Real freedom is free as a bird. To humankind it must include, as an option, unequivocally and with the dignity of the approval and support of the general population, to live as indigenous people lived successfully for millennia in all quarters of the world. Free. Nomadically or settled. Unencumbered save those material possessions that they can use while they live.
We are each born a biological entity on a planet that supports life. Only by the consent of our parents were we defacto presumed into a system of governance thereby obligating us to comply.
Alas, the system exists, perfectly imperfect, to recognize the rights of those voluntarily compliant who, en masse, validate the system itself through their choices made within the precepts of the system itself.

Any person that hints at opting out of the system is faced with calls to be excommunicated as sociological heretics.  Figuratively banished to a cave in the deepest woods. All public convenience, all amenity, all society no longer theirs to partake of while the system presumes to occupy humanity and, indeed, the planet.

If that same person remains on the fringes of the system, (now called the margins) they are subject to pressures from the core of the system. These pressures overtly or covertly chastise them, belittle them and undermine their dignity subtly discouraging their resolve to live a wholesome, self determined, free existence.

The system, itself being managed and organized by established, system enfranchised classes of people, seeks to discredit, nay, vilify any way of life that does not conform. It seems that, to them, freedom is a word so much more than an act.

In private they cast resentful accusations of freeloader, drain on the system, work-shy, hippy, bum, vagrant, transient, and allusions to crime, safety, mental health and sanitation are used as innuendo against anyone that chooses low-income, modest means and simple living over the norm of the high consumption debt ridden system.
There is a class of people in our society that choose real freedom. On balance their contribution vs unsustainable “necessities” would appear to be more favourable than most. They live simply.
Their carbon footprint, consumption and indeed their numbers are so nominal that their burden on society is far less than the burden of society upon itself. And yet, they are vilified.

Furthermore, within society there are considerable existing freedoms that are seemingly kept secret for fear people will exercise and enjoy them.

There is even a sad contingent among the population that believe that if there isn’t a law giving permission to do something, then it is, in fact, illegal. Which, of course, is preposterous.

Real freedom cannot be granted to humankind. It can only be taken away, or erased through coersion, oppression and injustice. The one grand example being the freedom washed away from indigenous people.

Real freedom is essential living as an important model for sustainability and community. Over the centuries humankind has ‘existed’ (indigenous) or ‘progressed’ (the system). With progress, humanity has too often discarded the old leaving behind the beautiful nuance of essential living in exchange for convenience, comfort, luxury and, ironically, expediency.

Humanity cannot afford to lose the example, the model, of real freedom lest it loses its way and wishes to return from whence it came; to adopt simpler living replete with a full compliment of happiness and that greatest of human needs, fulfilment.

As the planet changes course toward sustainability and environmental stewardship and as technology moves rapidly toward automation, we’re witnessing a transformation of human endeavour.

The system, perfectly imperfect has, through consumption, proven itself unsustainable. A new attitude of sustainability through real freedom murmurs in the wings. Given dignity, and an accepted right to co-exist with the system, ensures the principles of real freedom will endure for the benefit of all.

Michael Gilgan
Society for the Enhancement of Real Freedom.