What does it mean to be free?

John 8:31-42. The truth will set you free

When we think of “freedom”, we think of positive things and pleasant imaginations. However, freedom is not necessarily convenient or free from pain.

I interpret authentic freedom as having enough agency to counteract structural or societal forces. (Note: I’m not using the word “absolute” to describe freedom; I prefer to use “authentic”). Authentic freedom means having the power to choose and be responsible for the consequences of that choice.

When we think of falsehood and bullshit, these are narratives that are powered by personal or tribal agenda. (Or maybe the more appropriate term is propaganda?) In a sense, false narratives are meant to control individual and group behavior by twisting facts. In doing so, we deprive the audience to think for themselves and arrive at their conclusions through their own agency.

In a sense, the truth is empowering (though sometimes uncomfortable) because it allows the thinker-doer to navigate through life without being manipulated by a more powerful structure or group. The truth serves as an anchor or a guidepost, and it can strip away power dynamics.

If the truth is upheld, the have-nots of society can theoretically go against the rich. It is an equalizer. Or dare I say, it’s a liberator.

But equality, freedom, and authenticity are not without pain. In a sense, it’s inconvenient.

It’s inconvenient to think for ourselves. It’s more convenient to be spoonfed facts!

It’s inconvenient to face the truth. It’s more convenient and blissful to be ignorant!

It’s inconvenient to be free. It’s more convenient to be told directions!

We say we want to be free. But how could we be free when upholding the truth is too inconvenient for us?

[DAILY GOSPEL INSIGHTS AND REFLECTION FOR MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION 96: APRIL 6, 2022]

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