American culture is obsessed with freedom. And I’m not talking about the Constitution or Bill of Rights. There is an obsession with freedom to do X, freedom to have Y.
Having more freedom to’s is great, but past a point of pretty-okay living, attaining more rights yields marginal returns on happiness because of the hedonic treadmill: we quickly take for granted all one-time changes to our lives. However, this doesn’t mean that we won’t all go on believing that we would be happier having more.
But there is a sweeter kind of freedom.
Freedom from desires. Freedom from distractions. Freedom from X.
What if you no longer had to be nagged by your mind? What if you were no longer pestered by the froth that is expectations, desires, and impulses?
What if you no longer had to fight mental weakness? What if you no longer got in between yourself and your longer-term goals?
What if all of the compulsive emotions just washed away?
This is possible.
Through self-discipline comes freedom.
Posted 2020 December 5, last updated 2021 January 10.
Get notified when new essays are posted.