Category Archives: freedom

Define freedom

“Remaining at home, however difficult or isolating that becomes, gives older people a sense of control that may prove illusory, Ms. Murray said. “They feel like they have their freedom even though they don’t, really.”

This is a complaint of mine in general… I think sometimes people think that (for instance) their cars make them free. But I’ve personally never felt freer than when living in Geneva, Switzerland for 3 years *without* a car. It’s a small city and it has an amazing (to me!) public transportation system with trams and buses (with dedicated lanes) that run like clockwork.

Anyway, same idea. I think in many cases the idea of the American Dream is quite illusory and is holding us back.

Two American Dreams. One is dead.

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The fear of freedom

Seth Godin writes:

What will you do next?

What can you learn tomorrow?

Where will you live, who will you connect with, who will you trust?

Are questions better than answers? Maybe it’s easier to get a dummies book, a tweet or a checklist than it is to think hard about what’s next…

It’s certainly easier to go shopping. And easier still to buy what everyone else is buying.

We live in an extraordinary moment, with countless degrees of freedom. The instant and effortless connection to a billion people changes everything, but instead, we’re paralyzed with fear, a fear so widespread that you might not even notice it.

We have more choices, more options and more resources than any generation, ever.


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How do you stay sane with so many choices?

And I am not talking about choosing which item of dozens on the grocery store shelf or Consumer Reports review. Though that is a problem too. (All correct answers: Whatever is cheapest, most expensive, second cheapest, or weighs least.)

What I mean is… in general.

With great freedom comes the possibility of great existential angst. It’s the flip-side of the exciting possibilities.

One can do anything. Live anywhere. Youtube. Online degrees. Work from home.

Having limited or no options is no good either of course, so I think we are left with learning how to deal with this increasingly common reality. Kids have to confront this at school, and I think SVS is good because it embraces this, but I think it more comes from a culture in the family.

Related: It’s dangerous to go to college far away because you might meet a spouse and then guess what, your parents/families will probably be far apart and that’s a HUGE pain.


Voluntary Simplicity

Stuck in Place

Pulling a geographic

Welcome to the Failure Age
“We are a strange species, at once risk-averse and thrill-seeking, terrified of failure but eager for new adventure.”

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on social media and the future…
“The things that will last on the internet are not owned. Plain old websites, blogs, RSS, irc, email.”

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Remembering how to play as an adult

Two quotes about people reconnecting with what they like to do by thinking about what they liked to do when they were kids and PLAYED!

“Try to remember the way you saw the world when you were a little kid, and practice it. This will help with the guilt, since kids never feel guilty about playing, and it will also keep you from getting too spiritually stagnant.”
— Ran Prieur

“So one of the things I wanted to do [after stopping work at google] was think about what I liked to do when I was little and to do more of that. I had heard somewhere from someone that that’s a good way to figure out what you like and what you are good at. So, I spent more time doing things that I liked to do a long time ago.”
— Ellen Huerta Interview: Why I Left Google

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Filed under ageism, freedom, kids -- freedom and responsibility, meaning of life, play, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School, work-life balance

The World Happiness Report and “Freedom to make life choices”

The World Happiness Report — a UN analysis of average happiness of countries — has an item that is one of maybe 7 factors they use to gauge overall (average) happiness:

“Freedom to make life choices” is the national average of responses to the question “Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with your freedom to choose what you do with your life?”

Guess what? The US doesn’t do all that well on that measure. So much for Land of the Free. I suspect it is because we think things like cars and single family homes in suburbia are desirable things. But it actually feels freer to live WITHOUT a car in an area with access to great public transportation, health care, etc. There’s probably a psychological or sociological term for this but it’s not coming to me right now.

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This was a great note from Mountain Laurel Sudbury School.  But it’s in Facebook, so I include it here so it doesn’t get lost…

October 3, 2013 at 4:03pm

We try very hard to make sure we’re clear about our model.  That it isn’t about a rigid dogma, but about trusting children with responsible freedom.  Yet, for all our talk, some prospective parents will only hear what they want to hear.  That we’re alternative.  That if we’re alternative, we must subscribe to a certain set of alternative beliefs and practices.

Yes, in a place where there is freedom, all walks of life will be welcome.  This will include people who would be considered alternative.  But it does not guarantee it.

So, these potential parents will become quite distraught the first time they see something that doesn’t fit within their own particular alternative ideology.  When a kid eats processed food.  When there’s screen time.  When the students don’t all have to do the same thing together.  And we’re left explaining, yet again, that Sudbury schools don’t police students’ actions like that.

It’s not about being alternative.  It’s about being free.


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