I started reading Jean-Luc Nancy's The Experience of Freedom on the beach yesterday. Here are some thoughts I had on the nature of freedom...

Freedom is the actualization of potential. It is not only having the power to act, but the power to represent the self in these actions. Nancy quotes Kant on the subject, "[freedom is] the power to be by means of one's representations the cause of the reality of these same representations." I agree with this statement and believe that our work toward freedom must include freeing representations. Nancy states, "being is the act (which also means the being) of (re)presenting oneself as the potential for (re)presentation (of oneself and therefore the world). It is free representation (where I accede sovereignly of myself) of free representation (which depends only on my will)."

Freedom is the self-determination of the will. I drew this in response:

Action = Being
Freedom = (Re)presenting one's potential through action

I see this relating to education, learning, and growth in the following way. Actions cannot be labeled as good or bad and punished accordingly by someone or something outside the self because freedom lies in the choice of action. Whether or not those actions are legitimized by society has nothing to do with freedom. Society tries to provide a structure in which people can make free choices, but this structure has never been such that it has allowed true freedom to all of its citizens. Acknowledging all the potential of the human condition begins the possibility of freeing people to make the best choices possible for themselves, which in turn allows for them to make the hardest choices. At some point there will not be a "good" choice to be made, but if we teach our young people that at this juncture they can still make a choice and not be punished on that choice, the action that they take will encourage them to be free to (re)present themselves in their next choice of action.