In the US, the 4th of July marks the anniversary of thirteen colonies declaring independence from Britain. They gained their freedom from British rule and government.
In contrast, Canada Day, celebrated on the 1st of July, marks the anniversary of four separate colonies uniting into a single dominion with the British Empire. They gained their freedom to.
Both holidays celebrate freedom, but from very different perspectives. One is freedom from, and the other, freedom to.
But is it really a matter of perspective?
The words freedom, free will, and liberty are frequently used interchangeably. However, according to Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Ph.D., and author of Control and Freedom: Power and Paranoia in the Age of Fiber Optics (MIT, 2006), there is significant difference:
- Liberty is linked to human subjectivity; people have (or have not) liberty.
- Free will is the quality of being free from control.
- Freedom can exist within a state of liberty: a person can be liberated but not experience freedom. Just as control differs from discipline, freedom differs from liberty.
And then there is the matter of negative liberty (or negative rights) and positive liberty (or positive rights.) In Two Concepts of Liberty, Isaiah Berlin wrote that “I am slave to no man,” as an example of negative liberty, and “I am my own master,” as an example of positive liberty.
How do you experience freedom and liberty? Are you your own master?
This article and Article Nuggets explore the concept of freedom, how we self-handicap our liberty and freewill, and ways to exercise more freedom and power at work.
This is a brief synopsis of a 1,000-word article and 3-Article Nuggets*, suitable for consultants’ newsletters for executives and leaders in organizations. It is available for purchase with full reprint rights, which means you may put your name on it and use it in your newsletters, blogs or other marketing materials. You may also modify it and add your personal experiences and perspectives.
The complete article includes these important concepts:
- Defining freedom
- Freedom management
- Freedom strategies
- Exercising our freedom
- More freedom and power at work
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