What is Freedom?

Freedom is an act that implies every faculty of a person. Being free means we need to be conscious of our actions and consequences. Also we must consent that truth as our own, that we really want to do it.
If we miss any of these steps, then our action cannot be free. Instead we need to analyse what was wrong in the three steps. The only living beings able to be free are those who are aware of their actions and are able to act in consequence. Here are many authors that define freedom:
What Weigel identifies as freedom of excellence is about two different points:
  • “Negative liberty” is freedom from interference in personal matters. It reminds me of what former Mexican president said: “the right of other ends in the beginning of other’s rights to gain peace.”
  • “Positive liberty” is freedom to realize some greater good in history. That may lead to repression as it may fall in a totalitarian way.
Both of these senses of freedom are contained in the discussion of 2 monks: Saint Thomas Aquinas and William of Ockham
Aquinas defines freedom as:
  • The capacity to choose wisely and to act well as a matter of habit or as an outgrowth of virtue.
  • The human capacity that unifies all our other capacities into an orderly whole. Directs our actions toward the pursuit of happiness and goodness.
Ockham’s Razor” is the principle that the simpler of two explanations should be preferred. He is considered the main exponent of “nominalism”. They denied that universal concepts and principles exist in reality – they exist only in our minds. For example: “Human nature” is a description, a name we give to our experience of common features among human beings. The only things that exist, according to nominalism, are single or particular things.
  • Freedom is simply a neutral faculty of choice, and choice is everything, for choice is a matter of self-assertion, of power.

If will is the defining attribute of all reality. The moral life is a contest of wills, between my will and God’s imposition of His through the moral law. There can be no “common good” if there are only the particular goods of particular men and women acting out their own particular willfulness.

  • Homo voluntatis cannot explain why some things that can be done should not be done. It cannot defend himself or the institutions of democracy against the new dangers to national security and world order. Why? Because Homo voluntatis cannot give an account of a freedom worth sacrificing, even dying, for.
Both ideas brings to my head what we are nowadays facing in society. Meanwhile people with education and studies understand what the meaning of freedom is: an act within responsibility that any action carries a consequence. Good actions gives us a good consequence and so as bad actions. Today we call it karma, but it is the logical and proper reaction to every action. So freedom must be within the territory of morality.
As Mahatma Gandhi says:
“Whilst I have said that all men and women are born equal, I do not wish therefore to suggest that qualities are not inherited, but on the contrary I believe that just as everyone inherits a particular form so does he inherit the particular characteristics and qualities of his progenitors, and to make this admission is to conserve one’s energy… A man who is truthful and does not mean ill even to his adversary will be slow to believe charges even against his foes. He will, however, try to understand the viewpoints of his opponents and will always keep an open mind and seek every opportunity of serving his opponents.”
In other terms, there is also what the common mistake of freedom is: to do what I want and avoid consequences. This idea tells us that we are able to do anything that pleases us because we are free. That is not a human action, that is what we call an instinctive or hedonist action. Charles Malik may help me to conclude the idea:
“I would suggest that we must emphatically state that a man has the right not only to his mind, but also to change his mind and his fundamental convictions of conscience whenever his mind and conscience so dictate to him in the best light he knows.”
We need to think and want what we do, if not we become victims of many systematic education. We must learn to think to love ourselves and to act according.

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