By Omar Bihmidine
By Omar Bihmidine
Morocco World News
Sidi Ifni- Jan 4, 2013
Are we free? At first sight, this question may appear philosophical to many intellectuals, frivolous to laymen and ordinary people, and mysterious to dictatorial regimes. Only indisputable is the fact that freedom is an infinite ocean and broaching on it has never led to a final, definite answer. In fact, no need to be particular about the different forms of freedom as long as we call into question the broad fact of either being free or not. Any member of the society from all walks of life must pose this question, especially since ‘to be free or not to be’ matters and determines one’s success in life whether we are aware of it or not.
Let us pluck enough courage and admit that we are not free in the meticulous sense of the epithet ‘free’. We may be partly free, but we cannot help not being fully free at times. Another thing is that feeling free has never been the same as being free. For instance, we may simply be deluding ourselves by thinking that we are free, whereas in reality, we are not as free as a lark flying skywards or as an eagle making for a mountain summit uninhibitedly.
Here, to better understand the analogy, just think of the way we dress. Before going out, we spend some time preening and wondering about our clothing style, not necessarily according to our tastes, but according to the tastes of others and bystanders as well. Here lies the crux of the matter. Clearly, the latter demonstrates that we human beings are not fully free.
It is no use comparing ourselves to birds, for it is impossible to be as free as they are. What is worth pitying is that we seldom question our freedom with regard to many of our life aspects. Let us, for instance, think of marriage. Not all people marry the person they love. Sometimes, family and society interfere to choose us the best half in their eyes, not in ours.
No doubt, choosing does not necessarily mean that society or the family has to impose the best half on us. But, their suggestion is a sign that we are not fully free in our choice. Our entourage sometimes holds that they know better than we do and justifies their interference by the pretext that we may commit mistakes if we are self-reliant in our quest for the soul-mate. It is at this point where we usually end up falling prey to bondage.
We think every day. But, not all of us are free to think uninhibitedly. We think about something we are convinced by, but we are forbidden from thinking about this or that. Some people think about their rights, and no sooner does fear overwhelm them than they stop thinking. Some other people are not keen on thinking about their reality. Rather, they switch their thinking about the bitter realities to thinking about the illusions. On Facebook, a caricature has recently spread showing how people think. In it, people are faced with two portals, one gives on to appeasing lies and the other gives on to excruciating realities.
Most people, if not all, prefer to head for the first portal where they think they would find solace. Free thinking should have led them to the second portal. Yet, since the grave circumstances exhort them to cease thinking freely and begin thinking as others want them to, the lives led by many people all over the world are now upside down. Suffice it so say that the herd mentality alone has prevented millions of people from thinking freely and living as they want, not as others want.
Most of the time, some people celebrate their weddings grandiosely, not necessarily because they are convinced by that, but because they are afraid their neighbours may make a mockery of them. Some people adopt others’ modes of life, not necessarily because they believe in them, but because they are in vogue nowadays. Put more plainly, these people are not free. If they were, they would choose the way they want to live their own lives.
Worse, some people forget that they are born free and must live free, particularly when they wait for others to decide upon their way of living, their way of making decisions and above all their future. Actually, the worst disability most people are cursed with today is that they do not value their freedom, they do not know that feeling and being free is spiritually uplifting, and that they underestimate their inborn and inalienable right to freedom.
As human beings existing on earth, we must remind ourselves that just as we are born free, we must live free and die free. During these hard times that our globe is currently witnessing, we must stop to learn that all this evil is partly the root of trespassing on each other’s freedom. A dictator, for instance, decrees how his nation must live, not how people themselves think they should live. A domineering father too decides how his children must live and earn their living. Sometimes, some parents choose the job for their mature children while they should allow them to choose of their own accord.
I would like to conclude this with a lesson from a free life lived by the free Paulo Coelho, the most famous and widely-read novelist of today. So far, through his writings and the biographical pieces he has written, I have been convinced more than once that this man has lived freely, has thought freely and has written his thoughts freely.
I am certain many of you already know this novelist whose likes on his page has now reached more than ten million fans and whose works have been sold by the millions across the globe. His parents sent him to an asylum three times for the simple reason that he was a free and rebellious teenager who wanted to become a writer rather than a doctor, his parent’s chosen profession. Had Paulo Coelho not resisted others’ dreams, wishes, choices and modes of life, he would not become what he is today, the mega-best-selling novelist. Let us be free and see what feeling and being free will turn us into.