I just saw Into the Wild, directed by Sean Penn, and realized that all that I´ve been writing and thinking about lately has got to do with the search and meaning of freedom.
Except, as S. pointed out, freedom is such a vague concept. Most people tend to confuse it with being able to fulfill one´s wishes, which would make us fall into a discussion about happiness. It is impossible to use words as such today, without a context. The only sure thing is that there are people deprived of freedom, but again being in prison for instance, doesn´t necessarily mean you´re not free.
“Rather than Love, than Money, than Fame, give me Truth” Thoreau
Into the Wild is based on a true story, that of Chris McCandless, who left everything and everyone behind and went North. He was searching for trueness as a resistance and heroic act against capitalism and consumerism, which in his case seems to have been an excuse to rebel against his parents in the first place. Despite this, one´s admiration for his action doesn´t diminish. Though some did call it plain stupidity, for Chris died alone and in pain in Alaska, and according to the mountain patrol if he had had a simple hiking map with him he would have known that there was a bridge just a couple of miles away from where he tried to cross the river to get back to civilization.
His personal quest was about finding truth and freedom, and it involved getting into the wild, only to find in the end that there´s no point in happiness if you cannot share it with someone else.
This made me think. For my conception of freedom doesn´t involve getting back to nature and experience wilderness. But again, people keep telling me that I have absolutely no sense for nature. And it might be true… This week, I found out that my orchidee is dying from excess of water and, meanwhile taking a walk in the woods last weekend, I kept complaining about the smell of wild garlic, which is all over Leipzig this time of the year!!
For me, freedom means freedom of thought, to be able to surpass one´s apparently given limitations (educational, the condition´s one was brought in, the part of the world one was born in, life´s experiences, etc). At a certain point, in The Dogs Bark, Truman Capote interestingly says:
„the perils, the dooms of not perceiving and accepting the limits of one´s supposed identity, the classifications imposed by others – a bird that believes it is a dog, Van Gogh insisting that he was an artist, Emily Dickinson a poet. But without such misjudgments and such faiths, the seas would sleep, the eternal snows remain untracked“.
And that´s exactly on the point. For me, freedom of thought is the synonym for freedom itself. And it happens when you keep breaking out of the cage other people, and also yourself, imprison you in. Its a constant search for improvement, not settling for the role others attribute you or, you condemn yourself to.
When your mind is set in achieving freedom of thought, you are truly in a process to fulfill your potential.