The concept of freedom is rather complex, multi-faceted, and can at times feel rather ambiguous. At the same time, freedom is a concept that remains highly debated and treasured to people of all walks of life around the globe. Participating in the Dimensions of Freedom course this semester gave me a deeper understanding of the different dynamics that freedom holds, and why it has been upheld as revered and important concept throughout time itself. At face value, many people would agree that freedom is the right to act in whatever way one chooses, regardless of the consequences (Wesel, 2009). However, after reading and taking to heart Maya Angelou's "Graduation", Plato's "Allegory of the Cave", Daniel Quinn's "Ishmael", and Parker J. Palmer's "The Woodcarver", I have come to realize that freedom holds a deeper meaning to me as an individual. .
Freedom encompasses happiness and achieving one's dreams while remaining intellectually uninhibited so as to be able to explore the vast amount of knowledge that can be found in every society in this world. More than having the right to act without restriction, freedom allows us to pursue consistent harmony with other human beings regardless of our social status. Although the definition of freedom can be nuanced and changed based on any given context, it goes beyond its literal meaning, and encompasses social equity, and peaceful co-existence without restricting another's journey along the way. .
After comparing "Ishmael" to the "Allegory of the Cave", I realized that several aspects of freedom are addressed in each work align with my new-found philosophy of freedom. For example, Daniel Quinn explores the juxtaposition between physical captivity and intellectual autonomy as part of the core theme in Ishmael. Similarly, in the Allegory of the Cave, Plato emphasizes the need for people to push beyond the chains which imprison an unenlightened mind in order to crawl out of the dark, captivating cave and move towards the light of true knowledge and understanding (Plato, 533).