Definition of freedom
When we hear the word “freedom”, we immediately start thinking about its precise meaning. Some people may believe that freedom is worth their lives because without freedom, there is no meaning to life. While some people may perceive freedom as a state of not being in bondage or captivity, others may perceive it as a state of having power to control everything (James 69). Others still may perceive freedom as the way one needs to live as well as how one needs to show justice to the people in this world; such as liberty, boldness, and separation (Fred & Alan 111). These contradictive perceptions about the meaning of the term “freedom” indicate that there is a dire need to investigate the various definitions attached to it.
As defined by Fred & Alan (120), freedom can be understood as doing whatever one wants to do without any limitations or conditions. This form of freedom is commonly described as “freedom of want”, and it allows one to achieve desired goals through undertaking self-determined actions without being restricted by a prevailing circumstance or condition. This means that an individual has authority to undertake any desired action without observing prevailing rules or guidelines. This definition however does not imply that must act as we please without observing any conventions or rules and end up harming other human beings. Harming others would indicate that we are perpetuating our own freedom while again interfering with their own freedom. To avoid this contradiction, it is always important to consider that all things have restrictions and rules. For example, the life cycle has rules, and as such, everything in this life ought to have rules too that we should follow. When we talk of freedom, it thus means that we do not have power over everything but we are faced with barriers and limitations that we cannot cross anytime we want (James 72).
Another definition by James (77) is that freedom means the liberty to speak frankly and even to be outspoken without fear of being punished because people should have the right to speak and argue. For example, a person has the right to ask a question at any given time even if the question may conflict with others’ opinions. People ought to have the independence to articulate their opinions publically without any governmental interference. This form of freedom, which is commonly referred to as freedom of opinion, is important as it gives us choice and chance to choose and state our own decision.
In addition, freedom refers to the ability to choose what one wants in life without any external force. For example, no one should control one’s decisions about what he, she wants to be, or how they want to live. One’s parents and even major friends may think that they are right when they interfere with one’s life because they have learnt from past experiences, and hence, they may force a person to follow their choices and decisions (James 80). However, freedom to choose means that one should have the liberty to destroy his/her life with illegal narcotics, drinking alcohol and smoking cigarette, because each person is responsible to choose what is best for his/her life. In addition, one should be free to choose the type of clothes he/she wants to wear or the type of job she/he wants to do. A free person should thus trust in his/her own choices and should not let anyone to force their choices or decisions in his/her life (Fred & Alan 127).
Freedom also means the state of being able to choose and manifest the type of religion that one wants to believe in without limitations or coercion. This form of freedom is commonly referred to as religious freedom, and it is the most basic form of freedom particular in America because it is guaranteed in the US constitution. This form of freedom is essential because religion makes people believe in themselves and even create a nice environment within which they can coexist peacefully with others. Each person should thus have the liberty to choose the type of religion that they believe would make their lives better (Fred & Alan 133).
In conclusion, it is evident that the term freedom means different things to different people. To some, it means the state of not being in captivity, to others it means being able to live a desired life, while still to others; it means the way we show justice to other people. Freedom can however be defined as being able to do what one wants to do without limitations, being able to speak frankly, being able to choose what one wants in life and being able to choose and manifest the type of religion that one wants to believe in.
Fred, McMahon and Alan, Dowd. “Human Freedom: From Pericles to Measurement,” Independent Review, 19.1(2014):111-145.
James, Jacobs. “The Inherent Limitations on Human Freedom,” Logos: A Journal of Catholoic Thought and Culture, 13.1(2010):69-109.