I’ve always thought I was free.
Until I discovered I really wasn’t.
The philosopher Slavoj Žižek says, “We feel free because we lack the very language to articulate our unfreedom.”
We don’t realize we are not free until we touch the border. Like the film “The Truman Show”… he didn’t realize he wasn’t free until he got a peek outside the studio.
Žižek claims that there is a difference between “formal freedom” and “actual freedom“.
Formal freedom is when we are permitted to make choices within a given system or ideology.
Actual freedom is when we question the very structure that grants us formal freedom to the point of undermining its power over us altogether.
The short leash lets us live with permission to make choices within the system without upsetting it.
We thought a longer leash would be more freedom. But it’s not! It’s still operating under the tolerance of the system and those with power within it.
True, authentic, actual freedom means we are willing to put everything at stake.
Even our own existence.
I can’t tell you how this applies to your situation, but you must ask yourself some honest questions:
Am I truly and actually free?
Or am I living under certain conditions within a formal and limited freedom?
It’s when we realize we must be who we are and do what we must do.
Freedom isn’t a longer leash.
Even my dog knows that.