things more. And we find that choosing to limit our freedom in some ways actually expands our freedom in other, more important, ways. Also, even when choosing to limit our freedom in some way does not expand our freedom in other ways, it can make life richer, deeper and more meaningful.
So, for example: a job will limit your freedom: the employer tells you when you have to work, where you have to be, what you have to do, and how you have to do it. There may be some flexibility in some of the details, but basically you are being paid to limit your freedom and do what you are told. At least, a job will limit your freedom in certain ways, here and now. But a job will give you money, which extends your freedom in other ways, and a good job will develop your skills, extend your range of experience and open up many more possibilities and opportunities in the future.
Getting married is possibly the greatest restriction of your freedom of all: choosing one person and rejecting all others - even those you have not yet met - can seem absurd to some, but that commitment - that limitation of your freedom - can bring the greatest joy and the greatest rewards of your life. Similarly, children limit your freedom: they take your time and money and energy, they tie you down, but few people choose to live without them.
You could say that, as a human being, I am defined by the commitments I make, and by the freedoms I choose to reject. My identity as a human being is intimately connected with the choices I have made, and by the way I decide - or fail - to honour those choices.