Freedom is a concept most people living in western society should be familiar with, we live with it. We take it for granted. I am free to play my music loud. I am free to live according to my religion, yes in public also. I am free to not use deodorant. I am free to shower four times a day. I am free to raise my child according to my religious believes. (Ironically, those children aren't free to make their own decision) I am free to eat meat or not. I enjoy free speech, and religious freedom. I am free to travel wherever I want, mostly. I am also mostly free to dress as I please. I am free to pursue happiness and, last but not least, I am free to end my own life if living becomes unbearable. (In Switzerland anyway) I am basically free to behave the way I please, as long as I am considerate of others.
Now, Isn't it interesting how we enjoy all that freedom, and take it for granted, but when others rub us in exercising their own freedom, we are quick to judge and insult. Especially on social media, this has become a sad development. A few days ago, a tweet on twitter caught my attention. The masses cursed, insulted and criticised Miss South Africa, who was serving food in an orphanage for coloured children. She was wearing white latex gloves for obvious sanitary reasons. The picture went viral and the miss became a racist monster for not allowing contact with coloured children. This behaviour is so inhumane, so intolerant, so strange, so inconsiderate, so ignorant, so stubborn and close minded, it numbs my mind. How are we harmed by such unimportant details in another person's behaviour? How come we take so many things personal that shouldn't even touch us?
In some countries, you have free speech, but when you burn the flag, you get charged for flag desecration. Comments under an article reporting of such a case, say, 'our soldiers are fighting wars for that flag, you are shaming our soldiers! shame on you, burn in hell!'. It was MY understanding that they fought for freedom and democracy. (including free speech, and the freedom to burn a towel)
Freedom can only come to us if we are first willing to give it to others. Freedom comes with the responsibility to act with consideration of the needs of others, and to be considerate of the same when making decisions in every day life. Tolerance toward those with different believes, and living by different values, as long as all are considerate of their fellow humans, is the other side of the blade called freedom.
The mission at hand lies in finding ways to spread this understanding, and help those suffering from intolerance and ignorance, see the joy and 'personal freedom' in this concept. Is it so hard to understand that, when we insult others, or act cruelly toward others, or speak or act irrationally, that we only insult/degrade ourself?
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” — Mahatma Gandhi
Your feedback/input will appreciated, thank you
Alexander Somm, July 11th 2017