Freedom. What is it!? Do we even have it? Whilst we can ponder these questions this week, we also grapple with the question of whether we have too much of it. We live in a world surrounded by technology and cameras and ubiquitous scanning of all information that we exchange. Does that impede our freedom? Does it even matter? We in the west have a right of free speech. Is that enough, and can you really call it free speech when the media misreport and distort the truth to suit their agendas? Who cares what someone is saying if no one gets to hear the real message! This question has many layers and ways to look at it, and it has been eye opening as always to read what our truly amazing passengers have to say.
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Good morning beautiful humans! This is the first time that I'm answering the #ecotrain QOTW, and of course I'm doing so after @eco-alex already put out the wrap-up post. I've basically been non-digital since last Tuesday, and when I got on today, the question just screamed for me to answer it! "Bearing in mind the health and state of our western culture and society today, do you think we have too much freedom?"
One of my favorite quotes about freedom comes from Ben Franklin. He may or may not have meant it as it has been used. It would appear he was actually talking about taxes, but we will just roll with it. Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. Now, I have used this quote a lot about social issues, immigration, etc., but do I wholeheartedly endorse it? Hmmm. I'm not so sure. Should corporations be free to pollute? Am I willing to trade others’ liberty for clean water? I kinda am. I'm slowly shifting to Anarchy, but there are places where it's hard. True and complete freedom requires we trust each other. I trust some but not everyone. Of course we could perhaps put clean air and water under the “Your rights end where my nose begins.”
This ecotrain QOTW asked us, "Bearing in mind the health of our western culture, do you think We have too much freedom?" This has me thinking... I've come to the conclusion that NO we don't have enough freedom and here's why: I'm writing from a place of privilege in an able white cis hetero male body from a middle class family. I was raised in a well vegetated urban environment in Canada and currently live the MidWest USA. I fit into the culture I was raised in (on the surface) and have more doors open than any other demographic. I was born into incredible privilege and opportunity. I was blessed to grow up with access to health care (thank you Canadian taxpayers), public education in a second language, abundant food, exposure to art and culture and opportunities for extra curricular activity like scouts and sports. I had the freedom to feel taken care of and provided for. It may appear that I have all the freedom in the world, and in some ways this is true. BUT... underpinning all of this is a hidden pervasive paradigm that is shaping my reality.
Ah @ecotrain, another ball of tangled twine for us to unravel! I love these questions of the week, and if you are reading this, please know that anyone can answer them. This week's question is a super curly one. I feel that the more I unravel it, the more I get tangled, and there's a lot more I want to say than I have time for right now.
image.png image.png To answer this question, it's really easy to say that we DO have too much freedom. We seem to love travelling the world, to vote freely, to say what we feel, or to our life partners freely, to choose a job anywhere in the world, to be friends with who they like. And this has been the story of my life, to a large extent. So yay, western culture and all it's freedoms.
It is a good thing that the title of this post has the word western in it since freedom around the world is still greatly diminished in some countries. In what we call the western modern world, freedom is a term that often gets tossed around in hope we will somehow get what we think we deserve; our rights. Right for this and right for that. We are all very loud when it comes to wanting but we tend to stay silent when the giving part demands its place in the spotlight. There is no receiving without giving and there is no freedom without responsibility.
There is no such thing as absolute freedom. Where your freedom begins, mine stops. It has to be like that in order for us to function like a society. We can talk about how a person wants to kill someone but is not free to do so because it will impact a freedom of another but there are less drastic examples to consider too. No matter how much we enjoy fast driving, we will slow down near schools and no matter how much that dress looks good, we will not steal it. Those are freedom restrictions that are necessary. Do not harm another is, in my opinion, a completely reasonable restriction to our freedom.
I'm normally an optimistic person. I like to see the good in people and celebrate all that is good on this planet. However I am also a realist and my answer to this week's question of the week is my truth. How I also see the world. For when we take off the rose tinted glasses it will better equip us to learn, understand and help to make this world a better place for all.
We are led to believe in the western world we are free. That we can exercise our rights, say what we like, go where we want and generally have what we want. We are taught this by being shown what others don't have, which is not freedom. We are taught this by social conditioning in the form of TV, news, pop culture and pop music. It's no different than a bully. It's emotional abuse at its worse. We are conditioned to make us 'fit' in with society. We can't even travel to another country without being scanned, questioned and searched. Our basic human rights violated in the name of freedom.
There is No Freedom Without Knowledge.
From Knowledge Comes Understanding and Power.
One of the dictionary definitions of freedom is
"The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants".
Another definition is
Now let's answer this question, it is not clear cut! When I look around in the West I see two things happening, in particular in the UK, USA and many parts of Europe. We live as free as a bird in many ways. It is sometimes even shocking to see the extent to which people are left to their own devices so long as they obey the law and pay their taxes. We are not guided as to what to do with our time or our lives, how to eat well. Most people are free to choose whatever they want to do and think.. at least based on the knowledge and options they have been given. But, is it fair to say that the first definition is pretty well met? Are most people free to act, speak or think as one wants (within reason)? This question ties in with the second definition... and now things start to get a little more shaky!
"The state of not being imprisoned or enslaved."
The Health and State of Our Western Culture. So what is the Health and State of Western Culture, of Mainstream Society. From my recent stay in Ireland I can say that it is a diet of Media fed lies and Pharmaceutical poisoning. I spend my time between my parents and my sisters and as a result I got a glimpse into what most of the people are exposed to and also what they willingly put into their bodies. I saw some of the mind numbing programs that they watch on television and the constant bombardment of advertising that is aimed at them day after day. All of this is the norm, all of this they think nothing of it. This is their reality and going hand in hand with this is the fact that there are now record high numbers of people attending hospitals, taking pharmaceuticals day in and day out. They have become hugely dependent on the medication that they take and yet when you ask them about the side effects they seem to have no clue. Just total trust in their doctors, in the medical system.
There are some really great minds on board the @ecotrain and our driver @eco-alex makes sure to come up with questions and to make us come up with questions that really make us think and unleash our thirst to find out the deeper truth behind things. This time the qotw is exactly on that line too and the @ecotrain passengers are asked to give their views on:
Bearing in mind the health and state of our western culture and society today, do you think we have too much freedom?
Here is my take on it.
Bearing in mind the health and state of our western culture and society today, do you think we have too much freedom? In my mind's eye, I have been staring at this question ever since Ale x posed it as a topic. I've seen it as a sincere question (which I'm sure it is), but I've also quite easily seen it as a form of light sarcasm for the sake of discussion and expansion, which of course has great value. In the end, I've come to my own personal conclusion that it doesn't matter. Any society on this planet, created by those who draw the phony lines on maps to divide and conquer us, cannot possibly have too much freedom. Period. While watching scenes on our stupid-boxes of those less privileged elsewhere in the world, we're reminded of the wonderful freedoms we enjoy in our wonderful 'free' countries of the western world.
The Western world is meant to be based on the principles of freedom in some ways that has to been to our detriment and yes in some ways it is too much freedom, but at the same time it also clouds our minds as to what true freedom is.
Freedom, so what is it?
Is it the opportunities that we have? In the Western world we are spoilt for choice on this, yet many complain there are none.
Yet, the internet can make it it a level playing field whatever part of the world you are from, making this freedom more widespread than just the West, but internet access all around the world is still not where it should be, but hopefully one day Elon Musk’s internet satellites will fix that problem.
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