“Responsibility is the price of freedom” – Elbert Hubbard
“People demand freedom of speech as compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use” – Soren Kierkgaard
“Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes” – Mahatma Gandhi
As I celebrate India’s 67th Independence Day, I am amazed at the freedom kids and adults have, to speak what is on their minds. And text, tweet and email it. Even before a thought appears on their tongue, it seems to have appeared in their social media accounts.
So when engagements get broken and friendships take a back seat due to free speech, what is our responsibility as a free society that gets to gab all we want, online and offline? Can we say the first thing that comes to our mind? Or should we think through, calculate the pros and cons and then message it out? Sure, some thoughts don’t need any filter (“Good morning! How are you?”), but what about the ones that hurt, assume, implicate, exploit or anger?
Hmm, tough one, isn’t it? How do we know what will cause negative emotions, and what will not? How do I know if a simple message like “these politicians are morons” will not cause a state-wide bandh and an arrest? How do I know if what I sincerely feel does not set off a ticking bomb? Does this mean I do not voice my angst and my anguish? Does this mean I keep quiet when injustice happens? How else can I share and support the good things happening around me?
Questions are endless. So probably are the answers. The only person who can answer this honestly is you. The freedom to write brings with it the bondage of responsibility. We are accountable for what we write, and every word we write has to be weighed against facts and common sense.
Write every word as if it reflects your integrity. Therein is the true freedom of expression. And probably why great men’s words continue to be spoken time and again.
Wishing you all a year filled with love, freedom and mistakes! And the floor is now open for responsible discussions!!!