Thursday, November 29, 2012

Finding Freedom

Freedom is actually a bigger game than power. Power is about what you can control. Freedom is about what you can unleash. 
- Harriet Rubin

Absolute liberty is absence of restraint. Responsibility is Restraint. Therefore, the ideally free individual is responsible to himself. - Henry Brooks Adams 

"This place will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow truth, wherever it may lead." - Thomas Jefferson's vision for the University of Virginia.

* * *

The above quotations do not reveal what it means to be free. The reader has no physical reference or way to connect to the ideas.

When writing about a concept, the challenge involves breaking free of a reliance on abstract words to define it.  What does power look and sound like?  How does one show restraint? What does it mean to be true to oneself? 

The collection of Aesop's fables written by a slave and storyteller from 6th century Greece shows incidents to teach truths. Aesop's fable of the dog and the wolf defines a situation without using the word,  freedom.  

 A Wolf, dying of hunger, happened upon a house-dog.

"Ah, Cousin," said the Dog."I knew how it would be; 
your irregular life will soon be the ruin of you. 
Why do you not work as I do and get 
your food given to you?

   "I would have no objection," said the Wolf, "if I could only
get a place."

  "I will easily arrange that for you," said the Dog; "come with
me to my master and you shall share my work."

So the Wolf and the Dog went towards the town together. 
On the way there the Wolf noticed that the hair on a certain 
part of the Dog's neck was very much worn away, 
so he asked him how that had come about.

  "Oh, it is nothing," said the Dog.  "That is only the place
where the collar is put on at night to keep me chained up; it
chafes a bit, but one soon gets used to it."

  "Is that all?" said the Wolf.  "Then good-bye to you, Master

Creative Write:  Develop a metaphor for self-responsibility in the search for freedom.

Reveal a trap or cage and how the mind moves beyond incarceration.

What happens with a leash, a muzzle, a bridle, a harness?  How does one break free?

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