General, Problem solving

Freedom is not a free concept

Ezinne Okuku Written by Ezinne Okuku · 3 min read >
Freedom

What is Freedom? Why is the concept of freedom complex? Are we truly free? In life, and at different stages or times; even while typing this, I wonder, “Do I really have a choice to post or not?” It all seems like freedom in boxes – when I escape or complete one, there! another awaits. There is always a demand for choice and actions shaped as freedom yet, there are set constraints and consequences for actions and inactions resulting from my choice. Oh, dear! it is such an unending maze. This is me most of the time, wheeew! Thanks to the LBS experience, I’m gaining some clarity and peace in the maze, and I will like to share with you my changing philosophy. Let’s ride.

The LBS effect

During the introductory (Brushup) month at LBS, we were given a poem titled ‘IF’ by Rudyard Kipling for an Ethics lecture on the Nature of Human freedom; constraints, and commitments. I must say, it is such an inspirational piece. I have made reference to this poem a few times since then for wisdom and guide on self-control. So far, it has given me answers/ advice on how to live a fulfilling life day by day; acknowledging the surrounding ups and down demands of life – societal vices, economic hard times, emotional downtime, and spiritual imbalance from varying lenses. It takes me through various ways in which I can rise above adversity, learn to trust and understand the values, reasons, and feelings of others, even when they do not agree with my perspectives. It further analyses the various possibilities available to me as a free being, and its resulting consequences.

In order to deal with all these demands and find balance, the poem speaks to the unity of man (Oneness of a man’s elements: Physical (Emotions) and Spiritual – not as disconnected or separate entities, although, not necessarily in agreement at all times but existing as a central system in a collaborative effort and unison). Personally,

“If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew”

‘IF’ by Rudyard Kipling

this shows the unity of man. Here, I see resilience as the power of the human spirit expressed in the physical nature/ body to strive and endure against all odds.

Daddy Said

At the age of 13, I remember asking my Dad questions about marriage, career, and his desires for me as his daughter – suggestively, his approval (as an African Parent) and success indicators to marriage, career, and life. Particularly, what resonated with me about his advice about life – “Always try; and, learn to start again, no matter the pain, shame, disappointments, or failure, and no matter how many times.” He would always end with “What’s the harm in trying anyway”. This poem reminds me of all our long discussions, his numerous life lessons, and guiding words of wisdom. Now I miss him so dearly, oh Dad! 😭❤️‍🩹 His perception, lifestyle, and counsel shaped my personality and response to life’s events. With this, I see humans as social beings interacting with each other on a daily basis and having a deep impact on each other’s life so, our decisions and actions affect others.

Our superpower

Following this concept, we have to exercise our superpower – cognitive ability, Intelligence, and freedom to make decisions/choices to navigate daily life purposefully. You will agree with me that between circumstances and actions, there is a free space for decision making, we become products of our choices, which could be either positive or negative. I have always considered freedom a scam because it has demands and more unknown/ uncertain mathematics – a price one must pay (This ranges from choices/ available possibilities, actions, commitment, decisions, and resulting consequences). Now, with this insight, I choose to see freedom as a resourceful tool of being a real author – the source of good things. Instead of seeing the limitations, constraints, and resulting consequences (especially negative); I choose to see the various possibilities – joy and responsibility for the success or result of my actions to improve my life and help others.

Lessons

Now, I understand humans as beings with unity of all aspects of our elements (spirituality and physical). Our intellect plays a major role to survey, understand possibilities and ways of reaching fulfillment as well as the accompanying consequences – these are all necessary attributes of freedom. This tells me that every decision or course of action taken is informed by some reasons and the actions taken attract some consequences. Therefore, as best as I can, I have to filter my options and make a decision with little room for regrets and hardness on myself, taking it one step/ choice at a time. I have also learned the concept of free choice and ultimately, the resulting consequences of intrinsic and extrinsic goods. From the poem ‘IF’, I can agree that disappointments and regrets are bad reminders of looking back. As constantly said by my Old Man aka Dad,

“It is better not to look back, if not careful, one may tend to dwell on the regrets and failed experiences/ disappointments, leaving negative and blurry spots/ shades in the now and future perspective”.

The message

So, here I am writing passionately to share with you my improving perspective on life and freedom through learning. I choose to share to inspire you to progressive learning and purpose definition; motivate and stimulate you to exploring the opportunities within and without. There’s no boundary, except the ones set by you so, break out and let the surprises motivate you. Also, while I walk through the walls of this maze – exploring, searching, and wondering, I invite you to stand, keep moving until we make a mark and master its turns. I hope you gain peace and purpose in freedom as simplified in the words of The Great Nelson Mandela

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

The Great Nelson Mandela

Until next time. Stay free and stay safe.

Article by Ezinne Okuku

Man’s Freedom

Chinyere Monye in General
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