Freedom (n)(free•dom)(ˈfrē-dəm): 1) the quality or state of being free such as: a) the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action. b) liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another: independence.
What would you risk—what would you sacrifice—in order to guarantee a slice of freedom? What would you give up to take back such liberties? It doesn’t necessarily matter what your answer is because the reality is that physical action will always outweigh simply talking. People always want to talk about their grand scheme. “Yeah, I’m going to quit my lame job and start my own business,” they say. “I’m totally losing weight for my New Year’s Resolution,” they chant. “I’m definitely going to get myself to a class this year,” they state. “I will defend my Second Amendment rights and take back my country,” they scream under heavy, labored breathing. That last one shouldn’t be surprising.
So many people claim they’re going to do something, start something or take back that something. That is until that something is at your front door demanding much more than you initially thought. Humans are funny like that—the uninitiated ones at least. They scream “expert,” but all you can hear is “neophyte.” Demanding something is all well and good; you just need to have a contingency plan. You need to be physically prepared for the pushback that may ensue.
According to Britannica, “Dunning-Kruger effect, in psychology, a cognitive bias whereby people with limited knowledge or competence in a given intellectual or social domain greatly overestimate their own knowledge or competence in that domain relative to objective criteria or to the performance of their peers or of people in general.”
Every noble pursuit requires some type of payment. Whether it be time, effort, energy, funds, things that you personally value will demand payment. It’s your job as an able-bodied and willing individual of worth to facilitate it. If not, the words spewed in excitement from your mouth are moot—pointless. “Is the ability to freely speak one’s mind not enough?” they ask. Not if it’s screeched from the bellies of the spineless, I remind them. Results demand work, and work can be hard, even relentless, at times. Things of value, of merit, of worth are always earned through honest self-sacrifice.
You need to take a hard look at your so-called efforts and understand that the truth can only be procured through full exertion of the self. Anything short of that builds a false sense of your capabilities. To “know thyself” means to wholeheartedly acknowledge your flaws and in turn internally develop ways to mold them instead into something better—something honorable. It’s going to hurt, and it’s going to be a lifetime worth of effort. Yet, that’s the eternal paradox: We should exert ourselves daily both physically and emotionally in a way that makes us uncomfortable in order to have a physically healthy and emotionally stable life of comfort. One cannot exist without the other.
“If the natural tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not safe to permit people to be free, how is it that the tendencies of government are always good? Do they not also belong to the human race? Are they made of a finer clay than the rest of mankind?” —F. Bastiat
The life, the world, from a macro point of view is constantly balancing the line between chaos and serenity. The sooner you emotionally accept such a concept, the sooner you can get on with living your life to your utmost potential. Lounging in the quagmire of despair can only be done for so long before you end up making your personal misery into a personal truth. To be free from your internal, self-made chains and your external authoritative ones is to intimately know how far you’re willing to go. You need to know without the shadow of a doubt where you stand in order to eviscerate the shackles of conditioned conformity.
Is the world a horrible place? Only if you allow it to be, and that’s easier said than done most days. What should be easier to grasp is the following: The greater the amount of self-induced fear, the less amount of overall understanding you’ll accept. You’ll be grabbed, choked, by the irrational thoughts invading your brain. Therefore, the solution is fairly straightforward. In order to decrease the amount of fear that’s present, you must increase your understanding of the situation, the environment and, most importantly, yourself. To truly live is to suffer at your own hands; to simply exist is to relinquish your personal autonomy.