2020 May Be the Year Humankind Gets It Right


The world has never faced such perilous challenges for freedom as it does today. The coronavirus pandemic and systemic racism have tested the concept of freedom like never before, and 2020 may prove to be the year that humankind finally gets it right.

The term “freedom” has many different meanings. It can be used to describe an action or an attribute of a person, such as their ability to freely express themselves or choose their own path in life. It can also refer to a state of being – the ability to live in peace without being constrained by government or society. The idea of freedom has been the inspiration for many great ideas and movements in history, from the American Revolution to the Four Freedoms of Franklin D. Roosevelt, which represented the rights and liberties for which allied nations fought in World War II.

Some people believe that there is a fundamental level of freedom innate in all human beings, something that they have to work hard to achieve or rediscover. They believe that the perfect expression of this freedom would be to have an unerring idea of what is good and the capacity to realize it, without experiencing any impairments to pursuing it. This kind of freedom could be experienced by a god or a Buddha, but for most people, it is only possible to approximate.

A more common understanding of freedom is that it has to do with choice. It is the ability to act as one desires, within a certain set of constraints. For example, one might not be free to break the law or steal property, but they might have freedom to freely choose their friends and what to wear.

In this sense, freedom is an essential ingredient for any system that wants to claim it is fair and just. For example, democracy is the only form of government that genuinely supports freedom, and its success depends on people having the ability to freely choose their leaders and policies.

This sense of freedom also lies behind the notion of freedom of speech and religion, and it is what people who have been incarcerated or enslaved hope to gain by escaping or revolting against their oppressors. The United Nations Secretary-General has spoken of the need to ensure that all humans have the freedoms outlined in the Declaration of Human Rights. These include freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of assembly, which protect the right to meet with others and collectively express opinions, pursue political interests or religious beliefs, without being subjected to any restrictions by government or private entities. The Declaration also recognizes the need for freedom from want, which includes the right to food, shelter and medical care. This freedom is the opposite of squalor and poverty, and it allows people to make choices that are in their own best interest. It is the most important freedom of all, and it is the key to a just and sustainable future for humanity.