This isn’t the first time I’ve blogged about freedom and free agency, and I seriously doubt it will be the last, but I believe quite strongly in the principle and spend a good amount of time pondering it and things related to it.
On that note, I was thinking about agency the other day, and about whether or not we really have agency, and to what degree we are truly free…and I came to a realization:
Without wealth, it is virtually impossible to be truly free.
Unless you want to become a hermit…which I must admit, sounds appealing some days 🙂
Now there may be exceptions to this statement, depending on the desires of the individual, but I would say for the majority of humanity it is a fairly accurate observation.
How so? Well, think of it this way. The world is full of many incredible things; homes, cars, clothes, gadgets, places to see, things to eat, people to meet, things to do. The vast, vast majority of these things cost money, and some of them require a tremendous amount of money.
Therefore, if someone desires to have a nice home and an exotic car in the garage, or to take a trip to Paris and a tour of the best restaurants there, or even to take a year or two to travel the world helping people to leverage technology to improve their quality of life…well, they can’t simply exercise their agency and poof, have or do what they want. In fact, no matter what they do, they may never be able to have that thing or experience that they really want.
Therefore, the use of agency is limited by one’s financial means
I would postulate that to truly be free requires that one be able to go anywhere, at almost any time, and do or buy almost anything. Again, this definition is going to vary depending on the desires of the individual, but it is technically correct. If you can’t do that, then there are limitations on the use of your agency, restrictions, boundaries. In effect, a lack of wealth leaves one in a state of bondage, a form of imprisonment. Alas, happiness and imprisonment rarely if ever go hand in hand.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that money buys happiness, but it absolutely buys freedom. If you view money as the means to an end that it is, and have a clear idea of how you want to use that freedom, then it would be incredibly difficult to be truly free and not also truly happy.
My 2 cents, for what it’s worth. Thoughts? Comments?