(This piece is the first in a series titled “Freedom” on the network.)
When we first began to write for “Freedom”,
We couldn’t quite decide what standpoint to write from.
Who were we? And what were we seeking freedom from? And, in what form?
What does it mean to us to be “free”?
Are we women, children, men, unhappy people – of our own doing or wrong done unto us?
And if we can attribute it to someone or something, who or what is to blame for our lost or missing freedom?
Well, we had to begin somewhere to find out.
And we did.
If we look back far enough, we all came from the jungle. A world of big fish eat small fish. A world where might was always right. After all, it was about the survival of the fittest. So where do values like freedom, justice and love fit into all this?
Technically, we were free.
We were free to kill to eat.
We were free to feel.
So, we did have feelings as we do now.
How right we were to kill, how right we were to feel and how right we were to do as we pleased because of how we felt and what we thought we needed, are questions we are constantly evolving to be able to answer even today.
But the jungle wasn’t just a world of big fish eat small fish.
It was a community – fishing, hunting and farming together.
Yes, in fights, ‘might’ mattered.
But so did caring for the weak, the elderly and the young.
From that standpoint, it’s pretty clear:
Life isn’t just about the survival of the fittest.
It’s also the survival of the most cooperative.
In that sense, therefore, freedom, justice, love and a lot else truly define who we are and who we can be.
So let us step out of the jungle now. Look around you. The chances are that you are surrounded by a concrete urban world of roads and rules, industries and IT parks, cafes and corporates, Wi-Fi and ever more connected, wired networks.
The question is, who are you in all of this? Who are we in all of this?
Have we become fragmentized, atomized individuals, manipulated by political promises, social media timelines and our own biases? Or do concepts like freedom and justice exist beyond the limits set by what is convenient for those who hold power?
The game changes every day and no one seems to be completely up to speed with the rules. We would have to take a closer look at what it means to be human in an age of a raging climate crisis, declining democracy and the virulent rise of hatred, cruelty and bigotry.
Because if we can understand where we are, we might just be able to tell and change where we’re headed.
(This Rant was co-authored by Rahul Bhandare. We owe him too much. From our birth unto wherever we go from here…)
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