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Freedom

Café-Salon Philosophique #66

August 19, 2000

No. of Participants: 9

Topic for Discussion: "Freedom"

Samuel welcomed one and all to our Café gathering. Group discussion began with talking about the opening of the Flatiron Crossing Mall, and the impact that this might possibly have on Boulder's local economy and small business enterprises.

We also discussed the pretense of materialism and shopping today; and how the media and advertising hypnotize us into buy! buy! buy! Outside authorities define and encourage the "must have" way of living and being. We learn to maintain the "in" styles.

Then, several minutes after tossing around various topics, the group decided to talk about freedom. Samuel asked individual participants to define their ideas of freedom. Joy said, "freedom is the ability to be able to choose how I want to live my life."

Damien enjoys "freedom of speech" - the "ability to stand up for what you believe in." He believes though, one can't be "too vocal" or "too visible" or you can run into trouble with the law, government, or worse yet, end up in jail! "Get what you need from the event, organization or group, and then walk away and do something with the information."

It is sad, but true, most structured organizations do everything that they can to suppress, depress, control and manipulate the company, group or individual. It depends upon the degree to which the ego is working.

Organizations and agencies will "pretend" that they are looking out for your best interest, and support individual thinking and creativity, but when it comes down to it, they want you to act and behave according to company policies. Outside authorities want you to be the way they want you to be instead of you being your self. "It is hard to be your self when others want you to be a certain way," said Damien.

The next question was, "Does one have the freedom to be?" We discussed how one has to be conscious of one's own actions. To have good common sense, to know what is right/wrong, good and evil. But, everyone has their own interpretation of what consciousness is, in their own minds, so whose rules do you live by?

Humans can distort reality. It is easy to twist, shape and form ideas into the way we want to believe. Honesty is a rare commodity now days. The mass majority of people don't have a clue as to what total honesty is. So, we continue to wear masks, play the game, speak half-truths, ignore the situation for what it really is, and find ways to distract our selves from knowing anything about real self honesty or our own self truths.

Samuel commented on how throughout history, kings and people of the high courts would call upon the false prophets for information. In this way, they would hear what they wanted to hear, rather than having to acknowledge the truth. False prophets also gave them justification for their actions.

Rarely, were the true prophets called upon to speak truths. The true prophets had to live silently among the people or risk extermination.

This made Isabelle question, "Is there really freedom without consequences? What about moral and ethical considerations?"

She said, "we need to take these into consideration when talking about freedom." Samuel agreed that "freedom must be ascertained with a certain sense of justice, morals and without bringing harm to others." There are universal and karmic consequences for one's actions - a circular, cyclic effect. "What comes around, goes around." Also, "What you put out, is what you get back."

"Most people, truly don't know what freedom is. For most people, freedom remains a fantasy. We dream while carrying on our daily obligations."

"Most people spend time vaguely talking about what they want, what they think is missing, why they don't have it, and who prevents them from being free."

"Many don't recognize the need to choose to do. You can be free without changing the world. You can do what you want, you just don't know it......Pre-occupation and restraint blocks your choice for freedom. We accept certain assumptions as the truth which causes the restrictions."(*Browne, H., pg. 3-7)

Freedom is the window for opportunity to grow and expand the mind and body intelligence. Freedom is the choice to live life as you want to live it. But, people always find reasons for not changing. Those that know themselves are unaffected by the outside world. They walk through the world in the "midst of madness" without being affected. Samuel says, "there must be effort married with freedom in order to know thy self."

Discussion then moved to talking about how "original" plans and ideas can become disassembled and distorted in the fast pace, hectic world of technology and materialism.

Isabelle gave the example of how the Declaration of Independence was originally designed to give Americans a variety of freedoms, but now over the years of "complex legislation," the true meaning of the Declaration has totally been distorted. Samuel remembers when he was studying the Constitution and Declaration of Independence how lucky we were as a country to have such documents. He innocently thought that all Americans were practicing under these great documents. He was very surprised to learn that this wasn't true, and most Americans were very apathetic towards the government.

Isabelle believes that our Society focuses more on the global economy rather than freedom in America.

Eli thinks, the degree to which we are free, depends upon the level of education one has experienced. She says in this competitive world, "knowing things" helps us to navigate through it. But, she also knows that education can be a form of conditioning towards a particular way of thinking, and we can get locked into a limited mindset.

Milica and Chelsey showed up later in the meeting. Samuel introduced them to the topic and asked them to "define what freedom means to them."

Milica who is from Montenegro shared the differences in the ability to be free in her country versus America. She misses her homeland, but says there is not much of a future there for her or the educational opportunities that there are here in America.

Her father wants her to come back and visit. She has mixed feelings about going back to her country, because she's afraid she is going to have to live up to other people's expectations.

Chelsey likes the idea of freedom. She does not want to be pulled down by others. She wants to be able to have the space and time to build her own ideals in private and in secret.

Chelsey likes to hang around Milica because "she is interested in more things than video games." They enjoy shared interests of art and philosophy. "Milica is funny, intelligent, and someone you can have a great conversation with," she added.

Samuel then asked group participants to share what they had learned tonight. Janet doesn't think she can be free, because she's lived and hasn't experienced it. Eli has goals in mind that she would like to accomplish such as writing and getting out of debt. She believes we are somewhat limited in what we do, or otherwise we would go to jail.

She also thinks that even though there are some limits, there is some flexibility. Also, to her, within the limits, is ultimate freedom.

Isabelle thinks freedom is an illusion. She believes one needs to exercise their own ability to be free. She finds that there are limitations in work. She finds life limited by the expectations of others in society.

Damien says freedom for him would be clarity of mind. Knowing who you are.......

"We do have choices. One can be their own sovereign ruler." Decisions need to be based on what you already know and have learned. Samuel says to "never make the same mistake twice." Learn from your experience.

Do you resign your choices to Society? Do you give in to the demands and wishes of others? Do they control your decision making? Get out of the traps! Secure your self financially, intellectually and emotionally. Muster up your courage, self reliance, vigilance, persistence and honesty. Know your dreams and desires. Be adventuresome. Can you be honest with your self and open to change?(*Browne, H., ibid)

Our next Café meeting will be held September 9, 2000 at the Boulder Bookstore at 1107 Pearl St. in Boulder, Colorado. Start time is 6:30 p.m. Bring a friend and an exciting new topic.

See you there!

Reported by Alessandra

___________________________

*Browne, Harry. "How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World." A Handbook for Personal Liberty. Liam Works, Great Falls, 1933. (25th Edition)

 

"Samuel brings awareness to the soul of people and gives the artists who work under his direction the need, dedication, and love for the world of silence and the beautiful art of movement."

 

- Marcel Marceau, BIP 1961

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LCDS is an independent school for self-discovery through the human Arts.  The school offers seminars and workshops teaching the concepts of Theater, Mime, and Movement.