Freedom is one of the most important concepts that people understand. It is the ability to act and think as you please, without restraint or restriction. Many people think of freedom in a political context, such as the ability to vote for whomever you want or not to be constrained by certain laws. Others think of it in a financial sense, such as not having any debt or being able to buy whatever you wish. Some people also consider spiritual freedom to be an essential aspect of human life.
There are many different possible definitions of freedom, ranging from the ability to do what you want whenever you want to the absence of all constraints, including those imposed by society or the state. However, most people define freedom in terms of the absence of external limitations and restrictions. This can be problematic for those who feel that they have been robbed of their freedom, such as those living in dictatorships. In fact, it is often more accurate to say that those who are free do not feel they need to obey the law or that their freedom is regulated by an outside authority.
Rather, as Kant suggested, true freedom is the ability to act in accordance with your own ideas and values. He also argued that this true freedom requires discipline and self-control, as well as the ability to recognize and acknowledge constraints and limits. This is why it is important to discuss and agree upon what you believe is true freedom, as it allows you to identify when your actions are not in accordance with your values.
The ideal level of freedom would be if you had an unerring idea of what is good and how to achieve it, then experienced no impediment to pursuing that goal. This is sometimes described as having a “single point of reference.” It might be likened to the mind of a Buddha or a perfect being. Unfortunately, there are many internal and external impairments to this level of freedom that can affect the way we live our lives.
In practice, people experience freedom based on their ability to overcome the barriers they face. For example, if you are free to bang on piano keys randomly, but you do not have an instructor to guide your actions, you will not produce beautiful music. On the other hand, if you have an instructor who helps you to discipline yourself, you will be able to play the piano beautifully.
Similarly, if you are free to vote for whoever you want, but you do not understand the value of other rights and freedoms such as privacy or property, you may not appreciate how much you have been freed from tyranny by your democracy. This is the reason why it is important to understand and respect the freedoms of others, as they are vital to the proper functioning of a healthy democracy.