Do we have unlimited freedom


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Summary: Freedom is a universal sentiment and has been so granted even by law. But in practice it is subject to several constraints. Resolution of these constraints demands perpetual intellectual efforts. Often freedom does not mean more than freedom to perform one’s duties without fear of repercussions and reservations. It does not mean freedom to enjoy one’s whims and fancies.

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Do we have unlimited freedom

  1. 1. Do We have Unlimited Freedom?Summary: Freedom is a universal sentiment and has been so granted even by law.But in practice it is subject to several constraints. Resolution of these constraintsdemands perpetual intellectual efforts. Often freedom does not mean more thanfreedom to perform one’s duties without fear of repercussions and reservations. Itdoes not mean freedom to enjoy one’s whims and fancies.Freedom is a universal sentiment which we all relish. We all have a craving forfreedom. Freedom to enjoy life according to our values, preferences, selections,interests, fantasies, whims and fancies etc. is something we all desire. We all haveidiosyncrasies and we want the freedom to enjoy them too.In USA, there is even a Statue of Liberty. Article 21 of Constitution of India confersupon its citizens, fundamental right to life and liberty. I presume that this must betrue of constitutions of other nations also. Ironically, the fundamental right toliberty is ambiguous in its statement with inbuilt contradiction. It is ambiguousbecause it leaves freedom undefined and moreover, freedom can never be total.It is self-contradictory because each and every law is a constraint on humanfreedom. Twentieth century has witnessed several social movements designatedas freedom movements. Teenagers can often be seen singing the tune “This is mylife”. Spouses can often be seen breaking homes to enjoy personal freedom. Theircraving for personal freedom prevails over the need to have homes. Even womenliberation movements have moved in the direction of freedom unlimited.So freedom is individually, socially and legally recognized sentiment. Freedom iseasy to dream but difficult to realize. Because of conflict of interests in humansociety, one has to struggle throughout one’s life to achieve and sustain freedom.Human freedom is subject to several constraints. 1. Material constraints: One can enjoy one’s freedom only from the material position one is holding at the given moment, like Nero by virtue of his material position had the liberty to enjoy burning Rome. Since material
  2. 2. position evolves over a period of time, hence historical or time dependent constraints to freedom are inevitable. 2. Natural Laws: As stated before that every law is a constraint on human freedom, same is true of natural laws as well. Nature does not function in derogation of its laws. Hence relevant natural laws determine scope, limits and potential of available freedom. 3. Man made laws: Law in human society, in the absence of proper understanding of its nature has evolved into a plethora of mutually conflicting principles or a jig saw puzzle upon which judiciary is supposed to adjudicate in the final analysis. Therefore in the absence of proper definition of fundamental rights, all the fundamental rights are subject to descriptive and narrative, event specific definitions evolved by the esteemed judiciary. Even the well defined legal rights are subject to compliance with large number of so called procedural laws, administrative laws, contractual obligations, customs and usage, systemic infirmities etc. Hence no legal right is absolute; it is always subject to a plethora of attendant conditions. 4. Rationality: The general demand for rationality as we see in human conduct is because nature is self-organizing. Anything can exist and function within the constraints of some harmonized ‘order’ and ‘system’ only. Teilhard de Chardin has summed up the general nature of organization in nature as “a distinct centre radiating at the core of systems of centers”. It implies that nature is organized in to self sustaining units or harmonious wholes and each and every unit has to exist in harmonious interaction with surrounding units. But contradictions’ being inherent in nature such as desire for freedom is antithetical to the need for discipline. Therefore, for anything to exist and function, it has to dynamically and harmoniously resolve all the contradictions it faces all the time. In day to day living in human society it transforms into test of reasonableness of conduct, fair-play and justice.Therefore, even though emotionally we all stand for unlimited freedom but in factit is a mirage. We need to understand limits to our freedom as well its scope. Wemust learn the manner in which freedom is to be enjoyed. We can enjoy ourfreedom only by following the path of reasonableness, fairness and justice.
  3. 3. Otherwise, we are bound to run into additional contradictions and controversieswhich besides being detrimental to our freedom are bound to be self destructiveand socially disruptive. It demands a perpetual intellectual effort. So thesentiment of freedom can’t be enjoyed without commensurate intellectualefforts. This is precisely the reason that if you are in conflict with a fool, you don’thave to hang the fool, the fool will hang himself. You only have to facilitate hismovement in the right direction.Human freedom has as many facets as diversity of human activities, wants,desires and duties. Material definition of freedom is bound to be contextdependent but the underlying essence has to be dynamic balancing of variousfactors and need for harmony in pursuance of defined goals and objectives.. Itsdetermination may often demand intellectual efforts besides sentiment offreedom. So, merely granting fundamental right to freedom or constructingStatute of Liberty or echoing the sentiment of freedom time and again bycelebrating Independence Day year after year is not enough. It requires perpetualintellectual efforts.To circumvent difficulties due to constraints upon human understanding, this taskhas often been performed by great thinkers of the past as well as the present inthe shape of religious prescriptions, legal principles, morals and ethics etc. even ifwith imperfections.In general, in material terms, freedom only means freedom to perform one’sduties without fear of repercussions or reservations. Duties are contextdependent and therefore may vary according to nature of relationship, faiths,beliefs, religious prescription, peer group prescriptions, ethics and moralsdetermined by professional bodies, law whether natural or man-made etc.Therefore deprivation of freedom only means preventing an individual fromenjoying performance of his duties. It does not and it can’t mean freedom to actaccording to one’s whims and fancies or without any rhyme and reason. Author: Dr Mahesh C. Jain is a practicing medical doctor has written the book “Encounter of Science with Philosophy – A synthetic view”. The book begins with
  4. 4. first chapter devoted to scientifically valid concept of God and then explainscosmic phenomena right from origin of nature and universe up to origin of lifeand evolution of man. The book includes several chapters devoted to auxiliaryconcepts and social sciences as corollaries to the concept of God. This article isinspired by author’s understanding of nature.Visit:http://