What is freedom?

Usually, when someone asks this question, the answer given is “it means being able to do whatever you want, whenever you want”, “free will” or other comments along those lines.  In theory at least, freedom could be that– you could walk down the street and just shoot anyone who annoyed you or got in your way.   Once captured and subdued you would either be incarcerated for some period of time, or  you might be put to death.   Does this really count as freedom? Many, if not most, would say no.   How then does one define freedom if not the complete absence of limits and the ability to do whatever you want, whenever you want it?  Perhaps a better definition would be “to be able to act towards one’s own happiness, satisfaction, and material comfort within the bounds of familial and societal restraint.”  Obviously this is more easily done by some than by others, depending on the time and place in which you live.
Freedom, to me,  is the ability to be true to yourself, within the limits set by society, or to act towards it if such a possibility does not already exist.

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