freedom, religion, Uncategorized

Seder Activity

Here are some statements about freedom.  Hand them out.  Let people trade for one they feel like talking about (not necessarily one they agree with!)

FREEDOM STATEMENTS

A human being who does whatever s/he wants is a slave to his/her desires.

Freedom is another word for power

It is hard to have a southern overseer; it is worse to have a northern one; but worst of all when you are the slave-driver of yourself.  

Freedom means the freedom to own a gun.

Freedom is granted as a reward for responsibility.

Freedom must be wrested from those with power.

Freedom means the freedom to say whatever you want even if it is cruel, racist, or misogynistic.

The hardest thing is to be free from is our own view of ourselves.

The hardest thing is to be free of our own opinions.

There is no freedom without discipline.

Freedom is being a law to yourself.

Freedom is self-mastery.

Freedom is creating yourself like an artist creates a work of art.

Freedom is being completely unattached — not caring about things or people.

Freedom is the ability to choose what you care about and passionately commit to it.

If people are free to do what they want they will be peaceful, happy, and get along.

True freedom is choosing what project, idea, or person will be our master.

Freedom does not exist and never will.

The most important slavery is mental slavery.  None but ourselves can free our minds.

The most important lack of freedom is poverty.  

Freedom means the freedom to work and love.

Love is slavery.

Work is slavery.

Freedom is worth the price in terms of anxiety.

Freedom is scary.

Slavery is scary.

Somebody should be free to hurt himself/herself if that is what he/she wants.

Consumerism is a form of slavery.

Freedom requires the freedom to buy what you want.

Freedom is a peaceful mind where you don’t hope for anything and don’t fear anything.

We are never free of our parents.

Parents should be free to teach their children things that are untrue.

 

ACTIVITY: Everybody gets the following sheet:.  For each activity answer they do for their “freedom idea” they get a toy.

If this view of freedom were correct what would that make slavery?

 

If this view of freedom were correct how can you help other people be free?

 

If this view of freedom were correct how could you be more free yourself?

 

What can you do to be more free next year? 🕃🚗

 

Change your mind 🕃 🏀

 

Change someone else’s mind 🕃 🐅

 

Find a textual support for your position in the haggadah 🕃🐲

 

Ask a question. 🕃 💰

 

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freedom, philosophy, religion, Uncategorized

Four Sons: Four Responses to Problems

Tonight Jews celebrate the Passover holiday by having an ancient Greek drinking party.  The ancient Greek drinking party, as we know from Plato’s “Symposium” (from the ancient Greek word “symposium” which means drinking party from drink plus together)  required a topic of conversation that each participant would address in turn.  In Plato’s symposium the topic was “What is love?” which is an excellent topic if you are drinking with your friends and some of you are in love with others of you.  For the seder the topic is “What is freedom?” which is an excellent topic for a party with parents and children, since children are unfree in relation to their parents but we are all hoping are on a journey to freedom.

The children are more-or-less unfree and their parents are asking them to discuss freedom.  This will naturally result in a mixed range of reactions — ambivalence and sarcasm (are you kidding me?) spring to mind.  The Haggadah (the guidebook to the seder) singles out four, assigning each one to a “son” — although today it would include daughters (pictured above).

The four responses enumerated in the hagadah are:

1)Asking for an explanation

2)Asking “What does this have to do with you?”

3)Asking “What is this?”

4)Silence.

The author of the haggadah has (or claims to have in order to be provoking) strong feelings about these responses, labeling the first “wise” and the second “wicked” and saying the older generation should be happy about response (1) and hurt and angry about response (2).  But if we think a little more deeply we can think about situations in which each of the four responses is appropriate.

A water crisis in Syria leads to a civil war and we are having a feast while the refugees from the crisis starve.

THE “WISE” SON

Why did this happen?  A water crisis.  Why are there water crises?  How can they be prevented?

THE “WICKED” SON

What does this have to do with you?  How can you sit there and lecture me on freedom when people are not free?  Are you doing all that you can?  If you’re not doing all that you can, how can you expect me to do so?

THE “SIMPLE” SON

What is this?  People are killing each other in a civil war.  What is a war?  What is a “civil war”?  What is a nation anyway?  What is this life of ours where this happens?

THE SON WHO IS “UNABLE TO ASK”

Silence.

Maybe freedom means the freedom to ask the hard, intellectually challenging questions, to ask the questions that challenge the authority and integrity of those in charge, to ask questions which are so hard because they seem so easy, and to be silent — with shock or awe or joy, or wonder.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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