I always thought personal freedom was the greatest good - whom to date, who to marry, what job to take up and where to live. But, I recently came across a conflict - how much personal freedom is right and how much is not right and how do you draw the line. Since it involves another person, where do you draw the line?
For instance, in India it is everyone’s job to tell you that you have no right to have pre-marital sex. A lot of my uncles told me how I should not “hurt” my parents by refusing to get married. From their belief system, they did not think they were intruding into my space or blocking my personal freedom. But I felt very strongly about my own life and what I should do with it. In fact I did it all the time.
But, at the same time, I thought it was my job to tell friends to get out of stupid relationships. Relationships which were hurting them and hurting others. Is that not a form of personal freedom that I am intruding in to? Am I not giving someone space by telling him/ her to get out of an abusive relationship? I believe that I am protecting the person (like my mum believed she was protecting me by asking me not to move out of home), but am I just unnecessarily making decisions for the other person? Also, am I allowed to make decisions for the other person in a situation like this? Am I intruding into someone’s freedom by not letting the person kill himself/ herself?
What are my guidelines? Is it the law? It does not seem to be the law since I completely support smoking weed.
As I type this out, it seems like my motivation is from the right that everyone has to be happy and fearless. But, I have been scared so many times in the past; and unhappy too. Owing to my decisions of living alone and independently. So, what are my guidelines for personal freedom? Is it long term good for the other person? Who am I to decide the long term good for anyone - it is subjective. My mum believed I would reap benefits out of becoming an engineer; but I chose an alternative lifestyle and career and I am quite happy with it.
So, is there no such thing as 100% personal freedom?