Freedom vs. Society

I had an interesting conversation with an old friend the other night. We started talking about where life has taken us, asking about family and if we’d been in contact with other’s we’d both known from school; the run of the mill catching up talk. But we broke out of that fairly soon after we both realized we were on the same path, so to speak, to change our world somehow.

A lot of information was shared; I mentioned AnonGen to him, and our attempt to bring together people and their ideas to help make a positive impact in the life of someone else. He explained how he’s working for a non-profit that helps homeless families get back on their feet. Throughout the night we kept coming back to this one common theme; that somehow, freedom has become so vastly underrated that we don’t even consider how it might be affected when making major – life-altering – decisions anymore.

Then we started asking a deeper question; what is freedom? How can we define something so inundated with ideology and personal opinion?  I think both of us were a bit bewildered that something as simple as the idea of freedom is – almost – impossible to define for another. In the end, we sort-of just agreed that freedom is simply living the way we want, regardless of societal standards (It’s actually more complicated than that because of those inundations attributed to freedom through individual points of view).

-So how does one attain freedom when society has a standard we’re meant to live up to?

And that’s the real question, isn’t it. Because liberty and freedom mean something so different to each of us– due to individual interpretation – attempting to create a society based on freedom is, in all honesty, an oxymoron. In order for one person, or one group of people who agree on a certain set of rules, to live freely, others must be oppressed. The needs of the entire society are subjected to the will of those who’ve organized first, or best.

Democracy attempts to solve this dilemma; and does a fair job when citizens are engaged in the process. Still though, at the end of the election, we’re faced with a new set of rules to follow so that another group’s idea of freedom can take form. Anarchism is a tough pill to swallow for many, as well; possibly because of the confusion between Anarchism and Anarchy. But, even those who do understand the difference have a hard time trying to explain how anarchism is going to make everyone experience freedom. The democratic groups that organize are perfectly content with taking on the leadership roles in society, and a society built on anarchism doesn’t allow for organization to exist for the sole purpose of instituting authority over others. So that means anarchism actually takes away freedom from some, in the end. As it turns out, anarchism is not a perfect model for freedom after all.

I think this is going to be my focus for a while on AnonGen. I want to find out how we can all have our own freedom, and how we can bring the idea of liberty back to being a central component of our thought process. Truth be told, I have no idea where to start this search – but I’m going to keep looking until I find some solid information; because I know it has to exist.

I’ll get back to this idea in future posts. In the mean-time, I would love to hear other people’s thoughts on the subject. Perhaps someone out there has devoted themselves to solving the conflicting ideas of personal freedom and societal rules, and I just haven’t seen it yet. Perhaps you will be the one to share that with me, and perhaps we can expand the idea into something truly revolutionary.

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