We, the Truly Free People

 “You will not die,” said the serpent to our mother, “God knows that when you eat of the fruit of the tree, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like Him, knowing good and evil”. But when she ate, her eyes were opened, and it’s borne in upon her that she was naked. So she hid herself for she was ashamed.

GAO XINGJIAN, the 1997 Nobel Prize winner in literature, says in his playwright Nocturnal Wanderer: “walk where your heart leads you, there are no restrictions and no burdens”. In other words, the author is urging us to fly like a butterfly where the air is our only barrier. He is fostering freedom. Oh freedom— being able to do or not to do things in accordance with our own will. Being able to live in a land where we act as we see fit. That is most people’s concept of freedom nowadays. Is this true freedom? Should not our choice lead us to better condition? Should we not be better off after we freely make a choice? I would like to think of freedom as having the power to make one better off right away in the long run. At least that’s how I conceive choice. I doubt I make foes through my conception.

Freedom produces good results only when it acts within the boundaries set for it. True freedom, from my conception, is not the absence of restraint. True freedom is achievable only when we move within the limits set for us. For example, people are free to use their cars on the roads only if they obey the Highway Code; if not, soon a hospital’s room would be the drivers’ bedroom. If a baker refuses to follow the laws of bakery, he would never succeed a making the delicious cake he saw in the book. If a student refuses to follow his/her professors’ direction, he/she goes without a diploma, and so without a decent job in today’s society.

True freedom occurs under application of the rules, not under breaking. Adam and eve were given the freedom to do whatever they wanted but one. Their failure to obey it results in our having to toil under frustration for our daily bread. A person’s mistakes to follow his boss’s rules cost him/her his job.

So there may be restrictions and even burdens, but their fruits do not lead us to a hospital bed, without a job, a delicious chocolate cake, or a diploma.

In conclusion, what is true about true freedom is always true about the inner life. We are not free disobeying the law and plan that God has in store for us. Disobeying the law of God only degenerates and makes us less human. We are fully human when living in communion with God. We are made us in a certain way; we are free only when acting the way God wants us to act; any other way results in harming ourselves. Freedom is the ability to always choose the good/right even when it seems to hurt prima facie.

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