So what lead up to it? Well, the simplest thing, I was thinking, trying to find out what freedom is, what it means to me. Specifically, what it is that I experience so DISTINCTLY in Eastern Europe, and the lack of which is so uncannily apparent in England, where I live now, which you can also apply to the USA and Western Europe in general. The problem is, when I say that I experience this huge difference so distinctly, I cannot quite grasp or put my finger on what it is exactly. So I will try and describe it to you, although if you've never been to both worlds you might not appreciate what's behind the words.
The first thing to mention here that definitely needs breaking down due to its vague, elusive and subtle nature, is the overwhelming feeling that overcomes me when I cross the border from Hungary to Ukraine (my wife's home country, where we go every year to visit her family). One important thing to note is that the feeling is not associated with the feeling of "home", as I come from Hungary, and I don't experience this feeling deeply until we cross the border to Ukraine. (We fly from the UK to Hungary and take a train from there.)
I would like to devote a separate paragraph to explain why I think I don't feel the above-mentioned freedom in Hungary. Hungary is not the same as it used to be. Especially since "we" joined the EU. Globalization means increasing numbers of laws, rules and regulations. As an example, the almost-ritualistic nationwide custom of killing a pig and processing its meat and what-not into different meat products has been outlawed, needless to say, to the dismay of all of us. It used to be a sort of ceremony where family and friends gathered for an all-day occasion of collaboration, celebration and, obviously, a feast. Of course you can start arguing about pigs' rights, but then why not the right of a fish, a snail, a virus, or in the end rocks? Where do you draw the line, and who draws the line anyway? I like the way native Americans treat life. When they prepare to harvest, kill and consume a plant or animal, including bushes of berries, they ask the spirit of that being for permission, out of respect for life. This is passed down from generation to generation, and they follow these customs, knowing why they do it. I mean, how much explanation does respect need? And the basic inherent trouble with law imposed on you is that the "rules" are not your own convictions, or anyone's convictions for that matter, they are simply enFORCED by an authority, regardless of how much of the population disagrees with them. E.g. you just pay your tax, without being told how much was paid in last year and how much was spent on what. It's simply taken from people without asking them if they agree with what it's spent on. Or when there is a proper community like those in Eastern European countries, where people know each other and people care about one another, if you steal and it turns out, you'll be ashamed in front of everyone, and why would you risk the trust people have in you? Besides, why would you steal from your neighbours, people you know, when everyone will help one another if they can. People help each other out, and you grow up learning these values for yourself. Same goes for what you call "primitive" cultures, where things like theft and rape are unheard of, and when you describe what these mean, they simply can't comprehend why anyone would need to do such a thing. Whereas in the "civilized" world, you lack these values and the understandings they're based upon, and the only thing keeping you from stealing is the law, and when no one sees you you will steal, the young walk the streets in mobs with knives and guns, and when they vandalize property after some binge-drinking fest, they don't really feel any remorse. A phenomenon that does not exist in Eastern countries up to this day. An important point: law does not and CAN NOT make you respect others, let alone want to know them and care about them. So my point is, with the new laws replacing common sense and human values, sewing replacing public shame, and punishment replacing forgiveness, globalization has started destroying what I valued in my home country. And I can feel it in the air, quite literally.
Now that I have established that what I feel in Ukraine is not a feeling of "home sweet home", I can carry on describing what I think contribute to the way I feel. No importance to the order, just whatever pops into my head right now. No cameras watching your every move. People grow up to be responsible for themselves rather than having a nanny state look after them. I can decide whether I want to put on my seatbelts or not. Yeah, of course it's the law, but these countries do not run based on threats that laws mean. It's not like you speed, and there are cameras all over the place and you get a ticket, a punishment, they take your money, and some points from your licence. It's like, no one really cares, people will drive safe because it's common sense. If you do get caught not wearing seatbelts, you give the cop £5 and off you go. Good for the cop, not that bad for you. Nobody got hurt. You feel free. You COULD get hurt, but then you can get hurt when crossing a zebra-crossing. If you do get hit and it's not your fault, the driver's punishment will hardly help you recover or bring you back from the dead. But I will get back to the pragmtic side of all this at the end of this post, in the synchronicity bit. Next. I remember when we were driving home from somewhere and we saw a field of flowers by the road. We just pulled to the side, stopped the car, got out, had a walk among the flowers, took some nice pictures, and before we went on we had some sandwiches. Like a spontaneous picnic. There is no congestion on the roads. Not many cars, many people cycle, the air is fresh and it's all quiet. It's not against the law to park in most places. Many laws that clearly do not makes sense are simply not followed, and no one really cares. You won't be penalized for stopping to walk among the flowers just because you're not supposed to park here or there. I think we were driving home from a water fountain. We actually drove to this place where natural mineral water comes to the surface, drove like 50 miles or more, with some bottles. Just for the fun of it, the trip, the nice water. It used to be free, but now there was a money-collector guy. He wasn't really checking who took how many bottles. People are honest. They walk up to the guy and just drop him the money. There was a sign giving the price for every litre. I couldn't believe it, so I actually took a picture of it. It was 10 kopek or whatever, a tenth of a hrivna. So every litre cost the equivalent of 0.8 pence. Meaning you get 125 litres for £1. Not sure what the whole point of that was. But there were like 8 taps in an octagonal shape around the source and there was this crowd trying to get their bottles filled up, as if it was some miracle water. It was all so funny. Other sources were smaller and free. This one was said to contain some healing minerals, or at least very beneficial ones to your health. Another thing I can think of right now, there are no job interviews and stupid references. People know who you are. If you're irresponsible or known to have stolen or whatever, no matter your qualifications and your work history. You don't get the job. If you need a job and you're an honest guy, your friends will recommend you to their boss and you get a job. Another reason why you realize, as you grow up, that it's common sense to be honest and be nice with people. Back in the old days, I remember there was a time when I lived with my mother and brother, we still went to school, and my mum lost her job, and we didn't get child support, and were renting. We didn't get enough money even to pay what we needed to pay, not to mention food. The family's friends teamed up, and on several occasions visited us with food, flour, milk, oil and what-not, and some money. Never had to pay it back. These days my mother voluntarily supports many people home from her own money every month. I think she's over-doing it, but I respect her free will and admire her good heart. Behaviour like this, that is, selfless help and displays of unconditional love without expectation of reward is most natural in many local communities in Eastern Europe. Even in today's Hungary, where we used to live, the local community regularly put their money, resources and efforts together to create things for themselves. For example, there is a continuous project, a... not sure what it'd be called. Raw materials are bought from the collected money, and structures are built that the community can use. These structures now include a football field with seats and benches on the side, an artificial pond with these pedallo-like 2-seater things we call "aquatic-bycicles", a fountain with coloured lights, a buffet, and most recently a skate rink. There are regular community days with food cooked on open fire and activities, stage performance like folk dance and folk music. For some pictures see http://www.morotvaeg...autogallery.php
In these countries there is generally a vibrant cultural life that I do not find in the western world. Next. Last year I was called to help work in a field in the countryside. This was in Ukraine. The whole family went. All day. No payment. Not working for family, just some friends. Rather than working for 30 days, they asked friends, and it was all done in a day. We had lunch together. Apparently this sort of thing is not unusual. When I was little, there was no pavement in our street. The people of the street put their resources together and built a pavement for themselves, or rather, ourselves. That was 20 years ago in Hungary. In England when something needs done, you wait for the council to "do something". And if it doesn't get done, all you do is moan, like "is this what I pay council tax for?" When my wife's parents wanted a garage for their car behind their house, they asked friends, and it was all built in days. A garage and 2 rooms above. That reminds me. In Ukraine, most houses have another, smaller house behind them, and there's another attachment that's like a storage building, and sometimes a 4th attachement. For an example see copy and paste 48.42044654045932 22.38935006473102 into google earth. Also note the size of the gardens. Over 100m on average. Plenty of space. Which is part of freedom, when you don't have to live in a house that's small even for sardines and have no space to use for personal recreation. In Ukraine and Hungary there is no such thing as council tax. Most people build and own their houses, mortgages are practically unheard of. House prices are so low, we went to the county town and saw these newly-built blocks of flats, and they were selling each for about £20-30.000. Rent is low accordingly, around £80 a month. You can build your own house as small or as big as you want, build as many extensions as you want. In England, if you want to build an extension or another building on your(?) land, first you need permission (!?!) from the council. If you're lucky and get permission, and your neighbours approve (LOL) you can start paying craploads of money to get it done. And when you're finished, you learn that your property happens to have fallen into a dearer council tax band. By the way, stop paying council tax and see what happens. In Ukraine, people have their own unlimited free water-supply from their own underground artesian source. That's what we drink at home. Tasted better, is healthier, no chemicals, and use as much as you want. Similarly in Hungary we have artesian fountains all over the country. They're like this: http://static.orszag.../1281593068.jpg Imagine you're walking or cycling in town and it's a hot summer day and you're thirsty. You have no money with you. What do you do? In Hungary you stop at a fountain. In England you're screwed. Also I asked my mother-in-law for their electricity bills for the past 12 months. Added all up, devided by 12, and converted to GBP. £5/month. And they probably have more gadgets than we do, including 2 tellies and 4 fridge-freezers running all the time. Watering your garden as much as you see fit is maybe part of freedom. Knowing that electricity companies won't profiteer the crap out of you might be part of it too. The hands of the law not having unreasonable grasp on you could be it also. Knowing that you can never really be in trouble could be in it as well. Thinking about all this and much more I realized, freedom must be the lack of the immediacy and imminency of negative consequences. Negative consequence can be joblessness, or being punished by the law. Even if you do break a law, there are no cameras, or if you do get caught by police, you may get away with it. If you lose your job, friends can and will help. I will leave it at that for now and let the rest of possible definition be done by a text for you.
I read almost every day. I read messages. Inspirational messages. Always on a different topic. 1-2 days after I pondered the nature of freedom, my next message was about... guess what. Freedom. I would like to quote.
"Gaze at the savage. This is an entity truly free, for this entity does what it wishes to do at all times. The demands of survival are parameters accepted as given, and there is no ambition for any but the comforts of eating and sleeping, mating, and communicating in some way with that great spirit which is known by all primitive peoples as the giver of all blessings, the lover of all entities, the source and the ending of each consciousness before birth and after death. This peace, this true freedom, takes its purity from the purity of the spirits of those who do not have greed, ambition or thought. They are indeed very close to second-density consciousness, and are aware of the sanctity of all things, of the utter and unquestionable reality of magical and divine power, and within these lives is a rhythm of obedience to what civilized entities would call the myths and the shamanistic practices inherent in primitive cultures."
The whole 5-page message is a good lesson in human history, a refresher from a different perspective. Please do take the time and read it here: http://www.llresearc.../1990_0304.aspx Please do share your views on all that I've shared here as well as this reading. Whatever freedom is, I do feel a difference in my stayings in different countries, and I can see how much difference there is between STANDARD of living that the west is so proud of, and the QUALITY of life that I greatly miss, feeling lost in the west. How I ended up in England is a different story, and although I do not feel I belong here even after 7 years, there must be a reason for it, which I'm only beginning to understand. If you've never seen darkness, how do you know what the light is?
Edited by Rolci, 05 October 2011 - 10:43 PM.