The concept of freedom in today’s world is a funny one. We like to think that the consumerist culture we live in an example of freedom, and that more choice always means more freedom. The problem is that we are not free. Bombardment from constant advertising, constant connections on ‘social’ networks, and the pressure of meeting deadlines for the sake of ‘success’ means that we are not really free. Of course, humanity could never be completely free, since we all depend on things such as food and water and shelter to survive. But after our survivalist needs have been met, what then?

If somebody was asked, ‘do you want to be free?’ I doubt anyone would say that they don’t want to be free. But, today, is this really case? Do we desire freedom so much that we fight for it? We may no longer be under the enslavement of other nations or tribes, but that does not mean we are free. We are still enslaved, just not in the same way. Now we are slaves to things, possessions. We are fed with this false fact that living as a consumer will make us happy, but what it does is keep us bound, preventing us from being freer. We are told consumerism liberates us, but what it does is imprison us. Is it the fault of the advertisers? Are they to blame for this, or is it us, the people, who have chosen this because freedom is too scary? Is bare human existence so painful that we have to fill our lives with things? We are all so driven by this picture of ‘success’ that we are fed in school that we fail to look around us-at the birds, the sky, other people.

Sometimes we just need to stop and realise that we might be taking life a bit too seriously, and that we are neglecting the things that matter. When I die, I won’t be concerned with what I owned, but the relationships I had, and the difference I made.

We all die and we only have a limited, brief time here.

Stop, and look around, for it is people who matter, not things.

We may never be completely free, but we can try to be as free as we can be.


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