Slave, Freedman, Free.
We all aim for Freedom. Since our appearance on the planet Earth, from the very moment when, once the umbilical cord is cut, the world sees us as a distinct individual from the maternal individuality, we begin to express our existence with acts of denial of parental precepts, as if moved by an automatic impulse. We express the sense of protest with rhythmic movements of our head that swings in wide crescendo, with babbling in increasing tonality until it becomes real screams.
As we grow up, this primordial phase of will of freedom should take us to read the meaning and significance of the word following a higher reading key, to get the true potential of beauty and fullness, the “explosive charge” that makes us real human beings.
In this way I read the origin of the word True, Truth, to better understand the word Freedom. I find that Truth means “trustworthy, not false, not artful, sincere”. But also Verity, from Sankrit – the easternmost of Indo-European languages, and Indo-Aryan languages – where “varami” means «I choose, I want». And again Verity, in the Nordic languages, is reality, -vrtta = event, happening.
Such an evocative succession of meanings and words to express the concept of freedom suggests a reflection: freedom is not an abstract thought; the word freedom becomes incarnate in a reality composed of events, of real actions. It needs self-knowledge through each other’s breathing, since from Franco-Provençal to French, from Germanic to Slavic, it becomes “to believe, to choose”. In a wider context, it also means “not false, sincere”. I therefore consider a freedom that develops not only in a one’s relationship with oneself, but one with one endlessly, since I am required to be straight, sincere, honest, not false towards someone other than me.
Over time we have lost the origin of the word that is the object of the reflection. Maybe because we are not able anymore ‘to live’ the words as resulting from concrete action, appointing words, deriving words, and not creating words.
Once again, I find Libertas, in Latin, Eleuthería (ἐλευθερία) in ancient Greek. And then (e)leudhero, of Indo-European root, is «one who can and has the right to belong to a people ». From Leudho (people, folk) to (e)leudhero (belonging to race, ethnicity) the condition of free man, therefore one who can grow, develop and make a choice that leads to feel part of a community and to serve the community: State, family, working group, friends…
Maybe during this “viral time” we can reflect on ourselves, on all the others around us and on what it entails when we act together.
Translation by Carla Sordina