Freedom

We do not have to “gain” freedom because freedom has always been with us and is not something to be gained in the end through strict and faithful adherence to some definite formulas. Formulas can only inhibit freedom and pre-formations only squelch creativity and impose mediocrity.
— 🥋Bruce Lee 🥋
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There are three levels of freedom we need to differentiate:

1st is Realistic, Basic, or Fundamental Freedom: 

This is the Freedom we talk about in the Declaration of Independence, Our Constitution, and The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

It basically allows us to live functionally as a society, and has more to do with legality and protection than Freedom. 

2nd is Freedom of Action or Choice:

Banished Cavemen or Hermits come to mind.  Their freedom is guaranteed by their isolation because no other person has control over them. 

In reality we all have this freedom, but for many it doesn't seem like it because the consequences for exhibiting this freedom are so daunting.  

Think of prisoners, sex workers, oppressed civilizations.  Their freedom of Action or Choice has not changed, but they will tell you it has because the only two choices they see are obedience or death.

3rd is Ultimate Freedom or Freedom of the Mind, Body, and Soul: 

This is the type of freedom Bruce Lee is referring to. It is absolute and unencumbered by all external factors. Preached by Taoists and Stoics alike.

Humans have an incredible capacity for imagination and willpower.  

Owning and honing that power is what provides true and absolute freedom.  

It is the prisoner who remains content, strong, and inspired despite his circumstance.

It is the sex worker who is able to free their minds of the horrors they face.  One who's emotions and strength have been beaten and battered time and time again, yet they remain themselves.

It is the oppressed people who fight for generations because expressing their freedom is synonymous with feeling it.

Martin Luther King, Gandhi, James Stockdale, Cato, and ANY Sex Worker who remained strong.

These people have personified Ultimate Freedom. So no, there is no formula, magic-pill, or shortcuts.  There are only decades of unimaginably hard dedicated work to achieve such unapologetically raw freedom. 🔥🕊🔥

Within you is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.
— Hermann Hesse