Message on sign:
March 28, 2011
- one man angrily and loudly asserted while walking by: "YOU are not free. Who are you to tell me I'm not free? I'm free. I'm FREE!"
- "The sign is true. Society sets all sorts of rules it expects us to follow. I want to be free and do what I want all the time."
- "We are not free because we are raised to have certain perceptions of the world which color what we see and dictate how we behave. Most people are not capable of thinking for themselves. They are not free."
- "The sign is true and not true. I can go to class if I want, but I have to do what my parents tell me to do."
- "Yes, we're not free. We're all being tracked all the time. We all have to pay taxes..."
- "We are freer politically than people in many other countries but maybe less free than we used to be. But we have free will, so we are free."
- "I've been reading the book 'What the Buddha Taught' and it says we have no free will. How can we have free will when everything is relative, bound by the before and the after?"
- "I don't understand why people would agree to give up their freedoms to the state? They don't even know they are doing it. They do so with the best of intentions and under the banner of doing good for others, but they don't realize they're giving their freedoms away."
- "Goethe said: 'None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.' It's ironic that if people knew they weren't free, that knowledge would free them."
- one guy walking by said: "Not yet..."
Surprisingly, no one interpreted the sign to mean that no one is free in the sense that each person has some monetary value or worth, or that anyone can be bought, but only at a price.
Other signs on the Quad: about 20 signs of the American Cancer Society were up on the Quad with different messages on either side, e.g. "Parents who smoke can be role models by quitting." Near the George Washington statue there were people with signs reading: "STOP CRUELTY TO ANIMALS".
For a complete transcript of discussions with people about this sign (or at least as complete as memory would allow), see here, March 28.