There’s a thought that recently came to me regarding the concept of freedom, what it means to be free, and then mixing it all together into an interesting stew of freedom with ingredients from several philosophical systems and experiences within my life. This is largely a continuation of my work, the deification problem, or largely how that manifests in daily living and all that cool jazz.
So what does it mean to be free, exactly? Let’s explore that a little before moving into the position that I take on it.
I’ve heard that freedom is in financial independence. I disagree with this one, not because financial freedom isn’t good, but because finance still depends on a societal structure at large. You, ultimately, still depend on the system to aid you in functioning as a human being. Is that a bad thing? No not at all, as for the most part currency gives you the means to go and do the things you like. But I think a dependency on money is restricting in some sense. You still kneel at the prospect of earning the dollarydoos.
Next is freedom in the form of rights. This is valid and very important to have within a society – if you can’t do what you want freely, then you get the sick jail times and then you get the sick prison bro shank times too. That’s not..quite free, as essentially someone denies your ability to act how you want based on a ruleset they have given you. And no, this doesn’t mean “we should let people murder each other”, this argument is asinine beyond belief and I’m tired of explaining it. Murdering others restricts their freedom to act, which in turn would happen to you as well if someone was attempting to stabbity stab you in the groin. Force cannot be a form of freedom regardless of your freedom to apply force – it restricts one from acting how they want to. This is not hard to wrap your brain around!
So, with some of these concepts established (and there are so many more within the philosophical sphere of manlets and pocket princes), what dost Frogman thinketh?
Well, I just point towards Buddhist monks, and Diogenes of Ancient Greece.
Those guys? Yeah, they’re free men. Completely free.
Because they can say “nah, I’m good”.
..that’s it. That’s freedom. You’re probably wondering why, so let’s explain.
Buddhist monks hold certain beliefs that I largely don’t agree with. To explain it, they believe in the concept of birth, death and rebirth, and attachment to things leads to suffering. To absolve oneself of suffering, one must remove all desire in order to reach enlightenment and break the cycle of rebirth. Now one thing that ought to be made clear – the Buddhist idea of cessation of desire is NOT to have NO desire. That is impossible. The solution is to understand what one needs to do and what one wants to do. This is super important because god damn do people get this wrong. If a Buddhist desires to take a dump, he’s going to the toilet to take a dump. Thus, cessation of desire. He needs to do it but he’s not attached to any of it. If he had no desire, he’d shit his pants. That’s blasphemy on many levels, particularly to my senses.
Anyway, Buddhist monks essentially just sit around, meditate, do some chores and eat once a day. That’s about it. They also enjoy doing it, and while some of them eventually leave and do other things, a lot of them stay and when asked if they want anything, they’re like “nah I’m good bro”.
That’s freedom. They chose to be the way they are, and they have the complete freedom to walk away from anything. Nothing actually holds them down barring their own free will.
As for Diogenes, this absolute mad lad lived in a wine barrel and made fun of other philosophers. When Alexander the Great asked him what he wanted after being impressed by his absolute lack of giving a sliver of a shit, he told the conqueror of worlds to, I quote, “get out of my sunlight”.
That’s freedom. When faced with basically the most well known conquering bad ass around, you tell him to essentially go get fucked, because you want a tan.
So, let’s put this all together.
You Are Free When You Can Say No
That simplifies it a lot, but if you cannot say no to something, or you cannot let go of things, you are not free. This applies to everything in life.
Do you think about what people say about you? You’re not free. You’re enslaved to the thoughts of others. You worry about what others think about your ice cream.
Do you worry about quitting a shit job? You’re not free. You’re enslaved to the money you gain from the job. You’re concerned about making ends meet.
Do you worry about never finding someone again if you break up? Then you’re not free. You’re enslaved to the validation and attachment to the partner, regardless of what you feel or think of them. For the guys, let me be brutally blunt: she isn’t the one, the one doesn’t exist, and her vagina is not worth your freedom.
Your ability to be free is entirely within your hands, and entirely within your ability to say “no” and walk away.
This is, of course, very challenging to do for many people. But as I’ve mentioned many times before, you’ve only got one life and you’ll never be this young again. As long as you refuse to listen to what you actually want and deify whatever it is you’re attached to, you are the slave to another persons mind. Independence is the capability to drop the shackles and walk alone, even if the pathway is treacherous and painful.
All this comes full circle to what I wrote about in the deification problem. It does not matter what you believe, what you think, what you know, what you love – if you deify it, you are a slave. If you see it for what it is and are always ready to walk away, believing only in yourself and your life, then you are truly free. This is why that nihilism vaccine is so vital to your freedom – because you recognize and really let it sink in that you’re going to die.
I’ll write that again for ominous effect: you’re going to die and you’re not getting younger. None of the things you do when you die will matter, because you are dead.
Understand that. And then understand that you can make your own meaning in life only when you’re alive. What happens after is of no consequence to you, because you’ll be dead.
So, for fucks sake, while you’re alive, say no to tyrants who try to control you. Walk away from a shit relationship. Quit your crappy job. Don’t depend on money to keep you functioning.
Freedom is in the ability to drop it all when necessary, and carve a new path.
Deify nothing. Recognize only in the time you have and the near limitless capability that your mind has. Use it, and create a light within darkness that you can be proud of.
And small note to the people still living with their parents: no you can’t say “no” to your parents requests most of the time – you are under their house, so it’s their rules. You’re enslaved to it by default. Move the hell out and stop bullshitting yourself about being a “rebel” or whatever.
That’s all. Political freedom, freedom of speech, freedom to act – all these things matter within our societal constructs, but the root of all of them is the freedom to think and walk away. If you can truly shrug and let it all go, then indeed, you are Atlas, and no world, idea or rule can ever hold you down.
Be Atlas. Build some sick traps.
Peace out. *dab*