I've spent most of my conscious life believing that freedom was really some kind of joke. It has always seemed to me that we're so defined by governmental laws, and social structures and patterns, that we don't have much choice in how we lead our lives. This is what I see now as a partial truth. Although because of our definitions and values, all these things are true, nothing is ever that black and white. We are compelled, in our society, to follow the social structure. I think of it as social energy, perhaps akin to Confucius' idea of psychic debt. There are rewards for being "successful" and punishments for not (lack of assets for social advancement based on consumer standards which could ultimately lead to destitution)
But we aren't bound to that path. We can choose not to be successful.(or be chosen, perhaps?) There is a remarkable range in society, within which people can assert themselves. A person living in poverty can commonly become extremely rich and possibly even famous. Also, there is a pattern within modern society that I think bares mentioning. Commonly manifesting in men, we ascend the social hierarchy, become successful, and then in a fit of despair, or a functional crisis, we throw it all away. Plunging into depression, loosing our jobs, spouses, etc. Scary thought?
I guess this is to say, be wary. But really my point is I feel blessed. I've had a remarkable amount of freedom in my life, to my detriment, I think. But, never the less, I've lived a very leisurely life. No concern for having my needs met; always having enough to satisfy my consumer ego, on some level. I am blessed with a contemplative side. I feel like I've been guided through life. I can, at least, reconcile my losses and disappointments. I can acknowledge life, my life, with all it's tragedy and suffering as something holy, something sacred.
To conclude my thoughts. It's remarkable that I've had access to the information I have and the grace to understand it. It's a journey and a ever present obstacle, but I am filled with love and lust for life. I feel that life is a gift, and I'm fortunate to live in an age of such freedom of thought and activity. We are denied many things in our society. At least we can find meaning in our own lives. At least there are laws that preserve our basic humanity. At least progress is guided by Spirit enough to allow us to inform ourselves. We can finally transcend all of these social dilemmas and unnecessary tragedies. We can move past physical determination and define ourselves, if we have the courage. At least there is a bright future to embrace.