What is freedom? We live in the country of the free but so often we do things that we would never consider enjoyable. But yet we claim to be free and live in a free country. All these things makes us look free in comparison to someone in Jimmy Baca’s stitation a man who has been striped of all freedom and digenity. It raises the question if freedom is a tangible concept or an idea that is relative to one’s experience and current situation.
Someone in Baca’s position while in solitary confinement would probably feel free if they could walk outside and breath fresh air without the restraint of cuffs on his hands and feet. In comparison to someone who is working 40 or more hours a week might not feel free until he is on a weekend camping trip. In my life the moments that I feel most free are sitting high up on a mountain being able to see for miles or sitting on the tailgate of a pickup as it drives up loveland pass. The idea of working 40 hours a week to pay off debts and just make a living doesn’t sound free to me. Although to many the luxury to be able to choose a job and buy a house even if it means going into debt for the rest of their life would seem like total freedom to many people living in oppressive countries or situations.
Freedom could be thought at as merely a state of mind because as long as you believe that you are truly free then you are free in the present moment. The ability to be in a completly free state of mind is greatly affected by the outside world, so someone in solitary confinement would find it much harder to be in a truly free state of mind because they are bound physically by chains and walls. They are also barred from the basic of freedoms as talking freely with people and breathing the fresh outdoor air, and without these basic human rights it would seem almost impossible to feel free.
Freedom must come from a combination of the physical and mental world that one lives in. If someone had complete physical freedom they may still be stopped from fully immersing themselves in it due to thoughts or beliefs of their situation. It also goes the other way where someone who is completely mentally free could have physical limitations to their freedom. Freedom is one of the most central ideals of American life but also one of the less tangible ones.
In America we think of ourselves as free people but if you were to ask someone what freedom means the answer will be different for each person. Which brings up the question if we are truly free in America. People get weighed down by debt that has now become a precursor to joining society as an adult, first it is college debt, than a mortgage so we spend our whole life in debt. The only reason that we go into this debt is so we can get a job, but the only reason we want the job is to get out of debt and be able to live the life we want. We are stuck in a very freedom draining cycle that forces into doing all sorts of ridiculous things to fit in with society.
This idea that we are all free in the US seem very questionable. If we were all so free why do we not see more artist, poets, writers, and thinkers that follow their passion that aren’t considered successful career even though many people are passionate about these things but many don’t bother to pursue them. People always say things like that’s not a real job or what a waste of money, this does not sound like something people that live life freely would say.