Freedom and Responsibility

Freedom and Responsibility

To be free is to take responsibility for your own happiness.

Today we tend to delegate to others choices we alone are responsible for. We delegate our children’s and our own education to school, we delegate our emotions to a psychologist, we delegate our happiness to someone else’s love for us, we delegate our reason to politicians and our culture to experts.

When we delegate we think we are getting rid of the responsibility. Once you send your son to school, it’s not your fault any more if he doesn’t learn, once someone loves you it’s not on you any more to remember to love yourself, once an expert declares something, you don’t have to interrogate yourself so much about it any more, and it’s not on you if the expert, and you with him, turns out to be wrong.

Delegating makes us feel like the weight of responsibility is not pushing down on our shoulders any more.

But that is just a wrong impression. Delegation doesn’t take away the responsibility, it just makes us feel justified for ignoring it.

When we delegate our education or our happiness to someone else, we are responsible not only for the choice to delegate, but also for every choice that other person makes for us.

Responsibility is always on us, we can decide to leave it to someone else to influence it or we can own it. But it’s there, it makes us responsible for everything that happens to us.

Once we own it, accept it, we are free. Then there are no sacrifices and no mistakes, there are no faults of others: everything is a choice, and everything is our choice.

Being free is not just rainbows and joy, freedom is a difficult thing to live with. Freedom means that if you’re unhappy it’s on you and you alone. Happiness is your own responsibility and shouldn’t depend on anyone else. Success is your own responsibility and shouldn’t depend on anything else. Life is your own, and no one can lead yours but you.

That’s not an easy concept.

People deny it, but freedom is a “hard” choice to make, it takes courage and determination, it takes strength and passion. It’s so much easier to keep delegating, so very less complicated to just follow the mass and standardise. Doing what you’re told or expected to do is easy, deciding what to do from scratch is not.

 

Once you are free and responsible for your life, you learn there are no failures, only lessons, and there are no sacrifices, only choices, and there are no duties, only passions, and there are no mistakes, only life.

Not because freedom is easy, but because a free life is happy even in the darkest and most difficult moments.

Quotes Wall: 1984 by George Orwell Part 3


 

If you want to keep a secret,
you must also hide it from yourself.

 

If you want a picture of the future,
imagine a boot stamping on a 
human face — forever.

 

The choice for mankind lies between freedom and happiness and for the great bulk of mankind,
happiness is better.

 

The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power.

 

If you loved someone, you loved him, and when you had nothing
else to give, you still gave him love.

 

“You are a slow learner, Winston.”
“How can I help it? How can I help but see what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four.”
“Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.”

 

“You’re only a rebel from the waist downwards,” he told her.

 

The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of
Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the
Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not
accidental, nor do they result from from ordinary hypocrisy: they
are deliberate exercises in doublethink.

 

The consequences of every act
are included in the act itself.

 

It was possible, no doubt, to imagine a society in which wealth,
in the sense of personal possessions and luxuries, should be
evenly distributed, while power remained in the hands of a
small privileged caste. But in practice such a society could not
long remain stable. For if leisure and security were enjoyed by
all alike, the great mass of human beings who are normally
stupefied by poverty would become literate and would learn to
think for themselves; and when once they had done this, they
would sooner or later realise that the privileged minority had no
function, and they would sweep it away. In the long run, a
hierarchical society was only possible on a basis of poverty and
ignorance.

 

Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.

 

Stupidity was as necessary as intelligence, and as difficult to attain.

 

And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed— if all records told the same tale —
then the lie passed into history and 
became truth.

 

Sometimes they threaten you with something – something you
can’t stand up to, can’t even think about. And then you say,
“Don’t do it to me, do it to somebody else, do it to So-and-so.”
And perhaps you might pretend, afterwards, that it was only a
trick and that you just said it to make them stop and didn’t mean
it. But that isn’t true. At the time when it happens you do mean it.
You think there’s no other way of saving yourself, and you’re
quite ready to save yourself that way. You WANT it to happen to
the other person. You don’t give a damn what they suffer. All
you care is yourself.

 

– quotes from “1984” by George Orwell