The curious case of the two most important words

Janis Joplin has always been one of my favourite singers. I absolutely adore her voice. This love for her (and certain other people), is what lead to one of my previous posts on rockstars (The Forever 27 Club). But today, the curios case is not about any one of those (Though I’m sure I’ll be back with more posts on musicians. Oh! They’re just too fascinating). Today while listening to one of her songs, Me and Bobby McGee, one sentence really struck a chord somewhere:

Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose

And that really got me thinking. I mean, isn’t freedom really important to us humans? Right since we’re kids, we’re taught about a million kinds of freedoms. The Indian Freedom Struggle, the American freedom movement, the French Revolution, we’re taught about the fundamental rights we have like the freedom of speech, freedom of religion, we’re taught about individualistic freedom. And aren’t we always trying to achieve it, through our own different ways? We often resort to religion, to meditation, to alcohol, to drugs. We fight with our parents for that freedom and name it “the generation gap”. All in an attempt to escape reality. To be free.

But what does it really mean to be free? If we didn’t have any ties with anyone or anyone to bother us with, we won’t have most of the miseries. Can we really be free when we are always tied to something? Doesn’t this line really drive home the point of freedom? I think it does. Absolute freedom is a myth.

Moving to the next aspect of this curious case, I’m gonna talk about Into the Wild, the movie based on the life of Christopher McCandless. This brilliant movie has one of those phrases that leave you thinking for hours:

Happiness only real when shared. 

Makes absolute sense, doesn’t it? I mean I don’t even have to think twice to tell you that it’s true. We’re always looking for stuff to share with people. Anything good or anything bad happens, you’ll just run to those near and dear ones to “share” it with them. To laugh about it, to cry about it, to celebrate about it, to hate something  together.

But what does it mean to combine these two things? You can never be absolutely free unless you don’t have anything left to lose. And you’ll be happy because you’re free. But you won’t be really happy unless you have someone to share it with. And you don’t have anyone to share it with because you don’t have anything or anyone worth losing. So in essence are both absolute freedom and absolute happiness huge lies?

Maybe. Maybe they are. But I know one thing for certain. I’ve been happy and I have felt what freedom is. I’ve been happy when I am with my loved ones, with my parents, my friends. Yes, we’ve all had our differences. And yes, at times I have been miserable. And at other times, I’ve made them miserable. But isn’t it a part of the fun thing called life? Won’t it get a little drag if all we did was be happy all the time? I think happiness will lose the position of the most sought after thing among humans.

And as far as freedom is concerned, according to me, freedom is in being what you want to be. Freedom is in loving the people you want to love. Freedom is in accepting people because you love them irrespective of what they stand for.

Because the trick to living a fulfilling life is, I think, in finding a balance between the two. Finding the right equilibrium between being free and being happy. Because all we wanna do in this world is be happy, isn’t it?


Image courtesy: and “Into the Wild”



8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. WordsFallFromMyEyes
    Jun 11, 2012 @ 08:57:55

    Happiness only real when shared… yes, that resonates.

    This is a great post – I love how you’ve got so much respect for Janis. As for freedom meaning nothing left to lose… this is really thought provoking!

    I think possibly our souls are free, but our bodies are planted by gravity in all that surrounds us – the people, laws, courts, and as we cannot escape them, no, none of us are really free.

    Would I be “free” if I didn’t have to work 9-5, siiiiiigh? No, I wouldn’t. I would just have more time. Time to…. tend to my son’s needs/my needs – I’m not even free of my own human need to go to the laundromat,do the washing, so on, so on. Seriously, thought provoking…

    Cheers 🙂


  2. Shalvika P
    Jun 11, 2012 @ 09:58:29

    Thanks a lot Noeleen! I’m glad that you find it as something that you can relate to. 🙂


  3. Anne Schilde
    Jun 11, 2012 @ 22:29:51

    Freedom is the realization that happiness is a choice.
    Happiness is the realization that you’ve always been free.

    Janis Joplin was sooo awesome! ♥


  4. Lorna's Voice
    Jun 28, 2012 @ 19:54:38

    I think you’re right when you mention the need for balance. Absolute freedom and absolute happiness. Both would be chaotic for any one person and civilization in general. Plus, they mean different things to different people.

    You took on a complicated topic with thoughtfulness. Well done!


  5. societyred
    Jul 03, 2012 @ 21:37:07

    Wow! You write like someone with more than 22 years behind them. I will be your 1,062nd follower…over a thousand followers in just over 2 months! Wow again! Clearly you have amazing things to say. Glad you visited my site and led me to yours!


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