“The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.” – Albert Camus
The sad truth is that we are only as free as we are willing to be and most people actually do not want freedom. They say they do, but they don’t. What they want is to be taken care of and have the tough decisions made for them. They don’t want the adventure, but they want to watch it on tv and talk about it as if they were a part of it.
The desire to live a secure and relatively boring existence is not a bad thing. Everyone has their own preferences and adversity to risk, the problem develops when a desire to live a secure existence means you want everyone else to conform to that way of life. Sometimes this takes the form of the use of government but just as often non-state societal pressures are placed on people to fall in line. Stigmas are developed about people who do certain things that strip them of their individuality and responsibility. Instead of getting to know people most would rather resort to stereotypes that fit within their vision of the world.
So, some of us must live free even if it is an act of rebellion (and maybe partially BECAUSE it is an act of rebellion). This means more than just breaking bad laws when the opportunity and a cost/benefit analysis makes it worth it for you. This also means openly and actively rejecting societal norms that unnecessarily restrict your freedom. Liberty isn’t pretty and rebellion isn’t clean but it is necessary for some of us to reach our full potential and the romantic in me believes that rebels also help the passive members of society get closer to their potential.
If someone looks back on my life I hope they see someone who stood on his own, did what was right, and decided to live instead of just exist, even if that makes me an enemy of the state or the oppressive norms and mores put in place by those who would simply search for easy survival.