Friday, August 28, 2009

".... to live freely"

Laura Dekker is my new hero. She is a 13 year old girl who wants to sail around the world, and her parents think this is a fine idea. She is a born adventurer - her mother gave birth to her on a yacht off the coast of New Zealand during a 7 year global-wide sailing expedition. But a Dutch court has intervened and taken legal custody away from her parents (although she continues to live with her father).

What Laura Dekker wishes to do is obviously dangerous. She could easily get herself killed. And of course I cannot pretend to know what is best for her. It is natural for a 13 year old to think that she can do things that she either can't do, or at least shouldn't do. I know I did!! The illusion of indestructibility and even immortality is one of the greatest gifts/curses of youth.

But to those who insist that she is not old enough to sail around the world, her reply is
"I want simply to learn about the world and to live freely."

"He is free who lives as he likes; who is not subject to compulsion, to restraint, or to violence; whose pursuits are unhindered, his desires successful, his aversions unincurred."
[Epictetus On Freedom (Discourses IV.1)]

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