Opening up conversation

Today I wanted to open up a conversation with you guys about a recent comment on my post from Wednesday, “I would prefer not to.”

The commenter goes by “A Layman” but was “M.E.B” at time of commenting, and their blog can be found here. Their comment:

 

It is a good concept that you bring up. My first question to you, which can only be answered subjectively, “What does it mean to live.” For me, I rebel because there is too much in this society. I rebel against the instant gratification. The instant creativity. Have a blog, everyone is a writer. There is nothing wrong with this, but having everything at our fingertips kills creativity, rather than enhancing it.
Creativity is a struggle. A struggle within and a struggle without.I don’t find working in an office, which I did after spending years getting a degree, enjoyable at all. I actually regret going to college at all. It was a complete waste of my time. In my opinion, I could have spent that time living life. Living it the way I would live life. Free. Another subjective word, of which it would take far more than a blog page to define what freedom means to me. In a few words, freedom is to be free of the society. Free of commercialization. Free of the hell that has formed around me by rich tycoons who control the colleges, the institutions and the government. Free, simply to be me. Not some droid with thoughts implanted into my mind to perform the duties of the society. I am not a member of a society. I am member of humanity.

 

This inspiring comment really made me think. I agreed with it, deep in my heart. I think a lot of us have the gut instinct to rebel and run away from all our responsibilities…but the realist in me was holding back. Freedom, in its nature, is a scary thing. It’s risky to be free, easier to go along with the system put in place by society. I can never quite decide which is better, for me or for others: to play by the rules, or to change the rules so the game is fairer.

I’d like to hear your opinions on this, since mine are far from being concrete. Without judgment, share your ideas. As a community we can have a great Friday discussion on freedom, creativity, safety, and society.

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7 thoughts on “Opening up conversation

  1. I really admire the sentiment, but I disagree with some of the wording. Maybe it’s a tangent, but I think his use of the word subjective really means personal or individual. There is a difference: subjectivity means no absolute, personal indicates a singular understanding of. Just something to think about. 🙂
    Also, @mrwolfglesga, I like the quote you used at the beginning of your comment.

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  2. You can go looking for it, but freedom will find you if you wait for it.
    In youth I felt freest hitching and sleeping rough around Europe. I had freedom of body, but not of mind, as I was still full of ambitions and questions. Now, in middle-age, I’m living a normal enclosed life, but I feel free of the burning issues of humanity. I’m letting go of the world, and it’s liberating.

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  3. Oulipo writer Raymond Queneau wrote that “I place constraints on myself so that I may be free”. (I kind of paraphrased it cause I don’t remember the exact wording, but that was the essence of the quote) Of course, he meant it in terms of ‘free to create’, because his creative method basically involved writing a basic text (say, a story about a man going to buy something in the market and bumping into someone he knows on the bus), then choosing a constraint (for example, only use words without the letter ‘e’ in them) and then rewriting the story to fit that constraint. Still, maybe that quote could be applied to other things…

    Complete freedom is a terrifying concept because the infinite possibilities can seem too much – I think we don’t know how to deal with the idea at all. For example, you turn up at work one day only to find out that it’s a day off and you can do ‘anything you want’. What do you do first? It’s entirely possible that by the time you’ve actually decided what to do (or ticked things off your ‘to-do list?) the day is half gone. The big question is: why?

    Also, I think complete freedom might be so terrifying to us because we’re afraid of what we might do or discover something new or terrible about ourselves [not necessarily a bad thing, as Dylan Moran might point out…]. Still, it means the weight of responsibility falls entirely on the person and not on anything else. In theory, there’s no scapegoats with complete freedom – no one else to blame, no societal pressure, no external factors to blame when confronted with a decision. Not to say that everyone blames everyone else for the results of decisions they make, but living a life without difficult, decision-making moments is both incredibly hard (although I’m sure there’s a percentage of the planet’s population that manage it through the extreme ) and potentially extremely boring! Of course, there’s no need to throw ourselves to the other end of the spectrum and become, as “A Layman” (aka “M.E.B.”) so astutely put it, a mindless droid existing solely to serve society.

    As for creativity and struggle, I think it depends a lot on the person; I mean, the image of the struggling artist is very accurate in a lot of cases, but also heavily romanticized. (geez, I sound like such a cynic! 😦 ) Having everything at our fingertips through the Internet might not enhance creativity, but what about people who are unable to leave the house? (literally)

    Having said that, I thoroughly understand (and agree with!) wanting to be free of the money-driven system that controls education, healthcare and other things we consider vital to our well-being. It’s a vicious cycle of a system that favours the survival of the better off and lets down the people who probably need help the most. Particularly in a time of economic crisis (example: disability benefits in the UK being cut)… It’s easy to agree with that – the problem is how do we change it and what do we replace it with?

    [OK, maybe I shouldstop writing now…]

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  4. I agree with Tracey: I think freedom is different for everyone. To be truly free seems impossible to me, for no matter where in the World you are, there are always rules and laws to abide to (which often is good, don’t get me wrong). Besides outer freedom there’s also inner freedom and the strains we put on ourselves. It’s a fascinating concept I think no one can really grasp. Creativity is breaking set boundaries and being able to think outside the box. Going a step further. It can be scary, walking a path no one has gone before, but imagine always following others around. It won’t get you anywhere exciting.

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  5. Anything worthwhile won’t be without its struggles. Creativity seems like a foreign concept these days. We go through our lives, not really knowing what it’s like to be free. But as you said, freedom is scary. We really don’t know what to do with it. I think the same can be said of creativity. Whenever the opportunity arises to be truly expressive, we tend to settle. There may be flashes, but in the end, we settle for what the world thinks we should be doing with our talents.

    I can’t say that I know what it’s like to be creative in the truest sense of the word. Even when I write in my journal, it’s too rigid and structured, allowing no room for error. But perhaps, that’s because I’m using technology to record my thoughts. I feel like if I wrote my journals longhand, I might feel that spark of creativity. Perhaps, that’s what I need to get back to doing: writing everything longhand.

    In any event, I think the need to be creative is instilled in all of us. What separates us is whether or not we have the willingness to listen.

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  6. I believe each person has to define freedom for themselves. What I love about America is the fact that an individual can live their life however they choose. You can build an off the grid home, grow your own food and have minimal contact with people. You can go to college and climb the corporate ladder. Marry or not, have kids or not. It is ALL up to you. Yes, that amount of freedom can be scary, but imagine not having that freedom. Much scarier.

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