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FREEDOM OF SPEECH

Freedom of Speech, 

This is so much more than just the use of spoken language, speech.  My parents left a communist country, escaping to the west, because so many freedoms had been removed, including the one of expression, whether in writing or speaking.  It was always with a smile that I reacted to the name of an Eastern European newspaper.  PRAVDA.  Pravda means The Truth and I used to wonder how much truth there was in the cited articles. 

There is so much more to the freedom of expression than many of us realize.  First and foremost humankind must be responsible for the interpretation of expression of thought.  Is it truthful?  Is it honest?.  For what is true for one may not serve another.  It is important to evaluate, as an individual, the content that is heard or read.  In the Western world the expression "freedom of speech" is interpret to mean the expression of a truth, of information that can be corroborated but on must ask:  Can this be substantiated? 

There are so many truths in history that have not served humankind because the individuals receiving the information stopped thinking and evaluating … because they allowed themselves to be moved by the powerful style of the writer/speaker.  

In the 4th century AD, the beautiful city of Alexandria was destroyed into oblivion because of freedom of speech. The Christian Bishop, Cyril, was given the freedom to speak as he wished.  He was a great orator and convinced his followers of what he had to say.  They did not think; they did not evaluate.  As a result they were incited to plunder and burn much of the city including the last remnants of the great Library of Alexandria and to murder one of the city's most illustrious philosophers, Hipatia, who stood for freedom in all respects, including the freedom to follow her own religion.    

In the 15th Century, Savonarola, delivered powerful sermons in Florence.  He had total freedom of speech but the congregation did not question his message. They went out and burned fine Florentine Renaissance artwork because they did not question the truth of what they had just heard.  

 The Grand Inquisitors of Spain were known for their zealous campaign against Jews and Muslims in Spain.  They delivered highly emotional laden sermons, employing their freedom to speak.  Unfortunately most of the information was unfounded and often outright lies but they served to fire up the congregation, giving the church a carte blanche to carry out their atrocities.  

Hitler rose to a place of prominence in the early years of his career largely as a result of his skills in oratory.  Again the audience did not evaluate, did not use their own judgment to question what was being said.

 Freedom of Speech?  Yes definitely.  Each and everyone of us should have the right to free expression, but beware of the information.  Draw your own conclusions.  Make your own decision.  That is also a RIGHT. 

 

 

Comments
5 Comment count
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Bravo

Well said, Csilla. One of the greatest gifts of being a human is the ability to contemplate and discern the barrage of information which comes to us. We are so very fortunate here in the West that not only do we have freedom of speech, but the freedom to cogitate upon and divine our interpretation of the information.

Alas, how many of us thoughtlessly squander these gifts and wander around in a state of unawareness, forever following the crowd.

Sharon

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Great post

You're right that the onus is on us all to evaluate what we hear.

Do you have a heart to mend?

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Gratitude

Myne,  thank you for taking the time to give me feed-back.  It is very encouraging to know that my thoughts and ideas are shared by others.

My heart is very open and I mend it every day in meditation.  Would love to read your blog - can you tell me how I access it?

Blessings

Csilla Moffat 

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Hi Myne, Nice to meet you.

Hi Myne,

Nice to meet you. Gosh I suppose you would know more than most about freedom or the lack thereof. I am in Vancouver BC, pretty close to your adopted hometown.

As fate would have it, just last night I sat next to a handsome young fellow from Nigeria on a flight back home. He somehow landed in Regina, Sask., and I cannot even imagine how cold it must feel for him in the winter as I myself don't feel I could stand it. Perhaps once he spends a day or so here he will choose to move if that is possible. I know very little about him but had I known I would meet you today I would have passed along your website to him. We did chat a bit and I do know the company he works for.

Good luck on your book, it sounds like a great read and I have added it to my wish list.

Sharon

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You highlighted the power of

You highlighted the power of emotion in words--very important to this discussion. We tend to think of words as 'neutral,' a quantity of human stuff that should be allowed to be freely cast around in human culture. And it should...but words can be used a weapons against whole peoples, or against one person who is vulnerable to the attack. The fine line between freedom and censorship needs to be mediated with intelligence and without the whipped-up emotion you pinpointed.

Very thought-provoking!