Humans often confuse being free as the ability to do anything without constraint. But, is that true? We live in a society where we have morals to uphold, laws to abide by and, respect to give basically because we are social beings. We do not exist in isolation.
So, are we truly free?
Here are some factors that constrain our freedom:
When we have a decision to make, we often have options, and to pick an option, we need to weigh our alternatives to at least ensure we have the best possible outcome and therefore results in positive consequences.
Our experiences also constrain our freedom. Our minds have a way of reminding us of situations we have faced in the past when we find ourselves in similar situations. Hence our intellect automatically rules out the idea obviously because it is not something we would want to experience a second time. For example, you intended to help a person on the street, but the person eventually robbed you of your belongings. The moment we intend to render such help subsequently, our intellect immediately sends a trigger, then we pause for a moment and have a second thought about it.
This is a tricky one. Yes, having so many choices constrain our freedom. For example, you go to a fancy restaurant and the waiter presents the menu containing varieties of starters, main dishes and, desserts. We obviously cannot have a taste of all of it, hence we have to choose. Most of the time we end up choosing what we are already familiar with to ensure maximum satisfaction is achieved.
These then bring us to the two aspects of freedom; Freedom from and freedom for. Which should take precedence?
Freedom from concept focuses on constraints, without a clear plan on plausible alternatives that mitigates the effect of the constraint. Such as freedom from school discipline hence we drop out of school. So now you are free, what next? You need to have an alternative plan, perhaps learn a craft or go into entrepreneurship which is where the freedom for comes in.
The freedom for concept guides our thoughts towards a goal, hence we make conscious efforts to achieve that goal such as freedom for a better life. This needs to be a conscious effort because we might do things we do not enjoy doing for a while to achieve what we want. For example, going to school and writing exams. Most humans do not like exams, but it is a hurdle we might have to surmount to have a good life most especially those who have career goals of joining the workforce.
So ultimately, freedom from without freedom for destroys itself.
In conclusion, if we utilize our freedom in a bad way and as result poor consequences, effective freedom to make good choices in the future shrinks. However, the real benefit of freedom is to ability to reflect in hindsight about great decisions we have made in the past which has made us the real authors of our life.