Reaching Goal: Freedom
One of the most important things for any living person is to have freedom. The concept of freedom is familiar to all. In reality there are many things that people want to achieve in life like fame, security, happiness, satisfaction, pleasure aside from freedom. Is freedom really achievable for those who strive for it? Is freedom really worth fighting for? What is the cost of freedom? What if we lost our freedom?
First let us describe what it means to have freedom or to be free. Being free means there is not much restriction and you can do what you feel like doing. It also means being free from oppression and your rights are not suppressed. When you are free and not oppress you experience self respect. Freedom is having a life without boundaries. You are not confined and you can express and live as free and as comfortable as possible.
To have freedom is a great privilege in life. That is the reason why every individual or groups strive to fight for their freedom if being threatened. If freedom was ought to be fight for what then could cause our struggle for freedom? What hinders and blocks our freedom?
Freedom is gone because there are people who would like to dominate our lives. There are some who control us and dictate what our life should be. We are not free because life is governed by strict rules and laws which control us. We are not free because we have limitations that trap us to our situation. There is no freedom when we cannot live normally and as satisfying as possible. After understanding the importance of freedom we can compare the different perspective of freedom.
Two Perspectives on Freedom
If we want to see how really important is freedom to us we can look at the two perspective to freedom, one is the problem face by Black Americans and the other one is the life of today’s young generation.
The Black Americans are an example of group of people who were in the previous time in history struggled for their freedom. People all know that America is a land for white people and that the Blacks are considered minority or inferior race. They are victims of the society because of discrimination they cannot live freely like the ordinary people do.
Should this kind of people accept their fate and let them be suppressed? Of course, time will come that they will grew tired of their struggles that leaders will rise from them to fight for their cause. Movements for freedom of the oppressed sprouted to help the Black people.
Next one is the struggle for freedom of today’s young generation. One of the characteristics of young people is that they are in the prime of their life. Young people are naturally adventurous and active. Aside from that young people are passionate for change and that they have the capacity to promote change in the society.
The youth are offered with many options in life. The society can influence them. The media, their family, the school and the economy, their peers can exert great pressures on them. Young people are expected to exercise their free will and teach them to soar in life. But are the young generation responsible enough with the freedom they have or sometimes they tend to abuse the word freedom.
There are times that they violate rules and and become law breakers. The youth need freedom to choose and freedom to decide for themselves. Because of these freedoms they can start living alone by themselves; they can try anything from drugs to pornography. They are free to try everything like and follow every desire they have.
Black Americans and the Struggle for Freedom in the 1950’s
The Black Americans struggle for freedom in the 1950’s or the Civil Rights Era was the time when there are “freedom rides” and rallies, protests and civil disobedience against the racial segregation and discrimination of African-Americans in many parts in US.
Freedom struggles aim to establish equal rights for the black people in every area of American life including access to public facilities, justice and law equality, education, employment and housing opportunities therefore maintaining respect and dignity.
One of the prominent Black Americans that lead the civil rights movement was Martin Luther King Jr. together with his colleagues in the Southern Christian Leadership College headed a moral crusade of civil disobedience and non violent resistance like the Montgomery Bus Boycott in1955. Martin Luther King was remembered for his stirring speech with the refrain “I Have a Dream” emphasizing on the word freedom.
The result of these efforts includes the Brown Decision in1954, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act in1965. The Black American’s persistence to fight for equal rights and freedom from oppression has inspired other civil rights movement for those groups like the Native Americans, Latinos and women.
In an interesting story entitled A Raisin In the Sun told the plight of a common Black American family. It was in 1950 in South Side Chicago where the younger’s family resided. Like ordinary family they have dreams for their future. They know their situation and as a Black American they know that they will encounter difficulty and that chance may not favor them. When the head of the family died they received an insurance check. They all have an idea as what to do with the money. They have options to use it for business or to have a new home or use it for education. Like common family they plan to stick together and live a decent life. Beneatha the daughter in the family on the other hand have no interest to join in the and fit in the society for the whites. But they have to be optimistic and manage to survive.
Freedom and the Young Generation
The young generation of today also sees the role of freedom in their lives. Are the young people really are free? Are they free from the school? How about their own families? How about their work? How about the trend in the society in which their lives revolve around?
People do know that many things exert influence on the lives of the young generation. Sometimes they may feel overwhelmed by the pressures of school, work, media and their families. Young people have to prove themselves that they are capable and responsible enough and somehow fit to the norms of the society.
With all the pressures being offered to the young people they have the freedom to choose and freedom to make a difference for themselves. More than anyone else the time of youth is the time to exercise one’s free will. But sad to say there are young people who are not responsible enough in using their freedom by choosing to ruin their lives with drugs and alcohol.
A novel entitled On the Road was written around 1957 by Jack Kerouac. The story revolved around the road trips of then young man together with his friends across America.
The character then seemed to be free to enjoy his life on the road as he was fascinated but the landscape of the places in America. He enjoyed the company of his friends. The novel was said to be a type that depicts the postwar Beat Generation greatly characterized by jazz music, poetry and drug experiences and sexual relationships.
The young generation is inspired by what is the trend in the society. They are free to be influence and they are also free to reject or establish their own rules. They have the freedom to enjoy the pleasures of life. While they are young they can try everything, express themselves, their individuality. They can be controlled or they are the one to take control of their own lives.
It is a great privilege to have freedom. To have freedom means to have life and no freedom is like being dead. From the two perspectives in freedom, we can see that there are two kinds of freedom,” freedom from oppression” and the “freedom to exercise the will” which are different from each other.
In the first perspective we can see that freedom is a necessity in order to live and survive. People need freedom from oppression or bondages. People naturally seek for self-respect and rights for equal opportunity. If you take away freedom from those who need it is like denying them their right to live with satisfaction or as normally as possible. In this situation, freedom can be said as worth fighting for. Freedom is good if it benefits not only one but many. There is a need to balance the needs. Freedom also means balance of power. Both sides have an agreement and they abide by the rules. There is fairness and equality no one is mistreated or is sacrificed.
The second perspective on freedom emphasizes the freedom to choose. Because we have freedom people are free to choose. There is no right or wrong what is important is that you choose what you think is pleasurable at the moment. However it doesn’t mean that choosing the wrong things in life is a wise decision. In the end we will reap the consequences of our action.
People are free to exercise the will but we are not free of the end results. People can break the rules, deviate from the norms or at times they can freely follow what the world dictates or influence us to do.
There are times that too much freedom is not beneficial. People are free yet it makes us irresponsible, careless and uncontrollable. This kind of freedom is not good after all. Therefore freedom is important as well as restrictions because freedom must not be abuse. Like other things freedom is a privilege and that people must be responsible in using it.
“A Raisin in the Sun: Plot Overview” 2009 Sparknotes. Sparknotes Literature Study Guide 11 June 2009 <http://www.sparknotes.com/
“On The Road” Wikipedia the Free Encyclopedia 11 June 2009 <http://en.wikipedia.org/
“The Civil Rights Era” African American Odyssey 11 June 2009 <http://memory.loc.gov./
Tzelepis, Spiros “The Meaning of Freedom” September 2002 Youth Concern 11 June 2009 <http://users.otenet.gr/