Eng 1121D E115
Prof S. Schmerler
Draft #2 Freedom
We all wonder, what does freedom really mean? America in itself is constantly changing: sometimes it seems as if religion can get some people into trouble, which makes people feel as if they do not have a voice or a say in what they may or may not believe in. We need things to change because this society seems as if it is being caught up with the old generation’s way of thinking: this has us all separated, it seems. Now, let us take women for example, I feel like not enough of us have certain rights to be truly free. This needs to drastically change for the future. We need more opportunities and more freedom in our everyday life. Let us make a change, because the future will still involve women and there is no way around it. Women exist in this world and play a vital role. Take a pause and think, how would this world be if women ceased to exist? For me, that is something my mind cannot even fathom.
In Bangladesh, women do not have certain rights. We are held accountable for a lot of things, when in reality, we don’t deserve the blame for them. We’re expected, for example, to listen to men and forced to cover up our heads, because the men in this society believes as if it’s okay for them to make all rules. They think it’s okay for them to decide what’s good or bad for women. Ridiculous, right? Also they won’t allow women to wear short dresses and we must be covered from head to toe. In a Muslim family women are treated as property.
Additionally, the ignorance that many women possess regarding their rights are feared of repercussion from a male dominated and highly chauvinistic society, which keeps us from speaking out for ourselves, or try to at least. For example, a female who walks out of the house to go the Bazar (shopping) to pick up something. Males will be so quick to judge and question why is she leaving the house without a hijab (covering head piece). So his mind is quick to rape her if she isn’t wearing one. This is sick, and we need to come to a resolution, because if we leave at a certain time, women in Bangladesh are targeted, threatened or harassed.
Another example, living under men’s rule is annoying and they think we should live a double standard life. Double standard means a rule or principle which is unfairly applied in different ways to different people or groups, especially when applied between women and men. I’m sure nobody wants to settle for that. At the end of the day we don’t want to be treated as second class citizens or property. We should be treated as equal.
In the Malcolm X reading, we see that he went through a hardship. He was locked up for burglary. Malcolm X, one of the most influential Black leaders of the twentieth century, found his life during his jail time. He got letters when he was locked up. From the day he got locked up he began on his journey to become a better reader, by studying the dictionary and learning words everyday and for a better vocabulary. This was his way of writing letters. Reading, writing, and understanding was his goal to improve. Education was important to him. During his time, slavery and separation was still present. Black people didn’t have the opportunity to get an education. Malcolm wanted a change. He taught himself to be educated. At the end of the day, his life changed for better. He eventually dedicated his life to Islam, and to Mecca, which is one of the five pillars of Islam. He was chastised for changing his name from a caucasian man’s last name to X. When Malcom made his pilgrimage he changed his name to el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz. I see this as a great example for the evolution of oppressed women in some religious belief systems.
Overall, Bangladeshi women don’t have authority as much as men do. I can compare this to myself, a Bangladeshi woman, and Malcolm X , who lived in the Islam world. Malcolm X got locked up and he was still able to build his life to become a better person. Whereas even women suffer from discrimination in Bangladesh from the way clothing is worn to the way they’re being treated. Freedom is defined differently in people’s life, but, freedom, however, should be defined equally for both men and women.
Sometimes too much freedom is not a good thing. For example, science has proven that children need boundaries, and too much freedom is not good for children. In fact, it’s better to over discipline a child rather than giving them too much freedom. This new essay on “Freedom” I don’t know where to start. Freedom is many different things to different people. Today for me, freedom is becoming self-actualized. This essay will explain what self-actualization is and how to achieve it in order to live in freedom.
According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we all have different motivations and needs in life, and only after we have met all of these needs: “Physiological, safety, love and belonging, and self-esteem” (Wikipedia); only then, can we truly become self-actualized. According to the dictionary – Self-actualization is “the realization or fulfilment of one’s talents and potentialities, especially considered as a drive or the desire for self-fulfillment, namely the tendency for one to become actualized in what they are potentially and most importantly, giving themselves the opportunity to do so.” For me, this is freedom!
Self-actualization is possessing freedom, because for me, freedom is thinking and acting more in tune and practicing a better connection between our consciousness and subconsciousness at the same time. We can only truly do so, only when all of our needs are met. You see, if all of our needs aren’t met such as: Physiological, safety, love and belonging, and self-esteem, there is no way that we can truly live in tune with our subconsciousness. If our consciousness keeps feeding our subconsciousness with needs, then we can never be truly free, because we are in constant survival mode. Until all of our needs are met, only then can we truly live in freedom as our consciousness and subconsciousness are in tune with each other. Not just experiencing our subconsciousness while we’re dreaming but becoming so in tune with our true selves; our subconsciousness. It’s like living in a trance of freedom – of purpose – becoming self-actualized. This is what the meaning of self-actualization is for me.
What made me realized this? You see, like Malcolm X, I too went to prison for DUI for 11 months. I didn’t hit or kill anyone, thank God, but there are much more stricter laws in a commonwealth state than in the other states. I could relate to a lot of what he describes in his experiences while in prison, especially when he said: “I don’t think anybody ever got more out of going to prison than I did. In fact, prison enabled me to study far more intensively than I would have if my life had gone differently and I had attended some college. I imagine that one of the biggest troubles with colleges is there are too many distractions, too much pantyraiding, fraternities, and boola-boola and all of that. Where else but in a prison could I have attacked my ignorance by being able to study intensely sometimes as much as fifteen hours a day?” (https://openlab.citytech.cuny.edu/schmerlereng1121e106spring2019/files/2019/02/Malcolm-X-Learning-to-Read.pdf).
Malcom, just like myself had experience some sort of self-actualization. All of our needs were met: there was housing, there was security – whether we liked or not it came with the territory, love and belonging from our family and friends and also for me, the other inmates in my drug program including the councilors, and self-esteem which came from learning about myself and why I ended up in prison in the first place. I learned that I had a bad habit of minimizing my problems which is a form of a self-defense mechanism, which ended up landing me in prison. Having all of these basic needs met, it aloud us to become self-actualized and to become truly free to connect our consciousness to our subconscious. For Malcolm like he said, he found his purpose in life: “You will never catch me with a free fifteen minutes in which I’m not studying something I feel might be able to help the black man… and my reading of books, months passed without my even thinking about being imprisoned. In fact, up to then, I never had been so truly free in my life.” (https://openlab.citytech.cuny.edu/schmerlereng1121e106spring2019/files/2019/02/Malcolm-X-Learning-to-Read.pdf). I too had a similar experience. I read many books which passed the time, and aloud my mind to wonder and become creative by creating images of characters and places being described in books. I had a more closer walk with God and my spirituality, because there weren’t too many external distractions that surrounds us when we’re out in the streets. I’ll give you an example of what I mean by this – I was reading my Bible one day on my top bunk and I fell into a trance, I heard a voice say to me, tell him (my cellmate) that I have been hearing his prayers and he should marry her. When I told my cellmate about the message I had just received, who was reading a book on his bottom bunk, he was in shock, as was I, as he confirmed that he was indeed praying to God for an answer! I truly believe that I had made a connection between my consciousness and my subconsciousness in order to hear the Spirit of God because I was truly free to connect with the Almighty truth; as God is a Spirit and those who worship him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth. Some religions call this enlightenment. For me, this is what I believe Maslow was referring to when he thought of the philosophy of Self-actualization. This for me, is what it truly means to be free!
Freedom is to live, think and act in unison with our consciousness and subconsciousness – living in a trance of freedom – of purpose – becoming self-actualized – a free ticket towards freedom!