What we mean when we speak of wanting freedom, autonomy and independence is really just the ability to do anything we want. Consider it. True freedom is to be able to allocate resources however we see fit. To use our time, energy and attention in whatever means we decide most suitable, without being compelled or obligated in any manner. In that sense, isn’t someone with a minimum wage job, no friends, no family and no partner more free than the most powerful of CEOs? Yet we still would prefer to swap places with the latter instead of the former. Which makes me think that we don’t want freedom, truly. What we clamour for is acceptance from our fellow humans, certainty in our endeavours, comfort in our immediate surroundings, and the illusion of complete and overwhelming agency over everything that concerns us.
We all want freedom, autonomy, independence. And we also all assume that it is too expensive to be had. We are all wrong. Freedom, autonomy and independence can be purchased by any one of us, immediately. All we have to do is squash our desires, reduce our “needs”, and rein in our ambition. We don’t need to make seven figures a year to attain freedom. We don’t need to make six figures. Maybe not even five. If we were to fore-go possessions, be content to have no fixed abode, be happy to be scorned by the general populace, and be willing to endure uncertainty and pain and suffering, we could be free. But that is not what we seek.