Blossoming of Freedom
Freedom is a choice. And a tough one at that. But there are tools that can help us become more free and less enslaved.
This article will take a look at some of those tools of freedom. It is structured in three parts, interaction with nature, interaction with others and interaction with ourselves, let's step right in:
1. Interaction with nature:
In order to be free we need basic things like food, water, medicine, energy and shelter, all of which are the result of interactions with nature, if we choose to secure them directly.
The form of this interaction, however, determines the amount of freedom we enjoy.
When we buy the food we eat, we are not completely free, we are dependent on those who supply the food to us. And yet, as long as the food we need is available and we have the means to buy it, there is no significant reduction in our freedom. But as soon as the source of our food runs dry, it becomes painfully obvious that we are dependent on others.
Therefore the ideal form of interaction with nature in order to be as free as possible, would be to own and maintain a food garden, a well, and a house and to keep some sort of equilibrium with the surroundings. If this is not possible, we can at least exercise control over what we eat and where we get it from.
Many people who go this way choose permaculture and natural building as a method:
The main obstacle here for many people is the financial barrier that needs to be overcome in order to own property. Once we own property, a well can be dug, food can be planted and a house can be built.
Medicine can be grown. Nature provides many remedies if only we know how to get them and how to use them. It would be ideal to have a home pharmacy that gives us the means to cope with whatever comes along and provides the certainty that we can deal with it.
Energy can be harvested in a decentralized fashion by using the sun, the wind and water as a source. Solar panels for example are getting cheaper all the time and are already in reach of many.
2. Interaction with others:
If the barrier to own property is too high, water, food, medicine and shelter can not only be had through interaction with nature, but also through interaction with others. This can be done through barter or trade. If it is done through barter, there is no loss in freedom, if we use money, there usually is.
We can buy everything we need, provided we have the financial means. But again, our freedom depends on what kind of money we use. Using the central bank created fiat currencies takes away our financial sovereignty in at least two ways:
First of all, using central bank money leaves us open to a hidden form of theft called inflation.
Whenever the central bank creates more money and thus inflates the money supply, what really happens is that the money in our pocket is losing value. The wealth has been transferred from our wallet to the central bank and those it chooses to give it to for low or no interest.
Secondly, as we have seen in past bail-outs, bail-in and bank runs, the government and the bank have the last word on our wealth in the fractional reserve financial system. If they don't agree, we can't access and use our funds. In other words: we depend on them in order to use our wealth.
Luckily there is a solution to the old problem of centralized money:
Cryptocurrencies and precious metals.
Cryptocurrencies and precious metals give us sovereignty over our funds but come with their own challenges:
Right now only few people have completely replaced the centralized currencies of the world with decentralized solutions like crypto currencies and/or gold and silver. One of the reasons is volatility, another one is availability. The main problem for paying with precious metals is that they are difficult to transfer. But these challenges can be overcome and will decrease with more people starting to use decentralized systems.
Besides money communication is an important form of interaction with others.
And again we are faced by a choice: We can either go the easy way and use proprietary software and technology controlled by others, or we can choose free software that respects our freedom and privacy. https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.en.html
As of now, this is just as much of a challenge as using exclusively decentralized financial systems. If we choose to go the way of freedom, there are not many choices left when it comes to hardware. Giving up Windows and iOS is a great step and an easy one at that, as there are literally thousands of different Linux distributions that leave nothing to be desired, (https://distrowatch.com) but if we want to run a machine using only free software AND hardware, things get a bit complicated.
There are only a few computers available that are completely free in that regard.
Here is a list from the free software foundation:
3. Interaction with ourself:
As important as it is to be independent when it comes to the basic necessities of life, if we don't know who we are, we can't really be free.
The question who we are is not as simple as it may seem. Usually we don't even think much about it or just consider it obvious who we are. But it is not obvious at all. Most people are under the impression that they are a combination of body and mind and yet, there is a method that has been around for thousands of years that repeatedly leads to the same insight:
We are not the body and we are not the mind.
This method is meditation.
Meditation is the investigation of the mind. It works through a trick that makes us more aware of what the mind is actually saying and doing. The trick is this: When we focus on one thing only, for example our breathing, the mind will always come and try to take us away to the land of illusion (future and past, speculation and memory). It takes us away onto a journey until we become aware that we lost our object of focus.
The moment we realize that we are no longer observing the object of our focus (breathing), we become aware of where the mind took us. We become aware of what we have been thinking, what the mind has been telling us. The more we become aware what the mind is telling us, the more we realize that we are not the mind, we are not the voice thinking inside our heads.
This is a crucial point because once we realize that we are not the mind, we can actually find out who we are, how we are and what we want to be. As long as we are under the impression that we are the voice inside our head, we are slaves to a master who is cunning, mean and hiding from our scrutiny.
Until we investigate and observe the mind we are living inside off it without even knowing, just as a fish is surrounded by water without ever realizing. If a fish never leaves the water, it will never be aware of the existence of water at all. It is the same with the mind. If we never poke our head outside of it (by observing it), we can never realize what it is and therefore keep believing that we are the mind.
We are not the mind. Just like the fish is not the water it swims in. But as long as we are not investigating the mind, we are trapped inside of it just like the fish in the water – without even knowing. And as Goethe said, 'None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free .'
Once we realize that we are not the mind, we can find out who we are and actually reduce the power the mind has over us.
Most of the time freedom is not given or taken, most of the time freedom is a choice. We can choose freedom in our interaction with nature, with others and with ourselves. We can also choose convenience, but usually it comes with strings attached. As Seneca the Younger said:
'For men in a state of freedom had thatch for their shelter, while slavery dwells beneath marble and gold.'