It is a personal struggle every time I sit in front of the screen, to choose between chasing the horizon or marking an axis. One requires you to fly broad and later demands to drill deep. This choice pushes my thoughts onboard a swing bound in perpetual motion between freedom and restriction.
We are naturally inclined towards freedom. We are conditioned to respond with glee to its utterance. We can empathize with people struggling for freedom. It evokes mostly positive emotions among masses across culture.
The theme of this post is to probe the idea of untethered freedom.
“Routine, in an intelligent man, is a sign of ambition.” — W.H. Auden
Can we let a kid be driven by its own intuition? Should we let people commit suicide? Aren’t current laws analogous to a cease-fire for control and power? These are surely very important questions and that is why we will intentionally stay away from them.
Freedom can be overwhelming and paralyzing. The characters I developed before ON, I introduced him in the last post, were usually fighting for their freedom. They were burdened with beliefs and dogmas imposed by society and needed to break free. They were the ‘coming of age’ characters, suffocated by restrictions, who stood against conformity to realize their potential, ultimately gaining freedom. This background made it difficult for me to empathize with ON as he was at the other end of the spectrum. He had achieved his big goals in life. He had freedom of space, time, money and thought. The quest of his story became ‘restriction’. He now has an opportunity to define his life. Alternatively, the question becomes–what would you choose to believe if you had everything?
That freedom was scary. He was free to add or carve things off his life. He only had a year to live. The mental itch I had that he lacked depth and desire was suddenly gone. It was evident that he seeks for conviction in his beliefs. This made him an emotionally charged character. A character that can stay with us and mark the psyche of the reader acting on the golden rule–any information delivered without emotion isn’t retained.
“You’re afraid because you can feel freedom closing in upon you. You’re afraid because freedom is terrifying.” — V for Vendetta.
Stories are thus created by the restrictions imposed on the actors. The setting of the story and the routines of character creates empathy in the reader. Though freedom grants scale, restrictions are the narrative hooks that make us root for a character. It provides a wall for our thoughts to bounce back and echo. Restrictions engage us to create a macro within our micro. Restrictions create; freedom concludes.
Be free in your exploration and precise in your strokes–for creation is a violent act. Freedom helps you discover yourself but restriction lets you create yourself. The former is a look in the rear-view mirror and later is an exposition through the windshield.