One of the defining aspects of our generation is the quest for personal freedom. We are a generation that is skeptical of authorities and traditions. We have seen the abuses and hypocrisies of the past – be it religious institutions, governmental authorities or educators. We see that many of the proposed answers of the past have only done as much as put a bandaid on some of society’s deepest troubles. There is a very vivid push today to free ourselves, both as a society and as individuals many of the ideas of the past.
This then pushes up against the next big question, what is true freedom? Anytime you try to answer this question you are going to inevitably bring in some sort of moral judgement. We must be freed from such and such evil in order that we may experience such and such good. Anytime we are talking about fighting for freedom we are talking about liberating humanity from some sort of wrong state and into some sort of, more right, state. In essence we are talking about a right way to live, a order for life the way it should be.
Freedom is never merely from something; it is always into something. We are always asserting a new and presumably better order of life. The crucial question to ask today is what is that something for which we are fighting? This is the question that is not given much attention today. It seems like we are fighting for freedom for the sake of freedom. A freedom from the old, oppressive ways, but not into anything concrete.
This is a red flag that we must see. As we realize that real freedom is not just the absence of all rules or principles, but merely the presence of the right ones, we realize that someone or something is always the source of our rules in life. Unfortunately, our modern search for freedom often pushes this very central question out.
So, we can see that the heart of our search for real freedom is not as much about destroying past ideas and traditions, as much as it is about identifying a proper foundation for all that we think and do in life. This is really the question we are after.
Thus the question stands – who or what is your source of rules and principles in life? How do you know that the “freedom” that you are trying to get to will really be freedom? How do you know that it will be better than what you had yesterday?