A perfect example to further understand the difference between the two aspects that knowingly or unknowingly run our lives. Consider an example where one is driving and upon seeing a fork ahead, one takes left and then upon reaching crossroads, one takes another left. In this case the person is free to decide where to go; left or right but if the reason to turn left in both situations is considered the reality shall become clearer that one is not exactly free.
The reason to turn left could have been anurge to smoke and reach in time to a store catch hold of a pack of cigarettes was responsible for the decision to turn left in the first place. Similarly, it could be to arrive at the railway station to reach an important appointment. One is not free in such circumstances. A person is free only when self determination fills the mind and one is in complete control of one’s own destiny. There is a saying that the most difficult decision in life is to decide which bridge to cross and which one to burn. Therefore, if a person is free in the true sense and has control over one’s own destiny than the person can actually feel free to decide. The foremost question that arises in one’s mind is that does positive liberty actually exist? Is it possible to control one’s destiny and be free in the true sense of the word. We think we are free but actually we are restrained by internal needs and wants. According toBerlinwho initially distinguished the two concepts, positive liberty is the presence of something like being in control, mastering one’s destiny and being self-sufficient whereas negative liberty is the absence of something likebarriers, constraints, restrictions, obstructions etc. Thus, it is when without others interference what a person is, or can become or do is how negative liberty is defined appropriately (Gallagher, Laver, Mair, 2005).
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