This was written as an assignment for my grade 12 religion class, which I recently re-discovered. Interesting for me to read, to see how it aligns with that which I believe now, but likely boring as hell for others. Enjoy at your own risk.
To me, freedom in all its forms, is very important. Freedom of choice, freedom of speech, freedom of creativity – all of these I value dearly. Although I am generally a rule-abiding individual, I am liable to break the rules once my freedom is infringed upon. For example, if someone were to tell me that I am no longer allowed to be out past dark, I would be very upset. Although I do not generally stay out very late anyway, it is the idea that someone is trying to take away my right to do so that would irritate me.
I also believe that freedom of thought and speech enables us to better help society by saying and doing what we want, within reasonable boundaries. A famous example of somebody who used their freedom to help the betterment of society is Gandhi. Going against all odds, it was his freedom of thought that compelled him to free India from British rule. A much less famous example, yet possibly just as influential in the modern world, is Free/Open Source Software (FOSS). Although many people are not familiar with this concept, FOSS is software wherein the code used to make it is freely available and can be downloaded, edited and shared by anybody, all for free. What does this have to do with freedom, you ask? Quite simply, FOSS gives software authors the tools and resources they need to better their skills, and to help society. For example, FOSS was used for the One Laptop Per Child project, an attempt to bring technology to some of the poorest regions of the globe. Without the freedom that is FOSS, the software engineers that were part of the project would have been held back by legal matters, corporate greed, and capitalist competition.
An example in my own life of what freedom means to me, aside from the fact that I am avid supporter of FOSS, is that I will almost always say what I think. Without freedom of speech, people are not allowed to criticize their government, poke fun at the media, or be honest about what they think about a matter of importance. Although I do not openly insult people, I am honest, and will say what I honestly think when asked. If I were not able to do this, or if I had to fear for my life every time I made fun of Harper, I believe that my life would far too restrictive for me to handle.