What exactly is freedom? Can you taste it, see it, reach out and touch it? The answer to these questions is no. However, if reflected upon, freedom can certainly be felt, not by the hands but by the emotion called feeling. Since all we can do is describe properties of freedom, the question remains how freedom is explainable with words.
Youth are not burdened by restrictions placed upon adults; therefore, a simpler idea of being able to do certain things is evident, by the child. The child feels freer than an adult would, because the adult understands the rules of civilization. As children grow, beginning to have responsibilities, they begin to understand the rules of civilization. Activities that once seemed easy to engage in become more and more complicated as ideas of restrictions come into focus.
What sort of restrictions come into focus is the direct result of activities that humans engage in. If the youth grows up hunting, for example, it seems easy for the adult to say, let 's go hunting. The child grabs all the stuff necessary and is ready to fly out the door on an adventure. The adult has made all necessary preparations to do this activity, acquiring the license and checking the seasons, and other such rules that might apply. The child sees a fanciful adventure; the adult looks around to make sure all rules pertaining to the activity are being obeyed.
Many such examples could be recited here; however, the idea of freedom comes back to mind. I heard stories from my father that seemed to be the ideal of freedom. My father told me stories from his youth in Utah, when he would saddle his horse and disappear for weeks; without any worry about when he would be home. This may seem strange to some, but this was his way of life.
In nature, humans are born totally free, to do whatever comes to mind, without restrictions. These activities might include hunting, gathering, and other necessary activities to support life. Included in social activities could be attending group dances, visiting, or merely sitting by the creek reflecting on life in general. Living in groups changes the dynamics, placing restrictions upon individuals.
Civilizations place restrictions on activities to maintain some sort of control to avoid chaos. Restrictions vary depending on the activity. In the past, off road vehicles required no special license. Today these kinds of vehicles are required to have a license; the idea is to limit erosion of the environment, from overuse, or driving into restricted, protected areas. Other forms of transportation have limits, such as horses, and wagons; in previous generations, these were primary modes of transportation. In some areas, walking is restricted to preserve some aspect of the environment; again, in past generations it would seem silly to limit foot traffic.
Modern life has created great devices, and a lot of inconvenience. With these inventions came more and more government intervention. How we communicate (texting), how we listen to music (noise pollution), how we sit in our cars (seat belts), how we seat others in our cars (baby seats), this could go on and on. Although some of these restrictions make sense to some, to others they are an invasion of personal liberties. Then comes the idea of personal body fluids (drug testing), what government has the right to collect and examine the body fluid of any individual? This seems fundamental, yet people go along like sheep to a slaughter, giving up one after another inherent right to a government that seems hell bent on controlling every aspect of activity, and endeavor that citizens partake. In addition, just for argument, could anyone show where it is stated in the Constitution that there is an idea that the government can probate anything? Or, that a license is required to engage in any activity. This can ONLY happen with the consent of the people governed!
Freedom cannot be taken from the citizens in a Democratic society, such as ours. However, it seems activities can be regulated, and over-regulated, to the point that individuals feel cramped; and strain to exercise their natural right to do certain things. It goes against the natural instinct, for instance, to see a place of interest, only to see a sign that reads, no trespassing, keep out. Civilized people obey these types of signals because; such are the rights of property owners, to keep trespass to a minimum saving their right to privacy. As it stands in our modern situation these types of restrictions are everywhere. Everywhere can be seen signs that read, keep out, better not, don 't, can 't, and don 't even think about it.
As the world shrinks from population growth, the restriction on activity seem to escalate proportionally. Where will modern man draw the line, rebel, and reclaim his natural right to freedom? However, all this does not really explain freedom, but merely describes the properties and reactions from restrictions on freedom.
As this opened, it is mentioned that some properties of freedom cannot be engaged with the senses. The body can certainly feel the locks and chains that modern life has imposed on the human condition. I can remember a time in the USA, that humans were not so regulated, and there were, fewer signs that forbade the human spirit from living life and witnessing nature. Then again, I am older now, have felt the pressure of civilization struggling to save a remnant of nature, preserving it. In addition, the child still feels the joy of catching the first fish, or riding that bicycle, or getting the first perm. It will be sad for them when they too learn that life is not as free as they think it should be.