“Minds Feel More Crimped, Fear More Pervasive, Possibility More Limited”

Maybe to lead happy or satisfying lives, we need more adventure, or more projects (hard and important ones) to commit ourselves to?

(p. 19) Freedom is still out there. We all have our idea of it, the deferred dream. Your psyche builds layers of protection around your most vulnerable traits, which may be closely linked to that precious essence in which freedom resides. Freedom is inseparable from risk.

. . .
I don’t know if the world is freer than a half-century ago. On paper, it is. The totalitarian Soviet Imperium is gone. The generals who bossed Latin America are gone, generally. Asia has unshackled itself and claims this century as its own. Media has opened out, gone social.
Yet minds feel more crimped, fear more pervasive, possibility more limited, adventure more choreographed, politics more stale, economics more skewed, pressure more crushing, escape more elusive.
. . .
Which brings me to Finnegan’s wonderful book, a kind of hymn to freedom and passion. Freedom is inside you. It’s the thing that cannot be denied. For Finnegan, that’s surfing and writing. “How could you know your limits unless you tested them?” he asks — a question as true before the ferocious energy of the wave as before the infinite possibilities of the written form.

For the full commentary, see:
Cohen, Roger. “Ways to Be Free.” The New York Times (Sat., JAN. 23, 2016): A19.
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date JAN. 21, 2016.)

The Finnegan book praised in the passage quoted above, is:
Finnegan, William. Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life. New York: Penguin Press, 2015.

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