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E-Pao! Opinion - Free yourself !

Free yourself !

By: Naoren Jiten *


Believe it or not, I guess liberty, as a principle, has no application to any state of things, anterior to the time when mankind has become capable of being improved by free and equal discussion. Until then there is nothing for them but implicit obedience to an Akbar or a Charlemagne, if they are so fortunate as to find them.

Therefore, in dealing with barbarians, despotism is a legitimate mode of government, provided, of course, by the end is their improvement. For uncivilized people, a vigorous despotism is in itself the best mode of government for training the people in what specially wants, to render them capable of higher civilization. Hence the function of authority is not to eliminate liberty, but to regulate it.

Khalil Gibran says, "how can a tyrant rule the free and the proud, but for a tyranny in their own freedom and a shame in their own pride"? The ideal situation is one where greater liberty goes hand in hand with greater understanding, maturity and responsibility. But how shall the immature become responsible if not through the freedom to commit mistakes, (as long as they learn from them)? Freedom consists of only one thing óó the freedom to make mistakes.

"The first freedom of will", said St.Augustine, "consisted in an ability to sin". For morality, it has no meanings unless man has the freedom to commit evils. Morality is born in choice. Morality means that though you are free to choose between good and evil, you must always choose the good. Hence in a curious way morality, though born in choice, give you no choice. Morality is bound to the good, though free to choose it.

The whole movement of manís life is towards greater and greater freedom. As a child grows up in dependence upon his parents and his family progressively diminishes, while his freedom and self-reliance increase all the time. The goal of life seems to be headed in the direction of complete liberty. But what do we understand by the word Ďfreedomí?

Freedom only means the capability of self-government, for the highest function of freedom is to make us capable of governing ourselves. Nietzsche says, "He who canít obey himself will be commanded".

A Russian tale takes about a house in which many servants lived. The master of the house had gone away on a long journey to a far-off land, no one knew where. Years passed, he did not return. There was no message from him. The servants and the villagers forgot all about him. In the absence of his authority, the servants become undisciplined.

Each one began to regard himself as the master and all of them regard himself as the master and all of them quarrelled amongst themselves continuously. Whenever someone came and asked for the master of the house, whoever answered the door would claim that he was the master. Hence each time someone came to the house, a different person would announce himself to be the master.

The villagers were bewildered. Within the house, there was total confusion, somewhat like Satanís Hell, in which such situation-like chaos is happening in Manipur described in Meltonís Paradise lost where, among the perpetually warring elements, "Chaos umpire sits and by his decision more embroils the fray".

Freedom does not mean the liberty to do anything that one pleases. Freedom has no meaning without responsibilities, for only the responsible can be truly free, for nothing is liable to be greater abuse than freedom.

All the way down the ages, men have been divided between those who seek to impose curbs upon the liberty of others by the means of authority and the power and those who seek to liberate themselves from the tyranny of their oppressors.

The first believe that liberty is a dangerous thing, as it may usurp their authority, while the second believe that authority is illegitimate in the hand of those who seek to curtail their rights to freedom. As to who is right depends upon the times and the circumstances. There is no doubt that unrestricted liberty is unhealthy for the immature who do not know how to handle it and may abuse it to perpetrate horrendous crimes. They may not only harm others, but also themselves in their ignorance.

All development is a process whereby we learn how to make the right choice. Hence it wonít be far from truth to say that all values are created in freedom. And what, one may ask, is the purpose of freedom? The purpose of freedom is only one - it is perfection.

The entire process of time and development is from the less to the more perfect, whether it is in moral, ethical, physical, mental or spiritual perfection. Freedom is the necessary condition in which the ideal of perfection may be realized. Complete freedom of choice means complete freedom to do what you want to do - and is the only means to self realization.

The fully realized being is the highest ideal, not only because he fulfils himself, but also because being fully-realized, help others to achieve their true potential. Mills say that, "in proportion to the development of his individuality, each person becomes more valuable to him and is therefore more capable of being more valuable to others.

Freedom, rather than meaning unrestricted license, means total self-discipline, for discipline alone gives us freedom. Discipline is the means of achieving that which is free mind has evolved. Discipline is not an obstruction to freedom, but a passage to it, for the more discipline you are, the freer you are to do that which you desire.

And discipline must be imposed upon you if you canít discipline yourself. Discipline means order while freedom may exist in chaos. And nothing worthwhile can be achi-eved where there is disorder and anarchy. Chaos has no power to affect anything worthwhile, and defused energy is totally impotent.

Only discipline can focus it. So give up all idea you may have that freedom means doing anything that you fancy, for if you fancy disorder, you are not free, not bound.

Letís know that he has the liberty that has control. Only he has speed that has brakes. Only he must fly, who can fly. Only he must start, who can stop. Only he is free who discipline is.

Liberty without control is like a car without brakes. It will crash.

Freedom has no meaning unless one utilizes that freedom to achieve the objectives of humanity.


Naoren Jiten wrote this article for The Sangai Express.
This article was webcasted on February 18th, 2006

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