Freedom is a slippery concept. What I find liberating might be quite confining for another. There are many kinds of freedom. It is not just being able to say and do whatever you wish to do. Freedom may only be the free range of your thinking. An oppressor can take many things from you, but they cannot take your thoughts. If you can think and dream you can remove the oppressor. This is why the oppressor is always so interested in the children. Make the children love the oppressor and the battle is over in a generation. Luckily oppressors never seem to be able to hide their disdain for the oppressed. The freedom of thought always finds fertile ground.
The trick to freedom is discovering how all can be free. I don’t know that society has matured to the point of allowing such freedom.
When I was a child all were free to some extent. I could do whatever I wanted within the confines of my role in the society. I could learn whatever I wanted. I had the freedom to be a farmer. I could raise whatever I wanted to raise. As an adult my days were my own. Feast or famine was based on whether I decided to plant and harvest. Tarlek-eth was a prized crop. I could get much recompense for the least amount of effort. I was a terrible farmer because I had no interest in it. Females had the freedom to find me less than attractive as a mate.
There was an understanding that those of other circles were more than us. That the 10th circle circumscribed my life. Yet I never felt constrained by this understanding. To know your destiny in life is to have a certain freedom. I was meant to be the failure. Not having to succeed provided a freedom that my brother never was allowed.
Then came the War. Then failure was no longer an option. I had to strive. It was also a time of Change. No longer were there people to tell me what to do or think. The only requirement of me was success. The only other option death. There is a certain freedom in knowing that this might be all there is. That all the rules have been thrown out and now you are focused on one goal.
When we changed society to allow movement within the circles we did something frightening. We gave those who followed the freedom to be more than their parents. To move from circle to circle. Because there was no reason to believe that that one circle was better than another. All Narn were equal. The freedom to do and say and be what we want is a daunting responsibility. As a child I always knew that I would be a farmer because my father was a farmer. Because that was what we did when we grew up.
When my brother and I were named it brought confusion not relief. To be a God named farmer? G’Qual no doubt found it confining. He knew who he was. He was not supposed to be a God named. He was never meant to be important. I thought it was an interesting affectation of my mother’s. That she had been allowed additional freedom in the Name choice because of her status as a Seer. The freedom to make fools of her sons.
I do not know what my people may make of their freedoms. Within my own house there are a merry variety of walks of life. Circles well represented. Does the freedom to decide to be a farmer make farming more acceptable as a profession? Does the produce know that it was grown by someone who enjoys that work? The freedom to name yourself has made for the God Name to no longer seem so important. Yet the consequences of your decision rest entirely in your own hands. You have the freedom to fail. In the end this freedom may seem a curse, not a blessing.