Voluntary compliance with certain social restrictions for the sake of the good of society as a whole enriches both the individual and the society of which he is a member.
We value individual freedom, but we must not forget that man is essentially a social being.
He has risen to his present position by learning to adjust his individualism to the demands of social, general human development.
If this individual freedom goes away, then surely everything goes downhill, because if the individual is not respected, what then is left for the society?
Individual freedom itself can cause a person to voluntarily lose himself completely in the service of society. If, however, this is imputed to him as a duty, the individual becomes like a machine and society is destroyed step by step.
No society can be built sustainably on the denial of individual freedom. It is against human nature itself.
Just as a man cannot grow horns and a tail, so he cannot exist as a man without a mind of his own.
In fact, even those who do not believe in individual freedom believe in their own freedoms.
The Sanskrit term Mahatma ("great soul") is derived from the Indian philosophical, religious and social traditions. With it, Gandhi was greeted by the poet Rabindranath Tagore on his return from Africa to Bombay on 9 January 1915.
Gandhi himself admitted in his autobiography that he considered himself unworthy of this title.
Albert Einstein said of him:
"Future generations will find it hard to believe that such a man, of flesh and blood, once walked the earth."
Here, some of the wisdom of the "Great Soul" that we can learn from:
"My concept of freedom is not a limited concept. It encompasses that of human freedom in all its grandeur.
Each individual should have complete freedom to regularly use his endowments, to the benefit of his neighbors, but no one should arbitrarily enjoy the benefits of these endowments. He is part of the people or, let's say, of the social structure that surrounds him. That is why he cannot use his talents for himself alone, but must use them for the social structure of which he is only a part, and from whose benevolence he lives in complete freedom.
There is no such thing as a slow, walking freedom. Freedom is like birth. If we are not completely free, we are slaves. Every birth happens in an instant.
If Almighty God has given the humblest of His creatures the freedom to sin, it is beyond my understanding how human beings, supposedly increasingly experienced and intelligent, take pleasure in depriving other human beings of this precious right.
As any state is fit to eat, drink and breathe, a nation is even more fit to manage its own relations, however badly it does so.
Control imposed by violence, repression is always bad...
When this control is removed, the people will breathe freely, they will have the right to make mistakes. This ancient method of development, making mistakes and fixing them, is the way to go.
It is my firm belief that one never loses one's freedom except through one's own weaknesses.
No tyrant has ever succeeded in accomplishing his ends without dragging his victims with him; usually by force, as is often the case. Most people tend to choose submission to the tyrant's will rather than suffer the consequences of their resistance.
Whether we are alone or many, we must refuse to accept "freedom" at the cost of our self-respect or our cherished beliefs.
I have known even little children who become intransigent when attempts are made against them to trample upon their manifest will, however weak that will may be in the judgment of their parents.
We must also agree with death if we do not live as free men and women.
One should be grateful for one's addiction. He can be independent as soon as he activates his will.
People striving for freedom would hardly think of enslaving others.
If they tried to do so, they would only tighten the chains of their own slavery.
In my view, Independence and freedom is nothing but the realization of the "Kingdom of God" within ourselves and on this Earth."
– Mahatma Gandhi
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