, 10 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
My friend @JamesClear touches on arguably the most important tenet of modern society -- seeking freedom as a proxy for, or means to, happiness. His articulation is spot on. There are some additional nuances around the subject that I’ve found are worth exploring. Here goes...
Complete, unadulterated freedom sounds wonderful. No constraints, no rules, no obligations. The freedom to do whatever I want, whenever I want, wherever I want. Combines the freedom from any restraint with the freedom to pursue my heart’s desires. My life. My choices. My values.
.@Atul_Gawande writes: “There are different concepts of autonomy. One is autonomy as free action, living completely independently, free of coercion and limitation. This kind of freedom is a common battle cry in our culture. But it is…a fantasy.”
Our lives are products of others' provision. Your life itself was given to you, not earned. Your neighbors, family, mentors, friends, and co-workers have poured into you and paved your way. Freedom isn’t a one-way street and creates an obligation. We belong to one another.
"Ideology of extreme personal freedom can be dangerous because it encourages people to leave homes, jobs, cities, marriages in search of personal and professional fulfillment, thereby breaking the relationships that were probably their best hope for such fulfillment." - @JonHaidt
Like a fish “free” from water, our lives wither without relationships. Yet relationships restrict and reduce freedom, and for the better. I happily help a friend, when I could be doing something else. Freedom is tricky. It’s only useful to select the right obligations.
“Having more freedom seems better than having less. But to what end? The amount of freedom you have in your life is not the measure of the worth of your life. Just as safety is an empty and even self-defeating goal to live for, so ultimately is autonomy.” - @Atul_Gawande
“You cannot go on ‘explaining away’ forever: you will find that you have explained explanation itself away. You cannot go on ‘seeing through’ things forever. The whole point of seeing through something is to see something through it." -C.S. Lewis
We are built to attach to something more, to find our identity, security, and meaning in something beyond ourselves. This could be work, or family, or fame, or faith. You have no choice, no freedom not to choose. You must give yourself to something. David Foster Wallace explains:
I agree with @Jamesclear, but don't think he takes it far enough.

Real wealth is about the freedom to make commitments, which necessarily restrict freedom, and are the wellspring of meaning, purpose, and joy.

Freedom is the means, not the end.
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