There are different aspects we might consider about freedom, liberty. One is what we are allowed to do, or denied, by government coercion in one form or another. There are societal influences, as well. We may refrain from some particular action, not necessarily because it is illegal but because we believe it to be inappropriate in a given situation.
We have discussed Why Most People Embrace the State, despite what amounts to The Criminalization of Almost Everything. Given the political nature of contemporary life, it is too easy, almost reflexive, to react rather than act, and that often irrationally. It is much easier to blame or attack external entities or circumstances, rather than consider anything closer to home. And, so we do. We are not much given to introspection in today’s superficial and fast-paced world. But, we should be.
The Nature of Inner Freedom
The following commentary offers some perceptive thoughts on another angle, that of inner freedom. Far from a simplistic touchy-feely meditation on our feelings, the author delves into the ramifications of the freedom we know within. Not just for ourselves individually but what that means in the bigger picture, politically and as a society.
“Here, I want to build upon some of these earlier themes by examining a somewhat different issue. That is: to what extent can an individual be uncoerced by the state, and yet remain unfree? This is, of course, a far more speculative question than the purely political one examined earlier, and I do not intend to answer it here. Instead, I want to show how major figures in philosophy and other disciplines have long acknowledged that freedom is not simply a matter of non-coercion, but has an important inner dimension. In the conclusion, I will briefly spell out the political consequences we might infer from taking such an inner conception of freedom seriously.”It is easier to blame or attack external entities or circumstances, rather than consider anything closer to home. And, so we do. We are not much given to introspection in today's superficial and fast-paced world. But, we should be. Click To Tweet
Inner Freedom in the Modern Age
“Do these ruminations about inner freedom have anything to teach us today? And do they have any bearing on political problems? The answer to both of these questions is an emphatic yes. Many of the social problems analyzed by these thinkers persist to this day. Some of them have become even more striking…
“In either case I think it is clear that, even in our relatively permissive age, we need to reflect deeply and carefully on the nature of inner freedom. Failing to do so, or dismissing it as an abstract problem, will not make it go away. Indeed we may well discover that not taking inner freedom seriously means we wind up dealing with serious political consequences. Because if it is true that only a free person can authentically find a kind of fulfillment in life, a society of unfree individuals is unlikely to be stable and content.”
You can read this in full at The Inner Nature of Freedom.