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Freedom in absence of responsibility

Posted June. 07, 2021 07:20,   

Updated June. 07, 2021 07:20


Freedom for what, dear?(“Loving and Leaving the Good Life” written by Helen Nearing)

I came across a book in my late 20s, which describes U.S. author Helen Nearing's life with her husband Scott Nearing, a farmer and economist with a firm belief in ecologism, fundamentalism and peace. Based on a limited level of experience and a narrow perspective, I was deeply impressed by a small part of the whole book that a humbly principled couple spent their whole lifetime cultivating land, writing books and following their value systems. However, every time I peruse the book again and again, the aforementioned phrase strikes me as intense.

It is part of Scott Nearing's letter to his young wife traveling around Europe far away from him who was in the United States. Helen enjoyed free life in an exotic place while having fun with her friends without any sense of social responsibility or self-consciousness on her shoulders as if she were a bird flying free without being chained to people and objects. Scott asked her what freedom is about from an essential perspective. It was when she realized that she was immersed into freedom with no sense of responsibility.

It is a misunderstanding that you are completely free of sufferings and pains across society as long as you wear clothes that are sewn by the sweat of poor Southeast Asian children's brow; and you live in a world where laborers are victimized by preventable catastrophe.

Meditation has led me to Buddha's teachings. Scott's keen and sharp comments remind me of law of cause and effect that everything in this world is dependently interconnected to one another. In a moment when the best way to self-realization is believed to live a more famous, affluent and fancier life than anyone else around you, I revisit Scott's remarks that social agony affects every individual with no exception as he wrote that freedom gives you an opportunity to choose a problem over another in life.