Freedom is a very popular word ever since democracies started to be established in the world. But another connotation of the expression, the freedom of the soul, has also been an expression much used in hundreds of years, as many philosophers thought that was the ultimate goal of the development of a human mind. While happiness is a difficult concept to live, freedom of soul is a more viable concept.
A man’s life in the world perforce involves some bondages and in the process he gathers some chains on his soul. Loss of this freedom is significant to the quality of a man’s life. So, effort has to be made to regain the higher level of freedom man comes with at birth. Of course, though the mental freedom level is higher at birth, but due to the newborn’s limitation of consciousness, his freedom quality is low.
It is not that we can run away from the world to gain the higher threshold of inner freedom, it is how to manage to live in the world, while at the same time maintain a higher-level freedom that is needed. While inner and outer freedoms have similarities but they also have sharp differences. In the inner life one is aiming at freedom from want while in the outer freedom one wants to have a freedom to want. In the outer freedom one may have to deal with the other people to gain and maintain it but in the inner freedom one is not dealing with them at all.
However, acquirement of the inner freedom may be constrained by the state of the outer freedom. That is, the external circumstances of a man may impinge on his developing and maintaining his inner freedom. Also, if anyone has found the inner freedom, he aspires for the outer freedom also. We have had revolutionaries who have fought for and won outer freedoms for people, we also have had revolutionaries of human mind who have fought and won inner freedoms for people.
But what is inner freedom? Human mind can work in many different ways. In fact, that is why we have so many different personalities. A mind needs a rationale and an energy to move on. These come from a basis that one’s mind uses. For example, belief in rationality, self-reliance, helpfulness to other beings, can together form the basis of some minds. This design of mind can also form the basis of the inner freedom. A mind that is self-reliant and self-propelling has found the inner freedom. In a simpler rendition of this concept, a mind which runs on self-reliance, without conflict, with hope for the future has found the inner freedom. The lesser the external stimulus it needs to work, the more freedom it has achieved.
In the modern world life is more complex than it was in ancient times. On one hand modern man has shed off family and social ties considerably, but on the other hand it is dependent more on physical stimulations of alcohol, drugs, and sex. Above these is his dependency on material stimulation of money, property, and physical glorification. Peace of mind and harmony with nature are also affected by the modern style of living.
Overall mental and physical freedoms push the quality of life higher. Every age attempts to improve human condition, but it is not easy. As first, we need to understand the constraints of the human condition. Then we have to find a way out of them which enhances the experience of life, which is the ultimate goal of any creative approach to life. This has to be a step by step comprehensive approach to improving the quality of life
Suffern, New York, Original (?), Rev. Aug. 18, 2021