Balancing on a Seesaw of Freedom
Balancing on a Seesaw of Freedom
  • Ewha Voice
  • 승인 2020.03.15 17:06
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Recall your childhood memory. What is your favorite spot in the playground? Among many apparatuses, riding the seesaw was one of the enjoyable spots in the playground. It is fun to balance the seating position for equilibrium. Being lifted up provided a conquering feeling and as I was being lowered, I wanted to go higher and this urge made the seesaw exciting. Sometimes standing unstably and stepping in the middle of it by adjusting the weight of my leg was satisfying as well because I felt like becoming a rational judge that can manage both sides equally.


There are commonalities between balancing the seesaw and the concept of freedom in modern society. Freedom is complex, entailing both positive and negative types. There is no strict boundary of distinguishing them and one side does not always outweigh its counterpart in terms of importance and priority. Therefore, the community is a hemisphere blended with these freedoms and I believe that it is ideal for them to maintain its state of Adam and Eve’s “hand-in-hand” and being “individual” which are illustrated in John Milton’s masterpiece “Paradise Lost.”


The consideration of being free or not in the 21st century makes me consider that I am mostly enjoying freedom that serves civic duty. When I encounter the elderly handing out flyer sheets in the cold I am faced with the choice to receive it or not. However, I tend to accept it because otherwise guilt is brought about. This guilt leads to experiencing cognitive dissonance since declining one’s offer goes against the moral principle of a prosocial behavior. Another instance would be when you have freedom to take maximum 21 credits in school which entail drawbacks, experiencing exhaustion throughout the semester. The high standard of the goals pushes oneself to the societal ideal of being a hard-worker. Despite of regretting the decision to take maximum credits, it was a free decision one has made to go along with the standards of modern society where diligence is one of the prioritized value and regarded as an inevitable factor to arrive at the road of success.


There are also times where freedom is referred to as liberation from constraints. For instance, there is a university culture of gathering and dining when involved in student clubs or communities and this sometimes make one uncomfortable. Suppose that you prefer to spend time together with those whom you are familiar with and don’t want to participate in social meetings unless it is mandatory. You decide not to go there and enjoy your time with others. By choosing this option, you may regard yourself as being free from the social dining culture. However, while enjoying the choice to be free from such practices, you might also feel anxious due to the fact that you will not be able to become used to the environment and become prepared to encounter situations where you need to participate as a way of showing courtesy and manners to others.


Costs exist for positive and negative freedom. If the former type is strictly managed, it can lead to a totalitarian society due to obeying rigid morals. On the contrary, biased favoritism towards negative freedom can result in deviation from fundamental social norms because of striving for one’s genuine freedom which usually involve breaking the boundary of social norms. Hence, these freedoms should maintain its state like that of a Möbius strip that maneuvers throughout the hemisphere and the cycle will bring about a neutral and an eternal stance of equilibrium. It is ideal to balance the adequate point of strength not only where one can live in a community with cooperation and contribution to virtue, but also where she can acquire the ability to express her unique self and guarantee the right to be free from oppressing standards of normality fixed by society. Therefore, today I am standing in the gist of the seesaw, scaling for impartiality by riding on the wave of both freedoms.

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