The Meaning of Freedom

Thoughts for Independence Day

By Henry Adeleye on July 3, 2015


To the average person, freedom means the power to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.  But of course, if that were taken literally, you would be able to yell fire in a crowded theater or take people's cookies without repercussion.  In America, freedom is about certain guaranteed, inalienable rights.  Life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness; the stuff dreams are made of.  As you celebrate Independence Day this weekend, reflect on those hard-fought freedoms and take a deeper look at their meanings. 



The condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death.  Be alive and truly live.  Don't deny others the right to live.  Sounds simple enough.  As one of the most egregious rights to take from someone, it's astonishing that it's taken as much as it is.  Freedom means being able to live without fear, being able to do everyday tasks and not have your life threatened.  Being able to just live.  It also means not being the person to threaten someone else's life. 



The state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one's way of life, behavior, or political views.  The ability to lead life the way you see fit, as long as you're not infringing on someone else's life.  The ability to live a life people may not agree with.  The ability to question anything.  The ability to question everything.  Be with who makes your heart sing.  Do what makes your heart sing.  Stand up for the things that make your heart sing.


The Pursuit of Happiness

The feeling or showing of pleasure or contentment.  Happiness is fleeting.  What makes us happy one day can do the exact opposite the next.  Many articles have been written on how to find what makes you happy, and yet our constant increases in ambition puts it further away.  But that's perfectly fine, because freedom means being free to pursue happiness.  It doesn't guarantee that you'll actually reach it.  Heck, it doesn't even guarantee that your journey will be as easy as someone else's.  But it does mean that you have free and unrestricted pursuit of the things that stimulate you.  As you go on with your day, think about everything that freedom means, and take a moment to thank everyone who worked extremely hard to make freedom a reality for so many people.