Freedom as Responsibility

What does the word freedom mean to you? And does freedom come with responsibilities to others?

For me, freedom comes with responsibility.

Freedom means the right to think, speak, and live my truth while doing no harm.

I believe that our rights must be integrated with the rights of others as well as the responsibility to live as part of a greater whole. For me, that means living as a conscious citizen of my town, in one state of 50, in one country of  196, on one planet in one small solar system among the vast known universe.

I find this larger perspective helps me from getting too self-absorbed. As a former teacher once told us, “everything is important, yet nothing really matters in the long run”.

Alan Seal has this view on freedom and independence. ” I invite you to consider a different kind of independence this week as well. I invite you to declare your freedom from habitual beliefs and ways of thinking that may not serve you or a greater good any longer. I invite you to declare your independence from the “group mind” and consider for yourself what you think and believe about how life works. I invite you to expand beyond personal desires to consider what a “greater good” might look like in the world, and then to start living in service of that, whatever that might mean to you. I invite you to step into the shoes of someone with whom you have disagreements and expand your mind and heart beyond judgments of right and wrong, good and bad. Try this both with people in your personal circle as well as with people or public figures that you’ve never met. See what new discovery and understanding is waiting for you.”

Imagine a Global Independence Day that was about everyone setting themselves free from whatever holds them back from living their greatest potential in service of a greater good. Now that would be a day to celebrate!”

Freedom as Responsibility

In this country we often behave as cranky children demanding our rights, often with no concern for others. We have forgotten the wise words of John F. Kennedy to ” ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”. Currently in politics (and on Facebook too), we spend incredible amounts of time, money, and energy demonizing the “other”. Until we can integrate all people (talking and behaving as part of a larger whole), we will remain dysfunctional and ineffective in our politics, economic and environmental reforms. Maybe a good way to start is to remember that we are all on this spaceship called Earth together. Let’s take care of her, you, me, and each other to the best of our ability.

My vision for Independence Day is for everyone to behave as if we are all in this together. Let’s sit down and talk this out like neighbors and friends. Please remember to play nice like they told us in kindergarten. It’s time to create a shared vision for the country. Maybe a New Deal for the third millennium. One that recognizes our world citizenship.

To responsibility and freedom, balanced in love.

Happy Independence Day!


20 thoughts on “Freedom as Responsibility

  1. Brad: awesome post! I believe in helping this world as best as I can. It is not always easy, but I want to treat my neighbor as my brother. I want to have unconditional love for any and everyone because love is what makes earth a better place.

    I try to put myself in another person’s shoes, at least before I judge them and if I can’t put in feet in their shoes then it is best I place no judgement at all, right?

    The picture in your post is cool and I love the message! We should all be pledging allegiance to this earth and life on it then maybe people would care more about their neighbor.
    I live in Apts and for some odd reason I have been wanting to bake cookies for my next door neighbors. I mean, there are four of us an no one really has a good relationship with eachother beside the, “hi, how are you? I’m good. My day is good, blah, blah, blah”.
    Maybe if I show an act of random kindness it will improve my relationship with them.

    Just my two cents.

    Anyways, best wishes
    William Veasley


    • Hi William,

      Thank you for visiting and leaving an honest, thoughtful response. I liked the picture too, & found it on FB, but didn’t see a person to acknowledge & credit. I’m working on being less judgmental myself. My post about Freedom comes from a desire to balance my needs with those of others.Integrating and living these ideas is the work for me. It’s much easier to talk and write about them.

      I like your idea to bake cookies for your neighbors! Random acts of kindness are wonderful as long as we don’t expect something in return.

      blessings, Brad


  2. Reblogged this on writing to freedom and commented:

    Happy Independence Day!

    Here’s a previous post I wrote on freedom. It seems to me we’ve lost our way from true freedom. I think nationalism can be part of what divides us and creates so much conflict in the world. I’d love to know what freedom means to you.

    To freedom, love and conscious choice.


  3. You wrapped it up very well in your first paragraph, Brad. Because when our freedom damages another’s, how free can we really be? I like the greater perspective that you have brought to this question. Thanks, as always, for your thoughtfulness, and your willingness to speak your values.


    • Thanks Cynthia. Is there a different perspective about freedom in Canada? Any personal or cultural differences that you’d care to share? I realize that would be a big generalization, but you might help expand my views. All I know is that you celebrate on July 1. 🙂

      Happy belated Independence Day!


      • Where to begin? Don’t forget, we are the people who apologize to you if YOU step on our foot.
        But I think we are more collectivist in some ways. That collectivism shows itself in some regions of Canada more than others, but there’s a certain something about being Canadian.
        The fact that we are easily shamed about certain things, that we give a lot to help others in need, that good manners matter a lot, that we are all proud of our free healthcare, which as you know goes back a long time.
        We frown on boasting, and rich people tend to keep a very low profile… not sure what this says about us. Maybe our ethos of humility is oppressive? (smile)
        I just got up. Too early in the morning to think, so if I come up with even one articulate thought later, I’ll share it.


  4. Hi Brad! I’m glad you posted this. I think we are being bombarded with negative ideas and images. It is so hard to watch the news or read a newspaper anymore without having the worst possible news burning images on our retinas. These negative stories are beaten to death and as a collective whole we vibrate at a very negative (low) energy. I can’t stay in this vibration for long without it affecting my perspective on life in general. I am not trying to be a Pollyanna and live in a bubble of kindness and compassion…well…yes…maybe I am!!! Imagine if the collective human race was bombarded with love, respect, honor, and generosity….Yes! I know it may be cliché to say that “we are all one,” but it is the truth. What we bestow on others, we bestow on ourselves (and vice versa.) And…I can’t help but remember, perhaps the most simple philosophy of life my mother taught me, “Treat people the way you would like to be treated!” Simple!
    Much love to you dearest Brad. ❤ ❤


  5. Thank you Lorrie, I’d say you learned your lessons well. XD You are a treasure with your kind and supportive words and blessings. Please keep living in your kindness and compassion bubble and spreading it around to those you encounter. We need and appreciate your love. Maybe you’ve described freedom in a simpler way; to treat others as you would like to be treated.

    Thank you my dear and Happy 4th!


  6. Brad I couldn’t agree with you more… Personal Responsibility…. If we were all just more mindful of our thoughts and actions… and the consequences of them .. Living in Balance with each other and within Nature would bring about more harmony… If only all would pledge allegiance to the Earth and look after Nature and each other with more care…. Oh what a better world we would then create to enjoy the Freedom Nature offers…
    Blessings Sue xox


  7. What beautiful thoughts Brad 🙂
    I truly believe freedom is ‘ togetherness’…the idea of not segregating people in terms of nationality, colour, belief, appearance but to accept and appreciate and LOVE all with a genuine heart. That is freedom to me, to respect others and to live in such a way that your presence makes others smile from within.


  8. Rollo May wrote quite a beautiful book on freedom as an ability to respond to destiny, or freedom as response-ability. You expanded on that so beautifully. Freedom to respond, but to community, shared humanity and environment. I think we are happiest when we are able to contribute to the world.Thanks Brad.


    • Hello again Nicci, You’ve been a busy blogger! I love that definition of responsibility as the ability to respond. And as you put it, when we respond from the larger context of community, I think we find more meaning and value, which in turn leads to a deeper happiness. Thank you Nicci. 🙂


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