What Covid-19 Has Taught Us: People do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility.

Ella Valentine
2 min readSep 1, 2020

“Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.” ― Sigmund Freud

The ongoing Covid-19 panic has made me rethink what ‘freedom’ really means to us and how much we actually WANT to be free. Humans have already spent thousands of years getting trapped in jobs they hate, living the rat life relentlessly, but at least it used to be done with a purpose, whether the purpose was to make a living, feed our families, or try to achieve some sort of success, or the feeling of it.

Now we have given all that up too — we are choosing to stay at home and be told what to do, what to wear, where to travel to, who to be intimate with. And we are fucking loving it! We are so excited about the new Covid developments, we can’t wait to discuss them with our friends, we can’t wait to post how much we care about the world and the delusional idea of saving the world on all sorts of social media channels, but it seems that we are forgetting to save our most valuable asset as humans on this planet for which our ancestors have fought for for centuries — our freedom.

I don’t solely blame our loss of freedom to Coronavirus. We have been dying to be taken control of for decades. We just have the perfect excuse now — “we are saving lives. we must follow the rules”, when in reality, as Sigmund Freud had pointed out, we are afraid to be in charge of our lives, we don’t want to own up to our failures, we never really liked going to our offices, I wonder have we found the perfect excuse to hide from the world, or have we at some point gotten that anti-social? Are we finally seeing the effects of social media?

The meaningful definition of freedom as something of this kind in us that does not depend on us; it never has any concrete grounds that we could find in any particular individual culture that surrounds the individual. Dahl puts the word “settlement” next to the word “freedom”. Sloboda is a free settlement. Freedom is “its own will, its scope, its ability to act in its way: lack of restraint, bondage, slavery, subjugation to the will of others”. If freedom does not depend on us, then how have we lost it?

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