“The essence of freedom is the right to make a choice and to accept the responsibility that comes with it.”
One of the important elements of human life is the desire for freedom and the right to make choices about our lives. We want to ably make choices about our personal, professional, social, financial, and religious lives and have the freedom to execute these choices without being restricted. We see the bearing of this desire for freedoms and choices in the different lifestyles people have, in the different branding companies have, in the different religions and variations of the same religions, in the support for different political parties, in the different investments people make with their money, in the different products and services available for appreciation and so on.
Interestingly as humans we are rather biased about a number of things and that includes in the way we perceive our freedoms and choices. We simply focus on one side of the equation; what we ought to gain or what we ‘deserve’ and overlook so many other factors. For instance, everyone has the freedom to have a child and they can initiate the process; the next question is what happens next after that ‘freedom’ is exercised? Everyone has the right to make a choice on what profession they want to belong to; next question is who deals with the prescribed expectations of that profession?
Almost every choice we make in life and every freedom we pertain to have is attached to the responsibilities that come with it. It is futile for me to purchase a vehicle and sit around and expect someone else to be servicing the car, fuelling it and the like. By the time I make the choice to purchase a vehicle I should be ready to handle the responsibilities that will come with it. This is a very important element when dealing with freedoms and choice; nothing we do in life ends at a decision. A decision is just the beginning; consequences and results will follow and the decision maker will be equally responsible for them.
Limitations of choice
The world around you will not automatically respond to or adjust to your choices just because you made them. A painful truth but that is just what it is. If among a group of Muslim friends, one decides to convert to Christianity, they should not expect their friends to automatically follow suit or automatically adjust their lifestyles to fit the new ‘order’. If one decides to quit work and start a business, they should not expect all plans to fall into place as imagined and people around them to automatically adjust to their new professional passion. Unfortunately freedoms and choices are naturally subject to automatic limitations that are bound to be a factor regardless. The right to a freedom or choice does not come automatically attached to a definite result or response.
Respect for others
The same way you have a right to choices and you have freedoms, so do others; and they equally have the right to want their freedoms and choices heard and respected. It is always a fine line to exercise your freedoms and choices while respecting that of others. What happens when you share a household with someone with religious values that clash with yours? Do you decide that yours are more worthy and fight theirs or you practice yours while giving them the space to practice theirs? What if your social values totally contrast each other? What happens then? Respect is due regard for other people’s feelings, needs, rights and wishes. It has nothing to do with agreement. The idea is to respect others people’s freedoms and choices whether you are in agreement with them or not.
For the greater good
Sometimes, for the sake of progress, we adjust our freedoms and choices to serve the greater good. We take more control of the responsibilities, we accept the limitations and we respect the fact that others have other freedoms and choices contrary to ours and that it is the natural order of things. Sometimes the noble thing to do is to adjust in a manner that also serves others.
We have been in a constant state of unrest and uncertainty as a country because of constant clashes of freedoms and choices with zero respect for the fact that there will never be a point in life where everyone is in agreement with everyone and everyone is equally served at the same exact time. We need to add a dose of nobility in the country for the greater good and progress of the country.
I rest my case