Real Talk – I’m being honest here… I’ve thought about a 100 times before hitting publish on this post. I’m publishing it anyway. I know that a few people will have different opinions with me on this one, some may even have extreme views and questions/doubts, but still, here I am. I am expressing my thoughts as and how they are.
Here we go…
As we develop a sophisticated understanding of freedom, we start realizing that we must assume responsibility to make things better, writes a well known Indian yogi.
Freedom is for love. It is given to man as a task to be accomplished. There is no freedom without truth — Pope John Paul II
Today, we need to tell our youth over and over again that our enemies are not those who live in our neighbourhood, or those who are ethnically or religiously different from us; our main enemies are found within ourselves. Our main task is to create out of ourselves kind, compassionate and caring human beings. This is an awesome task, but it is truly a worthy task. Our duty is to learn how to relate to people, especially members of our family, society and nation in a positive way. Our youth have forgotten how to relate one to another. They have become estranged. Our youth’s main task is to attack their own problems, realising that almost all their problems are caused because of what is happening within them and not because of an outside threat.
We need to fill the vacuum which exists in our society with a positive value, and introduce in our schools and colleges, a positive set of basic human values which recognizes the world’s (or atleast every individual country’s) religious, cultural and ethnic diversity.
There are two types of freedoms. There is freedom of and freedom from. There is freedom of religion, speech, and assembly, which are basically negative freedoms. These freedoms say that nobody can prevent us from expressing our opinion, but they do not tell us what to do. There is also freedom from, which is a positive freedom. For example, freedom from hunger, disease, poverty, corruption, illiteracy, and unemployment. This means that society must take upon itself the goal, not only of not discriminating against people and of not limiting people’s freedom, but also the goal of seeing to it that everyone is fed and housed, given access to health services as well. It must establish strict environmental controls, provide education and employment to all and wipe out c o r r u p t i o n through good governance.
However, these freedoms clash. Then how can we balance these conflicting freedoms? Man’s main task in life is to work for himself, to improve himself, to self-discipline himself enough so that he can become immune to the negative influences around him and be able to help correct society’s ills. Religion’s main concern is to give people positive goals, goals which allow them to interact with others in a positive way, goals which allow them to help bring about justice, peace, harmony, and prosperity to everyone.
We both need freedom of and freedom from. We have to learn how to mix them in a correct measure so that freedom of does not become completely selfish and freedom from does not become completely totalitarian and only religion can fill up the value gap in our society. However, religion too must recognize that it needs democracy. Democracy can provide a structure, whereas religion must supply the internal goals which will make the outer structure stable. Religion and democracy both must always work together. Democracy has a mechanism for resolving conflicts and we must remember that religion is not the enemy of democracy.
Religious extremism is dangerous, not merely to the immediate victims of hatred and terror. It undermines the humanity of the extremists themselves. It threatens the fabric of human civilization. It is a disgrace to religion and a desecration of God’s name. A vibrant and free society is characterised by rights and responsibilities by complaints and compliance by responsive leadership.
As we develop a more sophisticated understanding of freedom, we move beyond complaining and demanding and start to realize that we ourselves must assume responsibility to make things better. Each person needs to do his share. True freedom must entail a sense of empowerment, prodding each person to exert to resolve the problems of self, family, community, and society as a whole.
Let us all hope and pray that our youth will quickly learn that the emptiness they feel within can be filled by attaching themselves to basic human values, which emphasize self-improvement and correction of society’s inequities, without destroying the freedom of democracy.
Feel free to ask any questions or share your ideas in the comment section below. Alternately, I’d really appreciate for you to share this content on your social media platform if you found it useful so that others can benefit from it too. If you have any doubts or want a personal clarification, send me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org. For more inspiration, fun, and smiles, follow me on Instagram
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—–Have Hope. Keep Faith—–
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