What Does Freedom Mean to You?

Freedom is the ability to move and think without restriction or limitation. It allows us to explore new places and follow our passions. It is a natural right and essential to living a life that is meaningful.

Freedom means different things to different people. It can be a sense of liberty to speak, write, organize and act as one wishes, as well as the right to live as a citizen of a certain country and to vote. The right to choose one’s religion and to practice it as they wish is also a form of freedom. It can be a feeling of security to not fear for one’s safety or the ability to travel freely and meet people from all over the world.

The concept of freedom is a complex and evolving one. For example, the freedom of movement and speech are often cited by those who believe that it is a human right for every person to be free of all governmental controls such as taxes, immigration policies, gun laws, health regulations and censorship. Others may define freedom in terms of the right to choose one’s own religion, to form or join clubs, societies, trade unions or political parties with whomever they please and to gather in public for peaceable demonstrations or meetings. There are also those who believe that all people have an inherent right to a basic level of freedom, such as the freedom to eat, sleep and work in peace without interference or fear, regardless of their socioeconomic status or geographical location.

In the philosophical context, the ultimate expression of freedom would be found in a being who knew what was good and was unimpeded by ignorance of it or of the means to attain it. This is the state of perfection, as experienced by a God or Buddha. The greatest obstacles to freedom manifest themselves as internal impairments such as lack of motivation or an inability to work toward a goal, as well as external impairments such as physical and cultural barriers.

A broader definition of freedom can be seen in the way that a baby is born with some level of freedom in that they have the natural ability to find, suckle and leave a breast. Every action the baby takes after that, whether it be crying, cooing, walking or speaking a word, is a further extension of that initial freedom.

For this lesson, students will be divided into groups of four or five and given a freedom that they have been assigned to represent. Each group will create a tableau with their bodies, one showing a society that practices the assigned freedom and the other showing a society without it. Once each group is done presenting, the class will walk around and examine each tableau as if they were statues in a museum, noting what freedoms seemed to be missing from each. Groups will then quickly discuss what they saw and what they thought were lacking in each tableau.