By February 21, 2013 34 Comments Read More →

What is Freedom?

Konstantin Eriksen, Guest Writer
Waking Times 

Today I’d like to talk about a subject that I’ve been thinking about for many years and to share my current thinking on the topic: What is freedom?

The reality is that no matter how much I thought about the meaning of freedom and how much I read about it, no definition of it ever satisfied me. All were lacking in some way. So I’m going to attempt to give a short but accurate picture.

I believe that few people are truly free and I will explain this below. For the purpose of clarity I’m going to ask my readers to think of freedom in 4 general categories, with #4 being the most important by far:

1. Political and economic freedom. When people use the word “freedom,” they often mean some type of political or economic freedom present in a given country at a given time. To me, this type of freedom involves living in a jurisdiction that is not occupied militarily or economically and that limits all forms of coercion against individual citizens. Personal safety, complete and absolute freedom of speech and freedom from economic tyranny are essential for true political freedom to exist. Unfortunately, after having lived in a lot of countries, I have to conclude that true, pure, political freedom is nonexistent today, that there are only degrees of freedom within a given society and that some societies have more freedom in some aspects of life and less in other aspects.

Many countries that pride themselves on being “free” are actually not free at all, for although they are not under military occupation, they are under economic occupation. Large economic interests can end up with monopoly positions in energy, finance, medicine and many other key sectors of the economy.

No matter how much theoretical freedom is built into a political system, any form of economic control through special interest groups and the financing of politicians by rich entities will ensure that the system becomes corrupt and will degenerate into some form of economic slavery or semi-slavery.

This brings me to my second point, which helps us solve some of the challenges posed by the first.

2. Personal financial freedom. This means being free from having to work for others, being free of externally imposed schedules, being free to live and not to toil. There are three key points I want to make about financial freedom.

Firstly, we must become free of useless desires for superfluous “goods and services.” Think about it: How many of the things you own do you really need? How many bring you joy and happiness? In my experience, many of our purchases are actually attempts to cover up the deeper emptiness of our lives. Sometimes, getting rid of things and having a new experience is much more rewarding.

Secondly, we must be free of debt. Debt is an insidious form of slavery. It limits our options. It ties us down. We think we’re “free” but our freedom is a delusion as long as we owe others for our standard of living. Generally, it is not a good idea to get into debt unless you can afford it with plenty of room to spare.

People in the USA, Ireland, Spain and other countries borrowed massive amounts of money in the preceding years. Where has that left them? Bankrupt, of course! Germans, on the other hand, have very low levels of household debt. First they save money, then they buy. So being debt-free is not a dream, it’s a matter of discipline.

Thirdly, we must have the courage to act, to dare, to explore, to cut the umbilical cord and to venture out on our own. Without this, failure is assured.

3. Freedom from the social matrix. I can’t stress how important this was for me. In order to be truly free, we have to be free from the influence of individual people around us and from social conventions.

I like to use the matrix metaphor: The sum total of all prevailing beliefs, conventions, memes and pieces of information floating around in a society have created a social-conceptual matrix that dominates our lives. But this matrix is false, because it is not a part of natural reality. It is man-made.

Think about it. We are born and we grow up in a specific society, with specific epistemological, ethical and political beliefs. We are immersed in this dreamworld throughout our school years and on into adulthood. But how different would each one of us be if our circumstances had been different?

I’m quite sure that if I had been born in Szechuan province or Bhuttan, I’d be different today.

Noticing all social influence and not allowing it to affect us is one of the key principles of true freedom.

4. Freedom from our own minds. This is the real essence of personal freedom. Unplugging ourselves from the mindless chatter, the traditions, the memes, the doctrines of our societies and everything that comes with them.

In the end, we internalize the sociopolitical matrix and we become it, without even noticing it. This is what is meant by the now famous phrase “Free your mind.”

As I said at the beginning, I believe that very few people are truly free, and the reason is that no matter where they live, no matter how much financial or political freedom they have (or believe that they have), they are trapped by their “own” mind-thoughts, which, in the end, are not their own at all. They were all arrived at second-hand.

Free your mind – definitely not an empty phrase.

About the Author

Konstantin Eriksen is a philosopher and a 32-year-old former stock-trader, long-time natural health researcher, neigong enthusiast and fledgling internet entrepreneur. In my spare time, he enjoy hiking, music, mountaineering, meeting interesting women, studying whatever interests him and Piazzolla. Please visit his excellent blog, Life-Sucks.

This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

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  • trish

    Everyone, read the book “Verse to Voice – The Space Between”. It expands on these thoughts about freedom and discusses a new type of movement within the mind.

  • Chad

    EVOLUTION OF SLAVERY & DESPOTISM: Once upon a time, there was a man and woman living on the lagoon, eating coconuts and fish all day, and living a nice life on the beach. Their future had 2 possibilities: a) they keep making more and more babies and can’t leave the island, and eventually they become cannibals, eating each other for food when resources become scarce; or b) they live in harmony with nature, but an organized technological foreign variety of humans visits and then destroys and plunders the natives for the resources. Now we see the 1st fundamental problem of freedom and humanity: the best life (most free) for humanity is the weakest, and the worst life (least free) is the strongest. Also, we see the principle of living within abundance, and that humans become cannibals when they cannot do this. The 2nd fundamental problem with humanity.
    At least in the USA, the founders designed a system of natural law for an agrarian people that were well armed, and if you think about it, you can see a lot of wisdom in this design. It really is the epitome of the perfect design for humanity. It is the most freedom a people can have without risk of being destroyed by conquerers.
    Then comes the 3rd basic problem of humanity: humans are big suckers for feminine emotional ploys which are used as tools to override rational thought for the purpose of making slaves of men in exchange for power to those desiring it. For example, it is perfectly lawful in nature for animals/people to duel, but it is easily outlawed utilizing feminine emotional tactics on the masses. “We can’t just let people kill each other!” they plead, “How barbaric!” they cry. So, then the freedom to contract with others is removed by popular concensus.
    Then comes “But what about the landless paupers! It’s not fair for them to suffer!” However unfortunate it is for people to create children without provisioning for them, it is an aspect of freedom – but again feminine emotional ploys will be used by socialists to steal more freedom, crying “We must take from those who have, and give to those who have not! It’s only human! Have a heart!”, and now theft becomes moral, and humanity takes another step away from freedom to immorality and socialism – legalized plunder.
    And these cycles continue until people are left with no freedom at all – except consumer freedom, the freedom to buy the jumk products that you enjoy.
    So, there you have it. What freedom is, and how it is lost, and how to get it back. But humans, on average, are stupid (100IQ), so you can assure yourself that humanity will go nowhere good regardless of the deception of “technology=progress” indoctrinations. People simply don’t want to be responsible for themselves and their offspring as all other animals are. Instead, they love to be irresponsible and plunder until they either begin eating each other or until a machine takes total control of humanity from which there is no escape. If you understand the machinations of the modern world, you can see all of this at work.
    At this point in time, mankind is on technological life-support. Without technology, most humans on earth would starve to death. Isn’t it funny how we call putting mankind on technological life-support “progress”? It’s very hysterical if you think about it. Being put on life-support is “progress” 🙂 So funny!

  • Chad

    The evolution of man from Buffalo to Cattle is what humans call “progress”. Mooo! And everyone is happy, unless you unfortunately have some Buffalo DNA fragments still remaining. Mooo! One buffalo is no match for a herd of cattle. So, learn to Mooo! Otherwise, I can assure you from personal experience, your life will be very very difficult (but honorable and satisfying to your soul).

  • Chad

    Terry on March 23, 2013 got it right, but people are not educated enough to understand the founding documents and their foundations – and even if they did – they will choose comfort and security over freedom – the Matrix dilemma. The most popular book at the time, which even many/most farmers studied, was Blackstone’s Commentaries. The founding arose out of the Renaissance, the changing mind of Western Europeans to understand the laws of nature utilizing reason and logic (science), as opposed to living under superstitions and beliefs. Therefore, the understanding of freedom is not a notion or belief, it is science. It is what all animals have by nature. If you want freedom, learn from an animal, they know what freedom is. The problem with people is they don’t want to be responsible for their lives (and their childrens) as all other animals are; they prefer the Blue Pill and the comfort and security and irresponsibility that the Matrix/dependent/enslaved way of life provides.
    “We have been mislead and enslaved by human beings. It’s up to the human beings that are currently free to help the rest of humanity.” — truer words can’t be said.
    Despite the propaganda, slavery is VERY POPULAR! It’s not a difficult life at all – just do what you are told! Simple enough for any idiot! Freedom on the other hand – well, you must learn to be at least as intelligent as all other lifeforms – something humanity has trouble accomplishing.

  • Chad

    I am sorry to say that you are all misguided. Freedom is Independence and Landownership – it is personal responsibility for your life and your childrens lives. It’s really that simple. Not a nation of landowners? Not free. Not independent? Not free. Not personally responsible for you and your children’s life? Not free. They are all equivalent terms: Freedom = Independence = Landownership = Personal Responsibility for Your Life (and lives you create).

  • Jim van Ommen

    How did I find your profile? “The mind of Chris Speciale” on Google and you posing as Charlie Chaplin, a dead give-away.
    Your question; “is it not discipline which establishes a man’s freedom?”
    Yes, but who has perfect discipline and therefore perfect freedom?
    The answer to that you’ll find in the last paragraph of my earlier comment in this series dated June 1st 2013.
    Regards, Jim.

  • Chris Speciale

    Yes, I am fascinated and deeply interested in a wide range of disciplines.

    Money is not my master. Period. It’s only a tool for me to trade my labor for goods. Money encourages my freedom.

    You say that freedom is difficult to handle unless we are well-disciplined. But is it not discipline which establishes a man’s freedom in the first place? Does a man even HAVE the option of freedom if he is undisciplined? For example if a man is a chaotic, whimsical gang member who tries to do whatever he wants without reason or rhyme, is he not a slave to that chaotic, unprincipled confusion and disorder?

    How did you find my personal profile?

    Regards, Chris

  • Jim van Ommen

    Hi Chris,
    Having read your personal profile I have to say your interests include an astounding number of disciplines.
    But one thing does really surprise me; you say your only interest is to make money.
    Have you thought about the saying; “ Money is a good servant but a bad master. What is that going to do to your freedom?
    Freedom may well be optional but it is also conditional and it is extremely difficult to handle unless we are very well disciplined.
    Regards, Jim.

    Regards, Jim.

  • Chris Speciale

    I wonder if I may have an even more-reduced definition of freedom for you, my fellow philosopher: Freedom is Optional. I am currently writing an essay on this… if you are interested, feel free to email me.


  • Jim van Ommen

    Freedom, what is it? Can there be any doubt as to what this most sought after quality of life could be ? What is freedom; freedom from what; freedom to do what ? Not everybody on this planet has the freedom to go and do as they please and even we ourselves realize that we are limited by laws, rules, regulations and ethical codes of conduct in order to live in harmony with our fellow beings.
    As freedom is so valued some people seem to think it is a virtue ? Many regard it as an inalienable right to be pursued at all cost as something that is ours no matter what. Almost as if it is our right to occupy our side of the road,… but there are times when we have to share it in a responsible fashion with those who travel in the opposite direction… and that is often where our problem lies, with – “ those that travel in the opposite direction”- . We can insist on our rights if we chose to but that could mean we are dead right, we and our fellow travellers.
    From a purely rational viewpoint it stands to reason that freedom is many things to many people and if we are deprived of that freedom, that could be the result of living in an imperfect world. If we are mature enough in our thinking we might even equate that with the possibility that we as part of this imperfect world do inflict restrictions on our fellow beings.
    With rights come responsibilities and that very often means we are not at all free to do as we like and because we have so many conflicting thoughts, interpretations and blinding pecuniary interests, governments need to make laws to keep us on the straight and narrow.
    Freedom is a great concept, but invariably what means greater freedom for one person means greater restrictions for another.
    The greatest area of abuse, I think, lies in the area of freedom of speech. We have all heard the saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”, something we still tell our children to build up their confidence. Some parents however teach the exact opposite, also in the hope it will protect their children, but potentially turns them into the bullies that the first group of parents sought protection from. Bullying is a serious offence and often has regrettable consequences, not only amongst school kids, but even amongst the bigger ones on Capital Hill. The notion that freedom of speech is a basic right is very naïve as it invariably turns into a conceived right to intimidate and abuse.
    We need to realize that with freedom comes the option to make wrong choices, genuine mistakes as well as deliberate violation of the freedom given to us. Freedom in my opinion is not a virtue and what’s more it is not for free, it is something we need to work at to enjoy it and share it with others. I would go as far as to say freedom can be a curse. When we talk about the word freedom it immediately conjures up another word and that is authority. When parents, teachers, individuals, governments etc. in whom authority is vested; fail to discipline, hold accountable; keep the peace; lock up criminals etc. we would certainly experience a kind of freedom, but not many of us with any common sense would want to live in a country where those conditions prevail. Laws, rules and regulations are there not only to protect us from the criminals I mentioned, but from you and me as well. In other words…..we do not handle freedom very well, especially when we think we won’t be found out.
    Yes at times we need the law to sort out our differences of opinion, but there is a better way. “Do unto others as you would have them do to you” and should we need specific personal advice ask the Author of this statement, as in Mat. 7:7

  • Anonymous

    nayi tambaya amma ba a bani amsa ta dai dai ba mai yasa?

  • Anonymous


  • Terry

    We have been mislead and enslaved by human beings. It’s up to the human beings that are currently free to help the rest of humanity. Know how your freedoms are protected and preserved (Constitution/ Bill of Rights). Don’t take the easy way out and trust that your freedoms are going to be protected by your servants in the government, because, they are not your servants. Don’t submit and change what you believe about your freedoms based on what you are told by the very same humans (mainstream media) who enslaved you. You don’t have to be a Conservative to love the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Live Free.

  • halderon

    What is the difference now between living under a Dictatorship,and the way we live now? A political Dictatorship is just the same, so the answer is none. It is 2013, and some of you still cite the fairy tale of Adam and Eve as your philosophy. I stopped believing in Santa when I grew up-when will you help us by giving up your fairy tale existence? Some of you talk about “freeing the mind”, but come with no instructions. Others offer Metaphysical answers,which have no value in freeing us from a government that has turned into a Dictatorship. Some cite tribes, but how is that freedom? Some babble on about light. Amino acids are the building blocks, bur how did they organize to form consciousness? We were never truly free-it is now being pointed out to us.

  • mikael

    What many dont realise is the importance on the collective mind/sett.
    That is the very clue to the presnet “dumbing” down, people are not stupid in all sensess, but hughly and by intentt, missinformed, onc informed people change, the seep of change is resting in the ability to realy alter everything.

    The first obstacle is Fear, if you dont know Fear, try this out, because this is the first test I may have flunged you into, to ignore others, to sitt down right infront of people in situations you normaly never would have done, to test you simple, selfrespect, selfdisiplin a.s.o.

    The second is self sensure, conspiracy teories.
    I dont bother to say the rest butt, sience is to day, just as an ex. so far ahead of what we consider “reality”, that is people where tuned into this, the world would change.
    This is what I found intresting:
    Quantum mec. and NonLocality.
    He forgott some thing that I want to induse, the duality in light, and the fact that light can be persived in two different ways, as a particle and as a wave, not both, you have to determin, beforehand what you are going to see, capice.

    And secondly, the main drive is probably an pulse, 23 trillion times pr. sec. thats the clock.
    Or God that runns the mascinery.
    We are in that, as observatuers, we live in a world far more complexed than we think.
    The life on earth is predisigned to be sett in the feil of the eaths matrix, if you like it that way, so we are sett in an Organic reality, and since our birth, slowly lost it, thure a reality forced upon us.

    What would the collective mind sett be, if we all knew this, as I have writen before, this is NOT religion, but the use of Conscuisness.
    Who you are, is defined by the level you are at.

    The veild or what ever its caled is an mebran(force feid) like the one we our self are in, healds the inorganic side away from our sight, since we are creatures of perseption.
    We belive what we see.
    We become what we belive.
    Energy: matter and conscuisness.
    What else can bring life into cemical compounds and organic selfsustaiable comunetys as our Body, born fro a singe cell, the DNA is not important other that to build, but they them selfs are Amino acids, compounds.
    In it there is a leap, a hughe one, what is it and how do it work, conscuisness is the driving force of it all.
    What kind, I have no clue what so ever, but realy on expirience and learning.


    “If we are to achieve things never before accomplished we must employ methods never before attempted”
    ― Francis Bacon

  • Bonnie

    Ancient civilizations weren’t free either. Wherever there are hiearchies, somebodies had to be there to support them, the lower classes, and the upholders, the police and military…which, unfortunately, wre taken from conscripts of the lower classes.

    THe only real free people, were outside any civilization, those were the Tribal Peoples, anywhere. THe Chiefs had only the immediate control given by the individuals, they wre elected by Councilsa, and if they screwed up, OUT they went, right off. No waiting for the newxt elections.

    There was also the case that if an individual or groups, in the Tribe disagreed with group decisions, they were free to leave, go someplace else.

  • Feedom is FREE, the cost comes in defending it. I found total Freedom when I recognized my direct connection to the creator. I learned to Occupy my Divinity and declared myself the Free Republic of Boblovia, a sovereign individual nation of one.


    Revolution 222 is a guide to living beyond fear. Don’t be afraid to be happy. Keeping the FREE in FREEDOM. Revolution 222 can be Downloaded for Free at or get the book at

    From the Free Republic of Boblovia, Peace

  • ….for nothing left to lose.

    most people will never be free….

  • Mike

    Very nice work! Number 4 is the key and I am so glad you touched on that idea. There is a great resource that can “free your mind” although I am sure you have a copy on your bookshelf. For those that don’t, check out a used copy of The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Riuz. You can find it at Goodwill and the local used bookstore since many want the freedom but only a warrior will fight for it.
    In Peace and Liberty~

  • Bluntstuff

    Freedom is the feeling you are free.

  • Need to read David Thoreau on the freedom from others and soceity. I’ve visited Walden’s Pond & i can understand David’s desire to get away from humans.

  • Maybe interesting to read, my article: Total Reality and the Life Course Defined Reality. The link is:

    Konstantin. In lots of ways you are right. I am someone who has no financial debt, whatsoever. I also have no need for any luxury. Books, yes, when possible. D.V.D.’s, yes, when possible. And my laptop. My only means of transportation is a bike. I live in a rental apartment. At the moment I have no job and live of my savings, which I will be able to do for another two years. I do, what I want to do. But alas, that is as far as it goes. How can I be free without political and economical freedom. Even though I can live on my savings for a few years I still have to pay taxes, the rent and so on. Especially the rent is one of the ways of legally stealing endlessly, that most people don’t even realise. I have been living for 25 years in the same apartment, and I know its value of 25 years ago. I paid that already twice, but still every year the rent goes up. Can I be free of it? That would most probably mean living on the streets.

    Do you now what that means? How free are you really on the streets. Free of finances, of the matrix, maybe even of your own mind due to using alcohol and/or drugs. But you are still not free of the politics and economics of the country you are in. And you are still not free of other humans, who will abuse you. And you are still not free of the survival of the fittest, the quickest and the most cunning. So, you are not free living alone in nature too.

    And Ron, being totally dependent on a god is the opposite of freedom.
    Adam and Eve were so dependent on their god, that when they ate without having the knowledge of the difference between right and wrong, for they had not eaten of the tree of knowledge yet, an apple from that tree, they were thrown out of that place. And not even because they ate from this apple and now did have the knowledge of right and wrong. No, because their god was afraid they would also eat from to tree of life and would become immortal like him. And you know, in a way, it is that apple which caused the start of that being “trapped by their “own” mind-thoughts, which, in the end, are not their own at all”, Konstantin is talking about at the end of his article. That is what we could call the real original sin, the fact that we always are born and grow up in a certain place on Earth at a certain time and are educated until the mind thoughts of our elders and others are so deeply ingrained in our own brains, that we may call ourselves lucky if we are able to undo most of it during the rest of our lives. That is what we fight each other about as humanity every day of our lives. Not meaning disrespect to our elders and others, because they have lived with the same problem since the moment that god got angry and decided to vent, not very lovingly, his unjustified anger and especially his fear.

    I know that one thing does free me more and more, though. And that is really thinking true what humans make me try to believe. Getting rid of the mind thoughts, yes. But of the ego, no!


      well its good to know that so many ppl are thinking of freedom.
      Freedom by itself tied with will power thats how you can get the complete picture. i can be a salve and still be free, thats to say i made the choice with no force being applied on me to make this choice.
      while Konstatine has made an attempt to rationalise freedom in terms thw worl we livet he true meaning of freedom can be understood by simply understanding the difference between choice and and decision. if u dint understand then mail me at

  • abinico warez

    In the US you are free to be either obscenely poor or obscenely rich.

  • wolf27

    you need to take extreme measures in all fields. religion which shall become spirituality, respect all religious books because they contain light. even the cardinal sin of the talmud has some interesting ideas about demons. there is freedom in food, so seperate yoursef from gmo. seperate yourself from chemicals. disconnect from propaganda and conditioned people.there is no such thing as political freedom. all governments are chains.

  • Ron

    There is one kind of freedom that has been overlooked here, which includes all the others. That is the freedom of dependence. When Adam and Eve were first created, they had no money problems, no social problems, no food or health problems, no clothing or shelter problems, no protection problems, and lacked absolutely nothing. They were totaly dependent on their Creator for everything, and God provided for all their needs. People today can have the same kind of freedom of utter dependence on their Creator, with the same results. When we depend totally on God for everything, He has promised to provide all we need. We don’t have to worry about anything, and that gives the highest sense of freedom. When the government acts to make dependence upon and obedience to God a crime and attaches the death penalty to it, we will still be free, because we know that the God we are totally dependent on will still supply everything we need, and preserve our life from the tyrants. They might take all our possessions and force us to flee, but even in the midst of being utterly cut off from human sympathy and support, there will still be that sense of utter freedom. It is His universe, and He will have the ultimate say in everything. It will be His word against all the petty thieves and murderers who pretend to run this planet, and that word has the power to speak worlds into existence. It will be a reliving of the experience of Ivan Denisovich in Solzhenitsyn’s book. There will be nothing more to take, nothing more that we can be deprived of but our life. And that life is guaranteed, and nothing on this earth will be able to touch it.

    • Anonymous

      What about atheists who don’t believe in god. What is that dependencies on The government or each other. And no I’m not atheist

    • Tim

      What about atheists who don’t believe in god. What is that dependencies on The government or each other. And no I’m not atheist

  • Victor Gagnon

    Your article is great and as they say “hits the nail right on the head” What confuses me at times is why so many do not choose that “Freedom” I guess that many do not understand that they do have a choice.

  • bob klinck

    A monopolistic financial system is the enemy of personal freedom. A distributist financial system is ally of personal freedom. This should be obvious to anyone, yet for centuries populations have tolerated a system of centralized financial power that has given its managers control over the economic policies of society. The conclusion to be drawn is either that people are too dense to devise a financial system that will put the immense potential of modern production methods at the disposal of all citizens or that they cleave to slavery.

  • dimitri

    That about sums it up!

  • Drew

    I see the body as a Prison cell sometimes, so sometimes going to sleep while [fully awake] aware of vibrating on a higher frequency, liberates me, i remember the first time was both frightening and unbelievably exhilarating visiting the Land of Awe, and yet the status quo would not have me explore my own consciousness as an OBE, that is their fear not mine.
    So I’ll promise not to go there anymore.
    Good article.

    • Adanga Akpan me there is no transparency in freedom

  • Great article. Fear and ego bind our world [your mind] together; love and forgiveness sets it [your mind] free…

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