Freedom and Choices

 Freedom.  A word that conjures numerous images and ideas.  I don’t know about most people, but for me the word inspires a double edged sword and has since I could remember.  We Americans pride ourselves as being free, yet we are not.  Freedom is essentially the ability to do as you please without fear of consequences.  To me freedom poses a different set of issues.  When I was young I was convinced by many, including teachers, peers, step parents, elders in the community I was stupid and not worth the effort of teaching as I would never amount to more then my stepfather and his reputation.  The Deep South is very class based, and you so not dare aspire to jump classes.  Those who do are ridiculed and never taken seriously by the natural aristocrats and scorned and abandoned by those in the station you so willing rejected and abandoned.  This is not freedom. 

I was in college before I realized I was as smart as those around me and capable of doing nearly anything I wanted to.  The problem was being a poor farmer’s adopted son I was never expected to be anything more then a general laborer.  I had no direction or life goal.  Student councilors were no help either.  All they told me to do was to take all the general requirement classes and I would find my calling.  Now those who know me know I have nearly infinite patience in some areas, and absolutely none in others.  Not know what you want to do is one of the worst things you can ever face.  Knowing I could succeed anywhere did not help either.  I took numerous tests promising to match aptitude with profession.  Well, the prospects of being a priest, instructor, councilor, or speaker did not appeal to the 19 year old southern boy who never fit into anywhere.  All I know is what I did not want to do.  Reverse career decision making is ok, but it does not give you an answer or a sense of being on the right track.  I guess people who have their heart set on one profession and fail at it in college are the same.  They are so focused they ignore all else, then are left looking for something they never considered before.  Isn’t freedom a bitch?

While reading and researching my peoples I ran across a startling realization.  Freedom in this country is reserved for those who play by the rules.  You can have freedom of religion as long as it follows the American definition of religion.  You can have freedom of assembly as long as permits are signed and it is for specific purposes.  You can have freedom of speech as long as you are speaking English and not teaching a Native American language.  Of course these lack of freedoms extend well beyond the oppression of the Native Americans, but nowhere else was it so harshly administered.  African Americans were not jailed and beaten for following there traditional religions.  Asian Americans were not ripped from there parents and transported thousands of miles away and beaten for speaking there native tongue.  Latin Americans were not shot by the military for gathering in peaceful congregations to discuss community affairs.

Freedom, as with all words, is confined by its definition, and as with so many words in the English language there are multiple meanings.  Freedom to be what ever you want to be is restricted by your means and dedication.  As we have learned before, dedication requires a focus, and if you do not know what you want to be when you grow up, you have nothing to focus on.  This leaves this singular point.  Freedom is choice.  To be free is to have the choice between two or more outcomes, when it comes to life and learning.  Each of us are brought up being told we can achieve anything we desire, but we are not pointed into a good direction.  We each have freedom of choice, but those choices are not spelled out to us in a way we can understand or connect with.  Guidance councilors will ask us general open ended questions.  These questions are meant to engage our brains and get is thinking about the future.  How many teenagers think beyond the next big party or social gathering?  If these councilors would seriously look at our achievement records, test scores, classes taken, and conduct a decent interview they could offer some better advice and goals for us to meet.  Ask any teenager today what they want to do and the answers are always the same; make a lot of money and party all day and night, or what I always said… I don’t know.  Both cases require the same response; what job appeals to you?  What do you want to be doing in 5 years career wise?  What fields interest you?  Engage the kids and make them answer.  The problem with too many choices is the same as having too much freedom.  Nothing will happen.  We need restrictions and parameters to work within. 

The stereotypical shooting fish in a barrel syndrome.  There are so many choices we can not focus on any one long enough to follow through.  In our modern society we tout freedom like it is air, we are all entitled to as much of it as we can handle and then more.  We have so much freedom of choice we spend more time making up our minds then acting upon our decision.  If we want to see a movie we have to stand in line to a 20 screen mega-plex, rent a movie… chose from thousands, watch a football game… there are 15 on!  While we all want to believe we need all these freedoms, things would run smoother with fewer things to choose from.  Choice is good, but as with everything, too much of it is not good.  It is like the age old question, what do you want for dinner? 

Oh, I don’t know what do you feel like eating?  What ever is fine, knowing good and well if you chose the wrong thing you have to deal with a grumpy and mad person for the meal.  Then we end up listing the things we don’t want.  I don’t feel like pasta.  How about roast beef?  No, we had that on Monday.  Chicken?  No and nothing spicy either, maybe something light? 

Everyone of us has went through this.  It is because we have way too many choices available to us.  If the choices were salad, meatloaf, or fish we could make up our minds much faster and with less heartache over the whole affair.  So in our free market, open choice, customer driven economy we need to begin gaining control over our choices before it melts down due to the decision making process.  I know the economy will never do this, but as grown people do we really have to exasperate the situation by not limiting the choices ourselves?  We all could use some restraint before we end up taking more time to decide what we don’t want to see on TV then what we are going to watch.

How does this tie in here, you may ask.  Well, by not having an outline of topics to discuss I am left open to discuss anyting my heart desires.  Trust me most of you would not find that interesting enough to keep reading.  So how am I going to limit my choices?  Well, there are four main areas I am interested in covering; People, Religion, Government, and finally Art.  Oddly enough these are the ingreadents for a culture.  Pure circumstance.  Each week I will make two to three postings on any one of these four topics, mayve all one topic in a weeks time, who knows.  Of course I will fill the rest of the time on my pet peeves, gas prices, work issues, and things of interest to me.  I will also take this time to open the floor to any and all suggestions.  I have done requests in the past and will be happy to do them in the future.  Blogging is a participation sport.

This entry was posted in Life in General. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Freedom and Choices

  1. Sarah says:

    Good stuff!! I was just reading about this yesterday in Histroy, how it was the ones that followed the rules who had the most wealth and the most freedom given to them.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s