“I have tasted freedom. I will not give up that which I have tasted.”–LGBT activist, Harvey Milk
Have you noticed certain people love their freedom so much that they actively try to suppress the liberty of others? On the other hand, have you also noticed people who love freedom so much that they do not give a care about personal responsibility? Isn’t there some sort of happy medium?
This is why I selected a quote by Harvey Milk. He devoted much of his life to the cause of freedom for the gay community and for human beings at large. He had a persistent character who inspired millions of people. Yet, in his heart, he was a free-spirit. He loved life and went for the gusto. Milk understood that he could not retain freedom if others could not exercise their freedom. He was not a pristine, pure soul, but then who of us is? Milk was simply a man pursuing freedom while actively and diligently seeking to enhance everyone’s freedom.
It has been taught by ancient wisdom traditions that wise people should be vigorously diligent and be a free-spirit while doing so. If we are too diligent we possess the death-dealing power of austerity but lack the life-giving power of freedom. Without a healthy balance between these two forces, how can we develop as well-rounded, joyful people?
That freedom and liberty cannot be attained and protected without due diligence and sacrifice is borne out by reading the histories of modern nations. Great suffering took place and continues in many areas in countries like India, Zimbabwe, and the United States. Some measure of freedom was attained through the suffering and struggles of freedom loving people. Yet, there remained a joie de vivre amongst some of the activists that maintained morale and motivation within the freedom movements. After all, what good is freedom if you cannot enjoy it?
“I was ecstatic they re-named ‘French Fries’ as ‘Freedom Fries’. Grown men and women in positions of power in the U.S. government showing themselves as idiots.”–Johnny Depp
One way to show one’s love for freedom is through the power of humor and ridicule. Whether or not one can get away with parody and satire measures the amount of freedom the people possess. Entertainers with sharp wit are probably unwelcome in Pyongyang, North Korea yet they proliferate in places such as the United Kingdom.
“Your true traveller finds boredom rather agreeable than painful. It is the symbol of his liberty–his excessive freedom. He accepts his boredom, when it comes, not merely philosophically, but almost with pleasure.”–Aldous Huxley
Not only travelers, but all of us can take away Huxley’s opinion about boredom. We learn to become diligent and vigorous in learning patience, yet we can find a certain type of joy in doing so. It is possible to go through times of austerity and rigorous struggle yet harbor the glow of freedom and joy. It’s mainly a matter of taking life in stride.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes 20th century architect and urban planner, Arthur Erickson. “Modernism released us from the constraints of everything that had gone before with a euphoric sense of freedom.”