What is the path to freedom?
First a definition - I like how Albert Camus summed it up, "Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better."
I'll say "being better" is increasing health, creativity and peace. None of those things can be bought, but it's painfully obvious when lack of funds stands in their way.
If you look around right now you might start to believe the path to freedom is paved with yoga retreats, sabbaticals and hobby farms, but what if you need to find peace and nurture creativity right in the midst of it all? What if your second work day starts at 10:00 PM? What if you need to provide nutritious meals for your family without increasing the budget? This perspective is missing from most of the books and articles regarding adventurous self discovery and improved health. Going green, mainstream appreciation of eastern philosophy and foodie mania have done a lot to make people aware of alternatives, but their attachment to marketing produces the same patterns of polarization we already see in our class system....I would venture to say that in some ways they have made them worse.
This divide is illustrated in many ways; sometimes it shows up as anti-intellectualism, but I think some of what we're calling anti-intellectualism is simply exhaustion and well founded loss of hope (both of which breed fear and anger). After a lifetime of working for slave wages would you encourage your child to pursue a degree in fine arts? Would you have time to read after needing to work 80 hrs a week to make rent? I know you would hesitate to take a chance when there's no safety net.
I'm interested in people who have their feet in both worlds. the ones that found freedom despite the odds. There are many voices that have been ghettoized, they're occasionally given a platform, but it's not much more than a side show. We'll know we're collectively on the path to freedom when we hear these voices, not just on patronizing cultural appreciation days, but at a level of acknowledgement educated white males have enjoyed for centuries.
So how do we accomplish this? I believe this evolution begins with a living wage. The dignity of receiving a decent exchange for ones work will be the first step to reducing the stress that cripples the mind and body. This breathing room will allow for the time and funds needed to nurture health and creativity; it will change family structures and education opportunities. Only when we understand how these inequities have shackled us will we begin to live in the land of the free.
I recently enjoyed reading this post at cheapbohemian on the subject of creativity and money. I encourage you to take a look... you might find yourself saying, "Virginia Woolf is my homegirl"