Monday, February 24, 2014

Uncomfortably Liberated: The gradient of freedom

If you haven't noticed, I can be quite a bit of a talker. 'Bawel' or chatty is a word that my parents would often use to describe me as a child. Despite the fact, I am neither outgoing or extroverted. Rarely do I go up to a stranger and launch into a chat with them. Instead, I cherish in deep conversations with friends and family members, people who I have gotten to know throughout the years. Nevertheless, knowing a person is not enough. A connection is required to penetrate the layer of politeness and dive into a pool of criticism, honesty and brutality, even.
Freedom to Get Away!

When you're an introverted chatterbox, I find that you are also an observer and a listener. A lover of television and talk shows, I tend to sit in front of my laptop to watch the best of both worlds: in-depth YouTube conversations. A few days ago, I discovered Conan O'Brien's show 'Serious Jibber-Jabber'. The first episode I saw was his interview with musician, Jack White. Here, you can see the magic between two people who connect and know each other well enough to swim into the dark depths of the ocean. Restraints are loosened, so are censors. O'Brien and White pushed the envelope further and further, hence driving one another even further. As a result, they can hear each others' perceptions and collaborate on this train of thought that doesn't really mean much globally, but is still magical for members of the conversation, whether it is just them or also the audience members.

Early in the interview, White reminisced about his upholstering career, which ended with his rise to fame. He said that he learned to set three staples to stabilize the cloth used to upholster a chair. White muttered, almost to himself, "I looked at it as a way of limiting myself, so that I could create more of things, create more songs, because I'm so boxed in, my brain is forced to work with the tools that are at hand," then he continued on to explain that when there are too much at hand, too much money or too many possibilities, he gets "disinterested".




With modern society comes freedom. Today, the human race has more freedom than its predecessors. And yet, we have colloquial websites defining rules for living. We create lists to limit ourselves in how we behave, think and approach live. When I write, I create barriers for each character. Or when I do research, I try to make things as concise as possible. Freedom is dangerous, despite all the things that has been said to champion it. Freedom stops me from going further. I feel bored and unchallenged. On the other hand, when I have obstacles to overcome, whether it is a page limit or prohibition to talk about certain themes, I am more likely to breach them fervently.

Lack of freedom, I think, disillusions me, but it propels me to think of all the ways to overcome the wall, whether it is by jumping over it, breaking it down or creating a hole big enough for us to fit through. Maybe, that's why I love theatre, as well. Being confined to a room, means working with what you have, whether it is just three lights or no lights at all, or an absent apron, or not curtains at all. Limits trigger a wave of inspirations that fuel my creative processes.

Another thing is when it comes to too much freedom, one gets cocky and lazy. Maybe, this is just a ramification of being a homebody, but when I am told that I have to go to school my mind wanders to all the things that I can do in the meantime, yet when I have an empty weekend, I get tired just thinking about all the things I can do and remain at home, instead. Personally, with regards to staying at home, I like it that way, because that is when I am most productive, when I have an entire day to write, work, cook, and lavish within a concrete box.

Imagine all the possibilities!
Generally, freedom is one of those things that can be perceived as black or white. You either have it or you don't. You either want or you don't. Most of the time, as human beings, we champion freedom, just like we do critical thinking or adventure. Unfortunately, freedom is a spectrum that provokes a variety of responses. Of course, these responses are also heterogeneous depending on the individual, circumstances and environment. A person who is locked in may choose to try to find a way to get out, another may choose to preserve their energy by sleeping, while others may take up a hobby or an interest. In the wild, human beings also react differently. Some are prompted to run and roam free, explore the land. Others cower with fear at the possibility of being eaten alive. Others, choose to camp for the night and map out the stars to plan for another day in a new environment. Basically, as White later on said, "huge freedom to become an artist", means "huge responsibilities".

I guess the same goes with conversations. You can choose to hang out in a new bar and pick a stranger. Then again, you can always call an old friend. In different moments, we make different decisions. Freedom is not a matter of starkness, instead it is a range of possibilities that ironically, could limit you or liberate you in life.

The video was taken from YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJgY9FtDLbs

*Author only owns rights to the images, not the video

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