Posted by: forfreedomalone | 10/08/2010

Why “For Freedom Alone”?

I was asked, yesterday, why I had chosen the name For Freedom Alone for my practice and this blog; surely, we need more than freedom?
Indeed, we need food, shelter, sleep and many other things to survive, but to live all we need is freedom.

Freedom is often calculated according to standards such as; liberty rather than confinement, to cast a vote, to be unhampered by racial, religious or other restricting prejudices. Some may describe it as the ability to say or do as one pleases without fear of repression or reprisal. These types of freedom are not, what I would call, true freedom, because they are all in the hands of someone other than oneself.

I choose to commit a crime, but a judge decides whether or not I will be confined for it. A government can allow or refuse me the freedom to vote. Others in my society decide on my racial, religious, or gender freedoms, by their behaviour and attitudes towards me. At any time, any or all of these freedoms can be taken from me, as people who live under repressive regimes or who have studied history can tell us.

So where did I get the title?
It came from a document called The Declaration of Arbroath. This document predates the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America by 436 years and was one of the documents used as a template for the Declaration of Independence. It was penned by Bernard, Abbot of Arbroath Abbey, who was also Chancellor of Scotland.
The reasons why this document was written, are long and complex, but suffice it to say they wanted the English to leave them alone and stop trying to annex them. They wanted physical, political and religious freedom. The most famous lines being………
…for, as long as but one hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom – for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.

However, the freedom of which I speak goes beyond that asked for by the long established Parliament of Scotland or the newly formed country of the United States of America. It is the freedom within, rather than the freedom without.
It is the lack of attachment to pain and offence, the release of need for punishment and retribution. It is the freedom of the soul.

When we are free in this way the behaviour of others does not effect us. We may be able to leave our home or we may not, but we hold no grudge. We may be the victim of racial, religious or gender intolerance but we are free from the intended arrows. We can see through ‘offence’ to the ’cause’ and know that it is not about ‘us’ but about ‘them’.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery said “I know but one freedom and that is the freedom of the mind”
I believe that the true freedom is of the soul and it lies entirely within my own grasp.

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Responses

  1. Jennifer, that’s fantastic. This reminds me of the scene in Braveheart when Mel Gibson’s character, William(?), shouts “Freedom” with his dying breath. It’s that committment to what is right by our soul, regardless of the consequences, that sets us free. “FREEDOM for all”!


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