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 Blooming Stars

Freedom and Conscience

            Freedom is the most distinguishing characteristic that differentiates a human from an animal. Only in freedom a person can make decisions to become who one needs to become. That is why there were persons who preferred freedom to death. A life without freedom is not worth living. A duly formed conscience on the basis of a universal ethical and value system steers the human in the right direction to achieve one’s destiny. Conscience, a human’s ultimate guide, can work fully only in the climate of full freedom. Thus freedom and conscience are inseparably intertwined.

            The question now is: How free is any human being? It is easy to detect encroachments on freedom by self-centered, anti-social perpetrators of crimes, authoritarian dictators, or do-gooder autocrats. It is very difficult to with-stand extremely subtle pressures on freedom from one’s close friends and relatives, and even one’s spouse. It is often the close ones that nibble away your freedom. You can become very vulnerable to their repeated attempts of manipulations of their friendship and love for you. You become very susceptible to their intriguing and irrational demands, especially when they with-hold satisfactions or emotional and physical pleasures that are in their power to give and that we very much crave for. They try to make you feel guilty by comparing your love for them with your fairness for a casual acquaintance, co-worker, or an employee whom they dislike or despise, certainly not any rational basis. In effect what they say is: “If you really loved me, you would have the same feelings toward them that I have for them”. Here reason does not matter; raw emotions do. You may even be considered to be a mad person. For instance, I remember years ago when I bought a piece of property that I liked at a relatively low price on the southern tip of cape, Kanyakumari, a close relative of mine thought I was really mad since the property was in another state far away from my actual residence. Now the value of that property on the ocean beach at sun-set point has sky-rocketed, I am a very wise man indeed with a plan and vision. It is good to remind ourselves that these very close persons are extremely well-intentioned, even though misguided. They are very devoted to our welfare, and intensely committed to loving us and taking care of us. They really want to save us from ourselves!

             In a difficult, doggy dog world of stress and tension, and struggle for survival, the sheer prospect of loneliness can make one succumb to subtle pressures that curtail one’s freedom and compromise one’s conscience. My suggestion to all is: Do not compromise with your true freedom; do not compromise with your carefully inculcated value system; do not compromise with your conscience, however you are tempted to do it for immediate gain and satisfaction. Make only those compromises that you can live with in mental and spiritual peace. Hitler may not have become the monster he did become, if persons in power in Europe, including the prime minster of Britain, Neville Chambelain, had not, in weakness, compromised and appeased Hitler as he kept on annexing adjoining countries. Stick to your long-cherished principles, no matter what they cost. Your peace of mind is worth your bliss in good times and bad times.


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