Free-ness

No, there is no spelling error in the title of this entry. And yes, there is no such word, but the choice was deliberate.

Free is such a pervasive and yet often mis-used word. For example, in accounting there is the term free cash. This certainly does not mean free cash for the taking, as in free beer! Instead this term means a sum which has not been committed, available for various purposes, an abundance of, etc.

In a sense, the free in free cash is more like the free in freedom of speech. But just like in freedom of speech, there is always a responsibility associated with the action. This freedom certainly does not mean it’s OK to cause harm to others just because it is your freedom to express yourself.

In Singapore, I have noticed that whenever one is asked what religion one believes in, a standby answer tends to be a free thinker. However, I really wonder how many people really know the true meaning? Often, I am rather sceptical of this response because it may just be out of convenience, since the question has never been considered properly.

To me, to be a thinker who is also free means making a conscious effort to consider the pros/cons, the consequences, etc., and to be able to make an informed decision. Bounded by laziness to me is no true freedom at all. Perhaps considered in this light, we are not so free as we thought after all?

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