“Social distancing is an infringement on my rights.”
I respectfully and strongly disagree. Here’s why…
Believe me, I cherish my right to roam as much as the next guy. I’m an avid traveler, having lived the expat life. For years, I’ve seized opportunities for adventure. Then, restrictions in the Czech Republic put me out of work and trapped in my house. Three weeks later, I had to leave the country which had been my home for two years. Now, I’m confined to my bedroom at my parents’ house for two weeks.
I’m not trying to give you some sob story about how I can’t do this or that. On the contrary, this is a story about what I can do. As it turns out, freedom means a lot more than I realized.
Freedom is falling asleep and waking up in your own bed. Freedom is reading books and the news. Freedom is listening to music. It’s calling your friends. Freedom is getting your groceries and prescriptions delivered to your door. Freedom is having clean water. Freedom is breathing without a ventilator. Freedom is knowing your family is safe.
Enter Albert Camus, whose ideas about freedom fit well into this narrative. In fact, Camus—a Nobel Prize winner—wrote a 1947 novel titled The Plague. (Yeah, I know… Eerie.)
“Freedom is not a gift received from the State or leader, but a possession to be won every day by the effort of each and the union of all.” —Albert Camus
When it comes down to it, nobody’s free if we’re not all free. Solidarity is our means to preserve our freedom long into the future. As to what Camus means by “the effort of each,” read on.
“Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.” —Albert Camus
At the start of my quarantine, I felt useless, like I was contributing nothing to society at its greatest time of need. Then, I realized that there’s always a need for good people and, fortunately, being better is not location-dependent. I’ve often told myself things like: “I need to eat healthier and exercise more”; “I should read more”; “I gotta reach out to ‘so-and-so’”; and “I should start donating to charity.” I can do all that—I can be better—from the comfort of my own bedroom. What’s more, from here on out, I know I must and will be better.
Now, let me turn to another wise fellow: Brian Thompson, the creator of Zen Thinking and author of Sparks to Awaken.
“True freedom is being free from the search for freedom… It is the end of any imagined sense of lack.” —Brian Thompson
I’m trying to focus on what I have, material or not. I don’t need to go Zen or become a monk. I just need to be a human.
“Freedom is from within.” —Frank Lloyd Wright
If we all spend this time loving ourselves and others, we’ll emerge as better people and, thus, we’ll have created a better world.
Be happy, healthy, home, and human.
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