If you have to wake up at a certain hour, you aren’t free. If you have debt, you aren’t free. If you can’t leave your job today just because you feel like it, you aren’t free. If you need to follow a certain diet, you aren’t free. If you are worried about how other people think of you, you aren’t free.
Freedom is much harder to get than most people think in that regard. Every action you make marks your unfreedom. Because if you were truly free, you would just sit there and do nothing. Why react to your body being hungry if you are truly free from it? This makes pure freedom impossible to obtain as you will always have your basic living needs. You can, however, become financially, physically, and most importantly mentally free.
Every need or desire you have is a testament of your unfreedom.
The various forms of freedom
Financial freedom is the most valued form of freedom in our society. Who doesn’t want to get rich? Financial freedom gives you peace of mind, but only for money things. Stress will not necessarily go away, you won’t be happier and you will still have 24 hours in your day.
Then there is physical freedom. Physical freedom is freedom from the body. It’s being able to do what you want to achieve using your body. At one point in life, you will eventually slowly become physically unfree. There is no way around that.
Finally, there is mental freedom. Mental freedom is the most valuable form of freedom, even though it’s nearly unheard of. It’s freedom from the narratives driving the world, from any political or ideological identification and most importantly from your own mind. If you can’t stop thinking, you aren’t free; your mind has total control over you. If you completely agree with a political party, religion, person or any other entity on a wide variety of subjects, you aren’t mentally free; you are indoctrinated.
We are fed with belief over belief since our childhood. Money is a belief. The government is a belief. A company is a belief. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a belief. Needing a degree to succeed in life is a belief. Our whole world drives around beliefs, and most people take these for facts. Being free from these mental constructs is invaluable and matters much more to me than being financially or physically free.
* Before you decide to cancel me, please note that considering something as a belief doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not good. I’m all for The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s just a piece of paper billions of people believe in.
How freedom should be pursued
While most people pursue the three forms of freedom in the following order: 1. financial 2. physical 3. mental freedom, they should be pursued like this: 1. mental 2. physical 3. financial. Having an independent, critical and open mind will allow you to understand the importance of the latter two (and how to obtain them), but it doesn’t work the other way around. If you aren’t ready for it, wealth will make you miserable in the end; so there is no point in pursuing it in the first place.
There is actually never a point in a pursuing wealth, but that’s for another time.