QA137 QUESTION: I have been offered freedom recently, and I feel I am at sort of the threshold of it. The world that would occur if I were free, seems utterly simple and familiar. It also seems that I would have to somehow defy everything my parents ever taught me, and I have a problem with making this decision.
ANSWER: No, it is not that you have to defy them. Defiance is something entirely different. What you have to do is question and choose deliberately and knowingly, while defiance is a blind, compulsive thing.
In fact, the lack of freedom you still experience in this respect is, partly at least, the result of your own defiance and your own anger and your own warfare against your parents. That is defiance. When you question and deliberate and say, “Well, yes, here is what they say; this makes sense. I also agree with this, and I also adopt this view or this value, because I think this is the best.” You come to it on your own.
And others say, “No, I do not agree. For them this was right, or maybe they were wrong in this; they were human beings too. I do not go along with this.” Then, that is not defiance. It is not a blind, across the board, action or inner activity. It is a deliberate choosing, each in its own way. And that is freedom.
For you can only be free if you do not need ready-made answers. He who needs a rule that covers every alternative cannot be free. He must obey the rules. He does not choose freely. It is a blind action. Consequently, he fluctuates between obedience and fear on the one hand, and rebellion on the other. What you have to do is not defy – you have to choose.
The conflict you now see can be simplified. There’s a common denominator that is the following. You experience yourself as the child. As the child, you can only argue your right point and win as a child wins, or lose, because the child is by nature the weaker one. If you experience yourself as an adult who makes his free decision, you will not even get into the position of arguing or proving your right point.
Since you still experience yourself as a child, you experience yourself in fighting for your rights always from the vantage point of the weaker child that has to fight as a child fights. And therefore it’s no coincidence that you use the word defiance. For in true strength, there is no defiance. True strength knows its own power, and it’s very calm. It says Yes or No very calmly, in a very relaxed way.
It may have to say No regrettably, because the No may also be against his own inclination. But it nevertheless is capable to say No in a relaxed, unargumentative way. It knows its own strength, and that you will only reach when you realize that you are no longer a child in regard to one parent.