Freedom is a Double-Edged Sword


The world is ever-evolving. Along with the interconnectedness of the world through technological and scientific advances, freedom has become a prevalent aspect of most societies. Merely a century ago, multigenerational occupation was commonplace. A job was passed on through generations, a family being glued to one geographical landscape. Now, we have the ability to break patterns and set foot on an individual path.

Furthermore, we have an abundance of information available at our fingertips. The last man to allegedly “know everything” was a scientist named Thomas Young, who died in 1829. Today, our smartphones carry so much knowledge that all of it would be unattainable in a hundred lifetimes. 

We have the freedom to design our lives, the freedom to acquire knowledge. We have the freedom to learn about our psychology and to overcome fears. The freedom that is afforded us can give us life, yet it can also make us miserable. 

“Freedom Can Give Us a Life, Yet it Can Also Make Us Miserable.”

Our life is truly in our hands. While we used to be able to blame our family or situation, this is hardly a viable option anymore. Thus, if we find ourselves in a depressed state of personal dissatisfaction, it is painful to realize that we are accountable. 

Freedom is a constant reminder of our shortcomings. It can be a pool of opportunity, yet it can also be a gloomy shadow. The pain of neglecting one’s values and personal priorities is only strengthened by the realization that we are the masters controlling our mind. 

Freedom Allows Us To Take Control

While neglecting the value of freedom can be distressing, accepting freedom as a mental companion can give you strength through dire circumstances.

Victor Frankl spent three years in Nazi concentration camps. He maintained his mental dignity and will to live, which allowed him to be alive when the gates of Auschwitz were opened. Within a year of physical freedom, he wrote a book called ‘Man’s Search For Meaning’.

In his book, he defines the value of the inalienable human right of mental freedom. No matter which level of physical anguish he had to endure, his mind was free.

Based on this idea, Frankl came up with logotherapy, highlighting that every life always has a meaning. He emphasized that every person can find meaning in their life, in whichever circumstance, as long as they have the will to find it. 

“If You Have The Will, You Can Always Find The Meaning To Your Life.” 

Victor Frankl recognized and fostered his mind’s freedom, even while living in the most wretched environment. This is the double-edged sword of freedom: We have the ability to mentally overcome every hardship, yet we are also accountable for failing to do so. 

Finding ourselves in a dark mental rut, it is agonizing to think that we are responsible for it. Simultaneously, it is encouraging to realize that we have the power to pick ourselves up again. 

We are the masters of our mind and can guide our mind to sunshine, despite rain. Such a journey can be laborious, yet it is also the deepest level of respect we can pay to our mind and to our inert liberty. Our inalienable mental freedom needs us to embark on this journey. 

This acceptance is the precursor of true integrity. 

Severin Mudd, December 28th 2018

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