I’m reading a book by Edward de Bono titled, The Happiness Purpose. In it, he states something that I thought was counter-intuitive:
[T]he price of freedom is decision.
This didn’t make sense to me. I can agree that without the ability to decide, there is no freedom, but no freedom UNTIL you decide? I didn’t get that.
But as I read statement over a few more times, I began to understand his point.
The price of freedom is making a decision. Yes, making a decision costs you freedom–you’ve eliminated other options–and that is the price you pay for your freedom. BUT if you never make a decision, you never exercise your freedom. It remains in an unactualized limbo, a potential freedom–which is valuable, but incomplete.
Victor Frankl talks about freedom and decision in his famous book Man’s Search for Meaning, where he describes maintaining his freedom as a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp. If I remember right, he wrote about honing in on his locus of control. For Frankl, the locus of control that the Nazis could not touch was his decision about the meaning of events. That was where he found and exercised his freedom. And this illustrates de Bono’s point as well. The possible meanings Frankl could choose from were infinite. But it was in deciding on the meaning that he exercised his freedom.
So freedom is a transaction, and the price is a decision.
I find decisions hard to make sometimes. When I feel hesitant, it’s usually because I believe if I wait, I’ll get more information and make a more informed decision later. Unfortunately, I sometimes procrastinate and never make the decision, which I understand now is often a loss of freedom. Of course, not deciding is a decision, too. But other times, I simply wasn’t willing to pay the price for my freedom.
So making a decision is how we achieve freedom.
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