Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Where Does Oppression End And Freedom Begin?

What does it mean to be “free”? To be “free” from oppression perhaps? Freedom is often touted as being the most absolute of ideals, at least according to “free” societies. If one is oppressed but unaware of this, is he still oppressed and ultimately “imprisoned”?

In other words, is freedom an intrinsic ideal or is lack of freedom wrong or evil only when it is recognized by the oppressed? If oppression is only so if recognized as such, perhaps we should not be so quick to judge others as being oppressed if they do not know it.

On the other hand, I suspect many will claim freedom is an intrinsic ideal and therefore lack of freedom need not be recognized by the oppressed to be wrong or evil. But in this case, how would anybody know he himself is not one of the oppressed and therefore a “prisoner” himself?

For example, many seem so fated to follow a certain path in life only because they follow the path of least resistance or the path that simply "follows the herd". Or how about many who simply acquiesce to the “demands” of society to determine what path should be followed? Might this explain why job satisfaction seems so lacking even during prosperous times? The young and impressionable seem so apt to follow societal norms when a careful analysis of themselves just might reveal this to be unwise and lead to depression because it prevents them from being who they genuinely are.

Might the world be better off if people were not controlled by this norm and were thus able to just "be themselves”? What about those of us with seemingly beyond instinctive tendencies to be prejudicial and judgmental? Might childhood indoctrination be responsible for this and thus itself be a form of oppression? 

Many will be angry at this because much of this indoctrination involves long-held and cherished beliefs. But I am not against beliefs themselves, only the usage of them to indoctrinate the very impressionable among us, especially children, as this can likely cause “oppression” later in life.

If this is so, maybe we should become free ourselves before worrying about freeing others simply to follow our “superior” version of oppression, which we are no doubt unaware of.

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