"I have seen the freest among you wear their freedom as a yoke and a handcuff"
September 15, 2001 1:42 AM   Subscribe

"I have seen the freest among you wear their freedom as a yoke and a handcuff", said Kahlil Gibran's Prophet, "and my heart bled within me; for you can only be free when even the desire of seeking freedom becomes a harness to you, and when you cease to speak of freedom as a goal and a fulfillment. You shall be free indeed when your days are not without a care nor your nights without a want and a grief."
posted by RichLyon (8 comments total)
well put.
(and the gif's can't be beat)
posted by elle at 2:44 AM on September 15, 2001

About as real and meaningful as Plato's Ideals. Even when possessed, freedom must always be attended to and defended. The forces of entropy will always try to erode freedom. Freedom is active, not passive.
posted by rushmc at 7:26 AM on September 15, 2001

[this is good]
posted by roboto at 8:14 AM on September 15, 2001

Gibran was a Sufi, one of the Arabic gnostics whose roots predate Islam and Christianity by centuries. Unfortunately, the spiritual wisdom of the Sufis is considered heresy by the Taliban and the other Islamic "fundamentalists". Sufism's Many Paths
posted by username at 8:20 AM on September 15, 2001

Obtaining this as an America,.. we
have yet, a long ways to go.
posted by Kodel at 7:04 PM on September 15, 2001

Last line:
"But rather when these things girdle your life and yet you rise above them naked and unbound."
posted by fooljay at 7:15 PM on September 15, 2001

rushmc/fooljay "unless you break the chains which you at the dawn of your understanding have fastened around your noon hour". I took this poem to represent an aspect of the debate we had here, which concerned the wisdom of circumscribing the American government's freedom to monitor its citizens because of the threat it presented to individual "liberty".

Your notions of freedom are rooted in 18th century political philosophy - literally "the dawn of your understanding". Here we are in the 21st - the "noon hour". The nature of individual liberty has changed continuously since King George III was gouging you for taxes, and your understanding of it should have changed with it or you will never be able to rise above current reality and remain free. (... it can be interpreted as saying).

Your current struggle to come to terms with the security requirements of the modern world can be viewed (without diminishing it) as the consequence of the gap that has developed between the current meaning of liberty and your outmoded conception of it. This poem is loaded with imagery that helps describes how it can look from our perspective - "prostrate yourself and worship your own freedom", "slaves humble themselves before a tyrant", "wear their freedom as a yoke", "that which you call freedom is the strongest of these chains" and "dazzle the eyes. " (athough fooljay helped me put some sunglasses on).
posted by RichLyon at 7:26 AM on September 17, 2001

I meant to say "your potentially outmoded conception of it."
posted by RichLyon at 7:44 AM on September 17, 2001

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