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Letter: On freedom and discipline

To the editor: I have been an artist, painting realistically for more than 40 years.

This affected my way of thinking. When I think of any human activity, I always think of it from the bright side and from the dark side like I do in my art. Freedom, for example: People think it is good and important. I agree on the bright side, but I also start thinking of the dark side of it.

If more freedom is given to us, we can do whatever we want to do. That’s nice, but if we want to raise the quality of what we do, I realized that we go away from total freedom and enter the area of discipline. In any kind of sports, art, business and whatever we do, if we want to raise the quality of what we do, we limit our freedom like “I should not do this, I should do it this way.” This is an area of restriction in a way.

By working in this restricted area, we could acquire “self-discipline.” This is the quality of our inner-self.

I also felt that personal freedom and freedom for our society are different. If freedom is given to 100 people personally, each person would use it differently, but if we want to make our society better, we would have to share the same freedom in the same way under the name of morality.

Driving a car, for example, we have to learn so many traffic rules. This tells a kind of limit to our personal freedom. Just think of a person living in his personal freedom only, drinking liquor a lot and then driving his car at the speed of more than 70 mph, ignoring the traffic rules.

Giving not a total freedom but a limit to yourself is also the bright side for our society.

Ken Otsuka, Great Barrington

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