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SFF Book Reviews
Saturday, 01 October 2011 03:00
This is a joint blog by four writers who have all contributed their views on freedom. You can find this post here and on the other writers’ blogs. The contributors are myself, Ashley Elizabeth, Imran Siddiq and Mark Brassington.
Freedom. What is it? Like many idealistic concepts it’s hard to pin down.
When I looked up freedom I got these definitions:
1. the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint: He won his freedom after a retrial.
2. exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.
3. the power to determine action without restraint.
4. political or national independence.
5. personal liberty, as opposed to bondage or slavery: a slave who bought his freedom.
You’ll notice there is a lot of talk about freedom from external control, regulation or interference, or lack of restraint. We certainly don’t have that kind of freedom in Australia or many other countries. Every time our government legislates to restrict guns, or ban smoking, we are subject to interference or regulation.
In my opinion, there is no such thing as the power to determine action without restraint. Some people restrain themselves by their own consciences. The rest will take what they want by force if something else (the law or a stronger person) does not restrain them. Action without restraint is nothing but the rule of strength. The law of the jungle. That’s not freedom at all, in my opinion.
My conscience restrains me. I’m happy for the law to restrain the people who don’t have one. And I regret there are places in the world that are not lucky enough to have the freedom we do.
About Ciara Ballintyne:
Opinionated lawyer and writer of high fantasy. Born not made argumentative. Caution: contents explosive in the presence of idiocy. You can find more about me at
or follow me on Twitter @
Freedom is a pretty open topic. I mean, it’s well open to interpretation. Freedom is defined as being free of confinement, regulation, or restraint. I, however, think most people interpret this wrong. It seems when freedom is brought up, people talk about what they are freed from; people spend more time listing what they are tied to.
(It is imperative that I note that this viewpoint of freedom stands from a fairly liberated and democratic point of view.)
Someone may say that responsibilities act as the hindrance to freedom. Some people may fault responsibilities such as bills, debt, family, or significant others. But in reality, those are all choices. The responsibilities we have are ones we choose to live with. For example, I choose to have a computer, and therefore, I choose to pay for the electricity to power it.
I say I have true freedom because I suffer from no constraint, regulation, or confinement. Sure, there are things in my life (such as bills) that I have to bend to. But, I choose to. Freedom lies more in the mind. It is most likely why people feel they lack the freedom.
It is with purpose that I stand behind my decisions. I do not accept the “norms”. In fact, I have a tendency to challenge them. I have stopped thinking about what I’m supposed to do, and I make choices that I am happy to stand behind.
Make a choice, stand behind it, and be present in your situation.
Make the choice that you are going to be truly happy with. The choice that is solid to your core, moral beliefs, and your willingness to follow through. Then, instead of trying to pick it apart and looking for the strings that hold you back, look at the shackles you shed by making that choice.
Freedom is as intangible as your state of mind. It is a mental cage or a mental playground. It is a choice.
About Ashley Elizabeth:
I am a writer. I read, I write, and I edit. I also have a tendency to be an optimistic cynic. Follow me on Twitter @
… it’s the best place to distract me and interact with me. For ravings and rants:
Freedom deserves as many interpretations as the word itself implies. My take is a rather solemn one of caution. Most will state that they have the freedom to do whatever they wish to do, and that the hindrance against such would be a travesty against mankind. I agree to an extent, but then that does mean on what are they expressing that freedom to.
I happily use my freedom to purchase, listen, read, eat, and drink as I wish. The ‘halt’ comes if I intended to use that freedom to harm, scold, tease, or damage something/someone. Just because I own a hammer, it does not mean I can smash a wall. No – that is where the privilege part of freedom kicks in. I have the freedom to own a hammer, but I do not have the privilege to destroy.
Freedom also comes with social barriers that can decrease the level you can apply. If someone heckles me in a conversation, I have the freedom to feel anger, pain, suffering, the dark side, but my social role might strangle my freedom to shout back. That is I being cautious. If I utilised my freedom, I could start an argument which would end up with someone being hurt. And as stated above, I do not want to use my freedom to hurt.
So, I will sing and dance that freedom makes us unique to be someone/something without become a dystopian drone, but we have to curb that freedom when a situation requires sensibility and morale to prevail.
About Imran Siddiq:
Not yet published, but I have a museum of tales I hope to extract and tell. Details of my progression can be found on
, and you can follow me on Twitter: @
“I’m free to be whatever I, Whatever I choose, And I’ll sing the blues if I want, I’m free to say whatever I, Whatever I like, If it’s wrong or right it’s alright” – Oasis, Whatever.
Lyrics by Noel Gallagher and Neil Innes which sum my thoughts on Freedom.
It is my belief that God gave us all freewill and therefore the ability to make our own choices and as I grew up I learnt the difference between making the right or wrong decision.
There have been plenty of times in my life that I have not felt free of a situation and completely trapped; being bullied at school, being in a job I hated and under extreme pressure from the role itself and my then boss, even in previous relationships and of course bills and as much as anyone of these things has brought me down and made me feel trapped I have pushed through them and come to move past them and accept them.
Probably the hardest thing for me from the age of about twelve onwards way for me to feel free to be myself, this ties in with me being bullied from around that time from at least another five(ish) years. You learn to not speak for fear of your own words being used against you, so that other do not learn who you are and what you like as this will become that latest in their line of ammunition during school life.
Eventually I left school but only to keep those same walls and as much as I became more confident as time went on the walls of trust still stayed up and I would say that only in the three or four years have I become free to be myself and tell people about me – “I read comics” “I am aspiring author” “I like sci-fi” – these were big things to admit but now I freely tell people and I would say that tough life lesson only gave me thicker skin.
So whatever makes you hold yourself back try to push these things aside as they are what makes you, you. Be free to be yourself.
About Mark Brassington:
In my day job I work in Commercial Banking but I am unpublished aspiring author with hopes to one day tell my tales of fantasy and sci-fi. I blog about my progress and other things at
You can follow me on twitter: @
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