A person is a person because he has what no other creature on earth has, and that's freedom.
Freedom of choice.
It's what sets us apart from the millions of other organisms in the world.
But..there's a flip side to freedom.
It's what makes this freedom to choose fraught with anxiety. The idea of owning up to and being bound by our choices.
Mrs. O'Learys cow is on no ones list of evil figures for starting the Great Chicago Fire. But humans can make one bad choice and live with the consequences forever.
Much like Raskolnikov in Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment who is tortured by how to react and live with one fateful act that he committed.
I think what's needed is a perfect balance of freedom along with a healthy dose of awareness to responsibility of our actions. A comprehensive understanding of the choice, freedom and consequences before actually acting on the choice makes you "own" the choice.
The reason why Crime and Punishment ends so beautifully is because the young couple has something to look forward to after his 7 years of incarceration..freedom. Balance.
I find it very interesting that the 2 groups that we find having the hardest time adapting and being happy are teens and the elderly.
Interestingly enough, human beings are the only known animal to have this phenomena of adolescence to begin with. All other animals go straight from childhood to adulthood.
Teens and the elderly represent the 2 flip sides of the same coin.
Freedom and Consequences.
Teens are full of newly obtained freedom but haven't yet experienced enough life to internalize the concept of consequence which throws everything off balance. So they act and choose without truly "owning" their choices and actions.
While the elderly on the other hand are rapidly losing their freedoms while at the same time can just sit there and reflect on consequences born of a lifetime of choices and deeds.
And then there are addicts that lose their ability to choose altogether, thus their basic human trait.
Just a thought.
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