Feeling free

“There are no easy roads to freedom” (Nelson Mandela)
Irene Schiff

Freedom: a wonderful and fundamental ideal. An ancient concept, hard to define. Freedom of thought and action, but always with respect for the freedom of others. A critical ethical question that politicians, philosophers, religious leaders, and every field of humanity can and must investigate. But beyond these essential issues, people also need to feel free in daily life, at home, at work, and the way they do this may vary. There are people who reject most of the community’s rules; people who make scientific inventions or discoveries; artists who create new styles that last for months or years; people who work from Monday to Friday and eagerly await the weekend, when they’re free to do whatever they want (including complete rest). On the other hand, some people feel free only by rewarding their sense of duty and therefore fully respecting every rule. It’s hard, but very important, to balance one’s ideas with those of others: it could provide the satisfaction of finding the famous balance between freedom and respect for rules. A small thing? Very often, things we call small give us the biggest emotions.


The Statue of Liberty - New York City


1) You hear the word “pass”; you’re:

a) in the mountains

b) playing cards

c) at school

2) What word do you prefer?

a) compass

b) review

c) overtake

3) On an unexpected day off, you:

a) put your things in order

b) relax

c) take a small trip

4) Good news:

a) a good friend is coming to see you

b) the boss says you did a good job

c) you can do a favor for a friend

5) You’ve won a small amount of money:

a) you buy drinks for your friends

b) too bad, you could have won more

c) give yourself a small treat

6) You do sports because:

a) it’s good for you

b) you want a beautiful body

c) who says I have to do sports?

7) You’re going to a restaurant with friends; you:

a) suggest home cooking

b) suggest an ethnic restaurant

c) let the others choose

8) With whom would you take an adventurous vacation:

a) my partner

b) an expert in this kind of trip

c) alone

9) You have to cross an almost empty square. You:

a) walk along the sides

b) walk anywhere

c) cross diagonally

10) At a meeting, they suddenly ask you to talk about something you don’t know much about. You:

a) calmly agree

b) refuse

c) nervously agree

11) A friend has bought a couch that you find very uncomfortable. You:

a) say it’s very nice

b) say what you really think

c) don’t talk about the couch

12) You have a lot to do: your first thought is:

a) it’s tiring but I can do it

b) I’ll leave out a few

c) I’ll never do it all

13) Your dream trip is very expensive. You:

a) make lots of sacrifices to save so you can go

b) don’t go

c) find a way to earn more so you can afford it

14) For you, being on time:

a) is almost impossible

b) is the rule

c) is typical

15) Someone you know is never on time. They’re

a) weird

b) disrespectful

c) You can arrive a little late, too


Il Bianconiglio di "Alice nel Paese delle Meraviglie" in ritardo corre con l'orologio in mano - Illustrazione


Questions A B C

1) 2 3 1

2) 1 2 3

3) 1 2 3

4) 3 1 2

5) 3 1 2

6) 2 3 1

7) 2 3 1

8) 2 1 3

9) 1 2 3

10) 3 1 2

11) 1 2 3

12) 3 2 1

13) 2 1 3

14) 2 1 3

15) 3 1 2


45 TO 36 POINTS:


For you, freedom can and must be a harbinger of events that can bring positive changes. You see freedom as progress, but you sometimes go overboard, risking excess and limiting the freedom of others. Sometimes this worries you a bit, but other times you don’t really care. People who disagree with you are free to do so … while respecting your freedom.

35 TO 26 POINTS:


For you, freedom and rules aren’t a contradiction: it’s your ideal, which you try to achieve every day. You’re aware that this is hard (but not impossible) to do. You give yourself time to relax and have fun, and you manage to do this when you believe it won’t harm others. People appreciate you very much, and this gives you the serenity that makes up for things you might sacrifice.

25 TO 15 POINTS:


You follow the rules: this is very important to you, and the path has to be straight with very few detours. You have a strong sense of duty, and you’d like others to act in the same way, but you understand this isn’t always possible. Sometimes you’re even a little envious of people who are more extroverted. If you allowed yourself some small change, improvise a short trip, change the furniture….?

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"Beyond" thirty years