15 Jan Freedom, how to write your name…
For 2021 we would like to talk about the year of all possibilities!
Over the past months, some intellectuals – especially French ones – have denounced the “reduction of our freedoms” to talk about the restrictions and other measures adopted to try to stem the spread of the Covid 19 virus.
Emmanuel Macron gave an interview on this subject to castigate – rightly – a “contemporary hyper relativism”.
Freedom … a vast inspiring subject that could have been that of the philosophy test of our distant baccalaureate years.
Would we have drifted with age until we made this principle a kind of absolute without constraint?
We were all brought up with the idea that the freedom of some ends where the freedom of others begins, which in other words means that the collective interest takes precedence over the individual interest.
Revisited in the health context that concerns us, this would mean for each of us to say to ourselves that “my freedom is worth nothing if to use it amounts to infecting the other!”
This would be the slogan of an ideal world in which the conscience of everyone to be responsible for all would predominate.
Looking at it closely, men, proud and convinced that their thoughts can triumph and be inscribed in space and time, believe themselves free!
But fundamentally, this freedom is framed by strict requirements and rules that cannot be circumvented: we cannot escape death, nor go back.
We are not free to refuse our own birth, to be someone other than ourselves.
On the other hand, we are free to act or to remain passive, to conjugate the verbs to accept or refuse, to improve the image that we have of ourselves and that we send back to others, and to a certain extent to forge our destiny.
We are in fact “free to be free beings in a relentless world” and that comes down to choosing between good and bad or more often between worse and less bad.
One could borrow from Friedrich Engels his definition of freedom which he sees as the ability to recognize what is necessary.
For all that, living is also trying to avoid the worst, and contrary to what one might think at first glance, the worst is not necessarily death.
To be free is not to seek pleasure at all costs; it may be to let reason speak. It is, for example, the resignation of the smoker who quits smoking, the separation of the patient between the consequences of an illness that will cause him to die and the heaviness of the treatment that makes him suffer.
Governing is planning, they say. In practice, this often comes down to choosing between two drawbacks.
So it is advisable to underline the relevance of the remarks of the President of the French Republic when he specifies that “during the health crisis, what we did is not a deprivation of freedoms. We have freely and collectively agreed to reduce some of our capacities to do, to interact to protect others ”.
And what about that day of chaos that shook America and gave a dismaying image of deteriorating democracy…
In view of the violence deployed by several hundred Republican sympathizers invading the seat of Congress in Washington, Abraham Lincoln must have turned in his grave!
Respect for civil liberties is at the very heart of the functioning of any democracy, and America believed itself to be a model of its kind capable of exporting the pattern.
These abuses committed in a sulphurous context of electoral results, where a loser stokes the embers of frustration and galvanizes his supporters in the manner of a dangerous arsonist, have caused a real “image damage” for American democracy and put to even more badly the acceptance of the word freedom.
The inseparable corollary of freedom is responsibility: this is a universal life strategy that we must (re) learn to integrate into our respective daily lives.
Poetry has this power to move the mind with verse.
I invite all of us to reread Paul Eluard, who knew how to find the right words to talk about it – in full knowledge of the facts – better than anyone *: May they inspire us..!
* Freedom I write your name – 1942