03 Jul Freedom: Are We a Free Country?
This blog is based on research for my July 1, 2018 talk at the Center of Universal Light in Cottonwood, Arizona. The actual talk was shortened due to time elements.
Are we a free country? As long as there is racism in this country there is not liberty and justice for all. If we have bondage it is because of a misuse of freedom and much of the world has used its freedom to destroy its liberty.
This week as we celebrate our countrys independence lets concede that historically the 4th of July is not actually about liberty and justice for all. It is a toast to freedom for a few. And ever since that day, there have been people who have labored to see this reality come true for every citizen of the USA. We are not there yet even after 242 years, but we are much closer and we must not stop now. We must not go backwards. Let us go forward armed with the TRUTH that every human being is born with 4 intangible, inalienable rights: self-awareness, conscience, independent will, and creative imagination.
Somewhere within each of us is the ability to change our intolerance to acceptance and to find a way to live in balance and harmony with all people and all living things here on planet earth.
In this blog I’ve added some quotes by famous and not-so-famous people about Freedom along with my comments.
“Only our individual faith in freedom can keep us free.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States
So, what is faith? complete trust or confidence in someone or something. OR, a strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, however, based on spiritual apprehension they may be, rather than proof. IOW, Based in fear rather than faith.
In order to change that fear into faith we must say to ourselves, that our complete trust in the idea of freedom, in that it is the right thing for all human beings. This is what will keep us free.
Edward Gibbon (1737 – 1794) English Historian and Author of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
“In the end, they wanted security more than they wanted freedom.” –
To me this means that the Romans would rather be protected by armies and served a plate of peace of mind, rather than taking responsibility for freedom and acting when rights were being taken away.
So what is our responsibility for having freedom?
Eleanor Roosevelt said. Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility.
Bob Dylan American Singer-Songwriter, Musician, and Poet agrees with that. He said, “I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with freedom.” –
What is the difference between freedom and responsibility? Freedom is the ability to set your schedule, to decide on the work you do, to make decisions. Responsibility is being held accountable for your actions. …
Responsibility without freedom is stressful. And Freedom without Responsibility is what? Short-lived.
Noam Chomsky, American Linguist, Philosopher and Cognitive Scientist said:
“If you assume that there’s no hope, you guarantee that there will be no hope. If you assume that there is an instinct in us for freedom, there must be opportunities to change things, and a chance for you to contribute to making a better world. That’s our choice.”
Just like Fear, Hope is about something that only exists in the future; its about something that doesnt exist now, but something that we want to exist, while fear is about something we dont want. So, its the two wolves story about their fight and the one we feed is the one that wins. Right?
Hope is fragile because it doesnt receive a lot of outside help. It can come and go in 60 seconds and it is so important to our daily decisions. With hope were positive and making good decisions; without hope were looking with intolerant eyes and making choices that may not be in our highest good. Hope starts with a ritual, a morning ritual to start off your day, be that meditation, mantras, reading or praying.
Isnt Hope like living in an altered reality sometimes? if so, I mustnt judge others for what I project as living in an altered reality from what I see as the truth. I guess were all just living in our own altered realities, arent we?
Now lets look at a quote by Steven Covey author of The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, he says that
“Every human has four endowments – self-awareness, conscience, independent will, and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom. The power to choose, to respond, to change.”
Now I read these endowments as spiritual freedoms. Whether were American or not, we all have these and no one can take them away . . . even though some may try.
What is Self-Awareness? In 1972 Psychologists Shelley Duval and Robert Wicklund developed the theory of self-awareness.
They proposed that:
when we focus our attention on ourselves, we evaluate and compare our current behavior to our internal standards and values. We become self-conscious as objective evaluators of ourselves.
So we become self-aware by becoming objective evaluators of ourselves. Not being critical of ourselves but making corrections in our behaviors.
Conscience is next. What is conscience? An inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one’s behavior. So, our conscious is our inner guidance system built in by the Creator. That is what we must all be listening to everyday. Trust in your hearts ability to give you accurate, inspired and honest directions. This you can trust; this is true freedom.
Ok, what is independent will? It is our capacity to act. It gives us the power to transcend our patterns or ruts, to walk in a new way, to rewrite our scripts, to act based on principle rather than reacting based on emotion or circumstance.
Our free, independent will comes from the messages our inner guidance is giving us and with our personal power we choose to act on our inner truth or principle rather than on emotion or circumstance.
And what is creative imagination? The faculty of imagining, or of forming mental images or concepts of what is not actually present to the senses. … the product of imagining; a conception or mental creation, often a baseless or fanciful one.
So as people of the Four Endowments we:
Become objective evaluators of ourselves
We hear the voice and follow our inner guidance system
And we choose to act on principle rather than based on emotion or circumstance.
With the power of our creative imagination we create a life we love and a better world here and now as well as in the future.
Heres a quote from Ayn Rand Russian-American Novelist and Philosopher:
“The human is a being with free will; therefore, each person is potentially good or evil, and it’s up to him/her and only them (through a reasoning mind) to decide which they want to be.”
Ayn Rand also said: “Do not keep silent when your own ideas and values are being attacked. If a dictatorship ever comes to this country, it will be by the fault of those who keep silent. We are still free enough to speak. Do we have time? No one can tell.”
Now for some final quotes from some of the greatest proponents of freedom.
Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 – 1968), American Clergyman and Civil Rights Activist. “In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline.”
This man lived at a very high level of awareness and integrity. Dignity and discipline seem to be in short supply lately. Discipline by force does not win the hearts of people. It only creates separation.
Nelson Mandela, who was the first black president of South Africa who aided in the eradication of the apartheid system in his country. His early campaign of peaceful, non-violent defiance against the South African government and its racist policies landed him in prison for almost three decades; and it made him the face of the anti-apartheid movement internationally.
Born in 1918, Nelson Mandela was a champion for peace, civil rights and social justice, landing him the Nobel Peace prize in 1993, while influencing generations of South Africans and people around the world.
Today, we reflect on his legacy and I want to share something he said on freedom:
For to be free is not merely to cast off ones chains but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.
Mahatma Gandhi. He made India an independent country without using any nuclear weapons, army, or malice.
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
If you are not happy about anything in your world or society, be willing to change it within yourself first. Dont complain. Complaining wont take you anywhere. Nothing will change unless you change.
The world has grown tired of mass shootings and terrorism. What purpose do they serve? In the end, how will all terrorists die? With hate in their hearts.
If you want to take revenge and feed your hate, you will never be satisfied. Only love can eradicate hate, not hate by itself.
Live as if you were to die tomorrow; learn as if you were to live forever.
Its my conviction that nothing enduring can be built on violence.
Fighting is a sign of weakness. Great minds know we are here to play our part, serve others, and leave. Life is short, so dont feed your anger, because only you will suffer.
Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.
Real creativity comes when people are free to make mistakes. When we are always supposed to do the right thing, the child in us dies. But this does not mean we can continue making the same mistakes over and over again. We must learn from our mistakes and make corrections or we will never mature as a country.
And finally, The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
An animal is a creation of nature and if we torture it or take advantage of it, we prove that we dont respect creation. All life has equal value and we cannot decide if something else can live or die.
I would like to close this portion now with a quote from someone youve probably never heard of.
Adam Kokesh is a man akin to Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela. Kokesh joined the US Marines at age 17 and volunteered for combat duty in Iraq in 2004. This critical experience showed him that war is a racket and led him to deeply question his most cherished beliefs. He first rose to fame as an anti-war activist before branching out into other areas, often taking action too risky for other activists.
In 2010, he became an independent journalist as ADAM VS THE MAN. He has been arrested and gone to jail dozens of times standing up for his convictions. He began writing FREEDOM! while caged in Washington, DC. While he has inspired millions with his speeches, videos, and civil disobedience, his greatest contribution to the cause of freedom is the concept of localization as a way to overcome statism and achieving a free world. Statism is a political system in which the state has substantial centralized control over social and economic affairs.
Freedom is what you have when no one is forcing their will on you. Everyone inherently recognizes this as a good thing because we all value our power to make decisions. We all value making decisions without being threatened. Unfortunately, most of us have not taken the time to consider the precise nature of freedom and its foundation in universal undeniable principles.
If somebody is forcing their will on us, clearly, we are not free. So perhaps it is helpful to think of freedom not as a substance, but as an ideal state of social harmony in which no one is forcing their will on anyone else.
Freedom is not just an ideal state of society, but a moral code for respecting the rights of others. Self-ownership is an integral part of being human. You own yourself. You own your body. You own your labor. For anyone to assert otherwise is to attempt to restrict your freedom or make you a slave.
Because you own yourself, it is wrong for someone to initiate force against you or your property. Acceptance of this simple fact is the foundation of a free and peaceful society.
Anyone who directly violates others, supports the violation of others, or violates others on behalf of someone else is holding us back from achieving our potential through the harmonious and mutually bene?cial transactions that take place in freedom.