How would you define freedom? What if any connection do you see between freedom and meaning? It seems to me that many of the things that people find meaningful (e.g., relationships, religion, careers) require us to sacrifice our freedom. I'm curious what you think about that.

When I babble about freedom, I'm usually referring to psychological freedom. Psychological freedom is what happens when your fears and needs stop bossing you around. It doesn't mean you don't have fears, but the fears you have are legitimate. It comes, I believe, from deep self-acceptance. Self-acceptance is just being in your own corner, through whatever losses and hardships you suffer. You're always there for your self, supporting yourself. In my view, meaning is a feeling that derives from this self-acceptance and gentleness. It's not dependent on what you do, since you can feel meaning without doing anything at all. You can feel it just by treating yourself differently.

So all this business about relationships and religion and careers...I have no doubt that these enterprises can urge someone to change the way they treat themselves. Kids can help people be more gentle and nurturing. Religion might have the same effect (but not always) and some careers, especially those in service of others, might also help people engage the world and themselves with more dignity, more gentleness, more gratefulness. That's the essence of both meaning of freedom. Other times, I imagine, people seek these things out because they're needy and hungry. In those cases, I would agree that they serve to bind people rather than free them.