When I was between sixth and seventh grade in school. I was forced to go to summer school “to improve my math skills”. As a kid, having to attend summer school was like being given the death sentence. I was stuck in school for half the day, when I should have been free to enjoy the summer like all my friends.
But, for the first time in my academic career I was allowed an elective course to fill up the morning. I don’t remember what the choices were, but I elected to take an art class. I’ve always loved art class in school. Maybe it’s because my Mom used to sit me down with paper and crayons to do some drawings, (which was actually a good way to keep me occupied as she went about her housework.) I don’t remember much about the class. The teacher was a nice woman and I really enjoyed the class.
But one thing has stayed with me all my life: My art teacher showed me a book of paintings by Salvadore Dali. The thing that struck me about Dali’s work was that, if I could learn to draw and paint realistically, I could depict anything I could dream up. To me, this represents the only way to be truly free. The unbounded imagination is the only absolute freedom we can experience in life.
You would think maybe that flying an airplane is a way to experience freedom, but air flight is highly regulated. You can’t just fly anywhere, any time you like. You have to file your flight plan with the authorities. There are restricted air spaces. You have to have a license, etc. Because of all these restraints, you’re not truly free even if you fly a plane, or drive a car or boat.
I can’t think of any area in life where one can be as free as in the creative arts. And I’m grateful to that one teacher who made a difference in my life by showing me something at an early age that has stayed with me all my life.
What do you think about freedom, and what does it mean to you?