Trading Security for Freedom

As much as we would like to have the best of both worlds, it is inherently difficult to find the perfect balance between having freedom and having security. If we take a look at the caged animals in a zoo, I think that we would all agree that they have a great deal of safety and security, being protected against predators and famine, but these animals give up their freedom to attain this kind of security. They are effectively trapped in their cages, holding pens, and habitats.

While the animals at the zoo have very little say regarding their situations, you do have the ability to choose your own life circumstances. In our daily lives, we make a number of decisions that determine whether we want freedom or we want security. Try as you will to maximize both of these qualities, you will inevitably have to prioritize one over the other to some degree.

Job Security and Freelance Freedoms

When I decided to embark in a career in freelance writing, I understood the possible risks and rewards associated with that decision. As a freelancer, I have the opportunity to enjoy certain freedoms that may not be afforded to someone who has a conventional job at a conventional company. At the same time, it can be argued that I have sacrificed some job security as a result, since my income can vary considerably month to month.

Similarly, as a freelancer, I also have the ability to choose how much I want to work. By working more and earning more money, I am providing myself with greater financial security down the line, since I should (theoretically) have more in savings if I earn more money along the way. By working more, however, I then have less leisure time and thus, less freedom to pursue some hobbies and interests that are not related to work. I could work less, but that would make for less financial security unless I am able to replace the lost income through some other means.

Even if you are not a freelancer, you will likely be faced with a similar kind of decision when choosing the kind of job that you want. People who are based on commission may have greater freedom with their time and they may have a greater potential to earn more money, but they also take on greater risk than people who have a guaranteed salary each year. It’s a tradeoff and neither option is inherently “better” than the other; it’s a personal preference.

The Tradeoff with Airport Checkpoints

Choosing between security and freedom is much the same in other areas of our lives as well. When you embark on some international travel, you will likely encounter a number of security checkpoints at airports, train stations, and so on. Many of us complain about the restrictions that airlines place on both our carry-on and checked luggage, but these increased security measures are meant to ensure our safety.

If everyone was allowed to bring whatever they wanted onto the airplane, there is a risk that someone could bring some sort of weapon or dangerous object onto the plane. This person could then pose a security risk for the other passengers. It was decided by the powers that be that it is better for us to sacrifice some freedom in an effort to improve the safety and security of passengers and crew. It’s debatable how effective airport screening checkpoints are, but that’s another issue altogether.

What Do You Value More? Security or Freedom?

As with most other things in our lives, the key is to find some sort of balance between security and freedom. If we went to the extreme with security, we would not be able to exercise any personal freedom. All of our decisions would be made on our behalf, much like the animals at the zoo. On the flip side, if we went with a completely hedonistic society with so security measures whatsoever, the extreme freedom could lead to chaos and major risks to our lives and limbs.

For many, a perfect 50-50 balance between the two would not be appropriate either. You have to make these kinds of decisions for yourselves. How do you feel about the balance between security and freedom? Which do you think is more important in your life?