What is the Meaning of Freedom?

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Freedom is often spoken of in what can be referred to as a loose sense of the word. One country has more freedom than another; a twenty-one year old has more freedom than a fifteen year old. What exactly does this word mean? For different people it may mean different things, but there has to be an equilibrium that can be reached in order to determine the meaning of freedom itself. In one form, freedom can mean that a person has "exemption from an obligation."* If only the root (free) is looked at, it can be interpreted that one is "not under the control or power of another."*

However often the latter definition is used, it is also disagreed with, and for good reason: there is always a ruler, although the ruler may not necessarily be in the form of a person or group of persons. Take, for instance, the human body. It consists of basically three things, as far as ruling powers are concerned: prudence, will, and raw appetite. Raw appetite can be looked at as what we have without reason, will is what can control raw appetite (or desires that we have without reason), and prudence is that which provides a choice between will and raw appetite. Prudence has the ability to choose between the two options. This is just one example of how a ruler must always exist, although it may not have a physical form.

Taking this into consideration, the meaning of freedom can further be explored. Perhaps it can be defined as having the liberty to choose who/what the ruler is to be. For, since nothing can exist without having some form of rule, if people are not permitted to choose what the ruling factor is, then that would not be considered having freedom.
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