Today is not really a good day because I have fever, and it caused my nose to run freely. Then, as I lay resting on my bed, trying to recover from my fever, this thought runs through my head freely like Usain Bolt running across the track – the Price of Freedom. Sounds like a good topic for a Hollywood blockbuster. I think it is just me trying to recover from my fever.
Freedom seems to be the word that is being spoken so much that many seems to lost its true meaning. In anime Attack on Titan/Shingeki no Kyojin, its definition varies whether you are a Marleyan or an Eldian. For Eren, an Eldian, his initial meaning of freedom is to be free from the giant walls that confines them and make them feel like a prey instead of a hunter. During colonialist time, the definition of freedom means to be free from the colonist, regardless of where you are from, and where you reside. As for Marleyan, their freedom is only when Eldian’s Paradis island is crushed, or so they think.
Definition of freedom varies from one person to another, but the fundamental idea persists – the state of being free, perhaps free from anything that is plaguing you. Nobody likes to be colonised or invaded, and everyone likes the idea to be free. Right now, I want to be free from my fever. Probably, somewhere out there someone is dreaming to be free from poverty, and someone else are dreaming of being free from their debt, and attain their financial freedom.
What is Freedom?
Oxford has a few definition of freedom, including the power or right to act, speak or think as one wants- but the one that I want to relate to this context is the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved. It can be anything, be it being able to go wherever we want or having not being bounded by financial constraint. Like many working-class Malaysians, I am not free yet financially, and have to work in order to gain my freedom from debts, loans and everything else. I always ask myself, when will this be over? When I can be able to be free from any kind of debts? Therefore, whatever that I have now is to pay-off the loans that I have. I sure you are too.
For some people, freedom can be something truly basic – freedom to love. They might be separated miles apart from the one that they love. Or someone who is very near to one another but cannot be near because they are bounded by religion, or race, or even in this day and age, acceptance to another orientation. Or, freedom to get the basic necessities like clean water and education. The list is endless.
Among many quotes about freedom, one of the best is by reggae legend, Bob Marley:
“Better to die fighting for freedom than be a prisoner all the days of your life.” – Bob Marley
You are not truly free until you have no need to impress anybody.
Why it is important?
Why? You might ask me why? I have asked few peoples on this. Why freedom is important? They want to do whatever they want. They want to speak their mind. They want to achieve their goals. They want to achieve their financial target. They don’t want to live from hand to mouth (kais pagi, makan pagi). The common theme is – they want to do whatever they want.
Human brain, even though it is very big, but the caveman brain still the decision-maker – our limbic brain. Our limbic brain is simple – either you fight, or flight. In this case, freedom is the goal and it has to be achieved, no matter what. And to achieve it, that’s where the modern-brain comes to the rescue.
How to achieve it?
Depending on your freedom of choice, there are many ways around it. I want to simplify it into three major topics, which I often encounter during my course of life:
- Freedom to express yourself
- Financial freedom
- Freedom from diseases
First one, freedom to express yourself, especially at your workplace or wherever you are. All of us have this FEAR in our mind, but it is just only False Evidence Appearing Real. If you want to be able to speak your mind, you need to start small first. The first thing that you would need to convince is yourself, that you can and able to speak your mind. If you cannot convince yourself, then no matter what others do, you cannot do it. You should try to speak to those close to you. Once your confidence slowly builds up, then try to speak it up to the person you are acquainted with. Finally, you will be able to talk to your management level. I know it sounds idealistic, but if you never try, you’ll never know.
Another common example that I want to talk about is the fear to speak to your crush. Tinder will not be able to help you if you do not want to help yourself. If Thorsten did not speak up, then he would not be able to let Princess Joy Villa know his feeling. If our parents did not talk to one another, then we would be brought to this world. I can bring you to meet your crush, but if you don’t want to speak up, then she/he would not be able to know your true feelings towards him/her. The sparks will not fly by itself. It has to be initiated.
Secondly, financial freedom. This one, as difficult as it seems, it can be summarised in few words. You have to control yourself. Earn more than what you can spend, and do not buy meaningless products. Do not fall to instant gratification. Keep this habit for few years, and you will be able to be free. Once you are free, help others to gain their financial freedom. I am still working on myself now.
Thirdly, freedom from diseases. Many of the top killer diseases in Malaysia is avoidable if we live a healthy lifestyle. Some might seem fit, since they always go to gym, exercise regularly, but then they fall sick. Something must not be right, either they always stay up and cut short their sleep or they drink alcohol and smoke. If it is physically and mentally can and doable, try to avoid those things. Avoid alcohol consumption, smoking and start to exercise. Another eating habit that I commonly observe among my peers are the habit of drinking while eating, which is not good especially iced-drinks. That is a combination of disaster. I have practiced myself to not to drink anything while I am eating and drink only warm water one hour after meal. So far it works. For the past 11 years I have been practicing it. The result? Ask anyone who have met me personally. You are most welcomed to try.
In the end of the day, everyone wants to be free, but it is totally up to the person to be able to pay the price or not. I am a strong believer that our God is truly fair, and the reward is only given to those who strive to get the price. If freedom is what you desire, then work for it. Leave your comments/feedbacks below, and have a great day ahead!
Ever since I am using Leica M cameras, I am free from heavy weight on my shoulder. As long as I can, I will always be an M-shooter. The best thing now is I don’t have to impress anyone, and just need to create an image that makes me happy. That freedom is good enough for me.
All images © Claudius Weson Photography (2018)