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The Meaningful Purpose Path to Liberty

Luis A. Marrero, January 31, 2023

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. ~ Preamble to the Declaration of Independence of the United State of America

Many citizens of modern democracies enjoy the benefits of a system of laws that promises the blessings of liberty or freedom. Yet, oddly, many also squander freedom and choose a life of oppression and suffering.

But let’s start by defining liberty and oppression.

Most dictionaries agree that liberty or freedom entails the right to do as one pleases, free from arbitrary or despotic control, and yet within those specified limits that protect others’ rights too. Those specified limits are known as rules, guidelines, and laws – this last one enacted by duly-elected government officials. Liberty creates conditions where we can be happy or at least free of low spirits such as sadness, worry, and despair.

Oppression, however, implies limiting one’s intrinsic rights through force and the unjust exercise of authority. When we think of oppression, we generally think of an external force preventing us from exercising our free will. We feel a weight and suffer when oppressed. This weight can show up as anguish and distress. Yet, unfortunately, there is oppression that is the outcome of our own choices. Let’s consider an example of how we can oppress ourselves.

Tony has money in his pocket. He sees the video game console he always wanted and exercises the freedom to spend his earned salary as he wishes. However, a week before getting paid by his employer, Tony is short of money for food. Noticing his empty pockets, Tony feels guilty, in anguish, and desperate. In other words, Tony is oppressed by his choice.

Meaningful Purpose Psychology helps people understand the meaning of their feelings. Feelings serve our awareness and help us build tactics to create conditions to feel good and avoid negative ones. For instance, feelings can help us self-regulate in the present moment to avoid the long-term negative consequences of our choices and to increase the odds that we will remain content.

Self-regulation entails, well, regulations! The point is that freedom from oppression can only happen when rules, norms, principles, and laws protect us – all of us. There is no such thing as freedom without laws, regulations, norms, and responsibilities.

“Freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness. That is why I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast.” ~ Viktor E. Frankl

For the most part, laws in democratic states are designed to protect you from others. They, too, will protect you if you are mentally unstable and might harm yourself. Assuming you are mentally well, you can prevent being under the weight of oppression if you choose meaningful options. These meaningful options will help you get along well with others and to exercise your freedom responsibly. These meaningful options we call The Path to a Meaningful Purpose.

You can contact me if you would like to learn more about The Path to a Meaningful Purpose and how to be free from the psychological tyranny of others or yourself. After all, you were meant to be free and happy.

© 2023 Luis A. Marrero, Boston Institute for Meaningful Purpose

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