Freedom is my number one value. I used to think I was free. I live in America and I remember singing as a kid the song by Lee Greenwood. In “God Bless the U.S.A” I would always have a deep emotional connection with the words “I’m proud to be an American Where at least I know I’m free.” Freedom is such a fleeting thing. We are one of the most dependent animal species on the planet. Without another human to look after us, we likely die in our first years. Well, I guess with the occasional exception like Tarzan and other wild humans who survived with other animals. Incredibly, other animals manage to survive out there just fine while we would surely struggle. Of course, we could all figure it out… right? Even though I live in America my dependence on society has led me to seriously question my freedom.
One of the biggest problems in society today compared with our ancestors is that we are not raised learning how to survive. This is a problem because when we want to negotiate how government and other institutions want to run things we are coming in with a wet diaper asking for change. Freedom has never been an easy thing to achieve, but it’s important. Some have died for it. Would you? I think it is a question worth some serious thought. I have recently identified freedom as my core value and it has been a cause for serious reflection on how I live my life.
Gaining freedom through a tribe
I think at times we can be too negative about society. Everyone can do better when part of a group. Division of labor is one of the greatest benefits of society. Someone can collect the food while another makes the shelter. We become specialized and together we can do more than we could ever do on our own. In a lot of ways, society gives us more freedom than we could have on our own. I understand the economy of survival within a society. The needs are apparent and roles are easily deduced. My purpose in today’s society is not so clear and that has been frustrating. I get this sense that society is large enough that unless I offer a great amount of skill I am not needed. I think that is a huge problem that many of us face. The world can do just as well without many of us and that is disconcerting. I feel like a young school kid again asking to play. When you first move to a new school and make friends you are considered an outcast until you offer value. If you are good at basketball you might be welcome to play but even then you might not be allowed to play because the other kids were their first and have already been established. As a new kid, I wish I understood that I was better off making a new group than I was trying to fit in. I don’t think it is inherently anyone’s fault. I should have just started a new team because sometimes there isn’t enough room for everyone. Not everyone gets a trophy, and when we pretend that everyone does everybody loses. Society can offer greater freedoms, but only to the few that fit in. The problem is that we often want the greater freedoms society has to offer by joining. There is nothing wrong with that but sometimes we need to make our own team. The frustrating part is when you can’t because as a 12-year-old kid you would need to buy property, and make a court next to your school or kick the other kids off. When we feel this frustration it’s important to remember that America happened because people decided to take the court from the Native Americans, and build it on the backs of slaves. As a 12-year-old kid, I didn’t know how to do something like that. As a 24-year-old kid, I don’t want to do something like that. I wish I realized when I was 12 that I didn’t need to play basketball to have fun. I could have just as easily enjoyed my recess by organizing a chess club.
Getting over entitlement and making our own clubs
Freedom is a constant pursuit and is something we never stop fighting for. It is not given or taken, but it is earned from within. Education and knowledge have been invaluable assets to my ability to gain freedom. It’s how I was able to leave the Mormon church, and it’s how I am going to leave other institutions in America that have controlled my life for so long. I think at times we are scared to leave what made us so secure before. Freedom requires taking a step into the darkness and exploring the new frontier. Today’s frontier is not land like it was in the past. Today’s frontier is on the internet and within the mind. Well, that is one possibility at least. Really it is whatever we want to make it.
There are some clubs that I no longer fit in and now I am looking to leave. One of those clubs is the housing market. I might join later on when I am able but for now, I think I will be living in a van or out of my Toyota for the time being until I can get a van. I might never join the housing market. I also hope that one day I don’t have to work for a company, but for now, I will because I don’t want to find food in the wilderness. I am either going to develop passive income or work as a writer. I think that it is important that we don’t settle and accept things for how they are. We should always be fighting for more freedom.
The problem with American Freedom
I feel like a lot of the people in America still think that freedom is gained by carrying a big stick and taking it from everyone else. Don’t get me wrong I understand the importance of capitalism and in everyone gaining by their own industry. I just think that freedom is a non-zero-sum game. We need to stop living in a scarcity mentality. Experts of the past predicted that we would run out of resources today due to overpopulation but here we are with more than 7 billion people. I am not saying that there isn’t world hunger I am saying that there doesn’t have to be. Most of our problems arise when we start taking in an unsustainable way. The environment is a big example of this, and when we play life like it’s win or go home, in the long run, everybody loses. We would do well to listen to the people that have lived in the Amazon all these years in a sustainable way. We have to stop taking. We need to be more inclusive and we need to consider everyone’s problems. When we find ways to be inclusive instead of thinking that there isn’t enough room for everyone we will find greater freedom as a society. We can’t do it alone either. We need each other because we are way worse off alone. People keep a lot of secrets, but I think we would be better off sharing those secrets. It’s like we think we will run out of ideas or not be able to create more, so we hold on to what we have and don’t share it with anyone. We need to share because that is the whole point of a society. It’s why society is better than the individual. It’s like some of us have forgotten why we came together in the first place.
How do we gain more freedom?
We gain more freedom by solving problems. I don’t know why we don’t have more freedoms today than we do. I feel like there should have been a lot of progress in our freedom with all of the advancements in technology. We need to figure out why and work on gaining more freedom. I think a lot of freedom is lost because some with power find a solution that gives them freedom by taking from everyone else. It is a lazy way of earning freedom. I think we would all do better to find solutions in which everyone wins. I think a lot of it has to do with a lack of trust, and we need to find ways to build trust as a society. I hope I can gain a clearer worldview as to how we can gain more freedom in the future.