Freedom. It is something that varies in degree from nation to nation and person to person. Many a philosopher and politician alike have argued about its meaning and importance in society. Given its multiple interpretations it can be said that there is a large variety of definitions of it which each could be explored thoroughly. But in order to make pinning down an essay topic, here are five of the most interesting definitions of freedom that would make interesting essay topics.
In Mahayana Buddhism or Zen Buddhism, freedom is defined as liberation from earthly wants and desires. Zen Buddhists believe that in having control over one’s mind that enlightenment and peace can be achieved, and this peace is a freedom in itself from the karmic cycle of the universe. They believe liberation comes from the self, and that others are not responsible for their individual peace.
Anarchy is defined as a state of disorder caused by a lack of authority. It can be said that individuals that ascribe to this philosophy think that organized structures such as governments, educational institutions, and the societal norms that we abide by hinder one’s individuality and autonomy. Therefore, liberation in the anarchist’s perspective comes from the destruction of these things. Anarchists believe what comes from the absolute acceptance of chaos and disorder is the natural order of things.
In the early 90’s, there was a film that came out starring Bill Murray by the name of Groundhog’s day. In this movie, Murray's character is trapped inside of the same day for an indefinite amount of time. It is only through the acceptance of this dilemma that Murray can make the best of his situation. This describes the belief of Determinists. Determinists believe that everything that will happen to an individual in their life has already been decided before they were born. Despite the fact that this philosophy essentially denies an individual of their free will, there is still a choice of accepting this fact, and this acceptance of fate leads to freedom.
From a psychological perspective, holding on to negative behavioral patterns is harmful to one's mental health. In the same respect, holding on to things in life such as a relationship or job that you don’t like is harmful to one’s individual growth. The need for change and the acceptance of it is a large part of being a human being. Therefore, the acceptance of this fact allows for a person to be free.
Lastly, wanderlust, or the urge to travel is something that everyone has felt at some point in their lives. Many writers such Jack Kerouac, Mark Twain, and Henry David Thoreau have written about the beauty of nature and the beneficial qualities of travel are it domestic or continental. The road itself has been a symbol of freedom for the past century.
In closing, there are various definitions of what it is to be truly free, but whichever one you choose to ascribe to is completely your decision.
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