Here’s one of the many possible ways to define freedom: freedom is conscious knowledge of one’s own psychic structure, which gives one the capacity to make deliberate choices which are neither due to one’s immediate impulses nor due to social programming. In other words, freedom is the capacity to catch oneself on the threshold of an unfree act, binding the energy that drives it by analyzing it, and choosing otherwise - interior alchemy.
Knowing one’s psychic structure is very difficult, in part because it requires faith in a particular theory of the ‘psyche’ (or soul, or subject), or a cluster of them. I favor a combination of Lacanian psychoanalysis (the Other, objet a; the four types - psychosis, perversion, obsessional neurosis, hysteria; the ‘sinthome’ etc) with aspects of Christianity (sin and repentance) and Vedanta (the chakras, kundalini awakening).
I would further posit the necessity for a collective project that attempts to synthesize the three traditions from which these emanate - the project of scientific rationality that began in Europe, the Abrahamic faith tradition of the Middle East, and the wisdom traditions and spiritual technologies of India and China. Many of our contemporary crises are in effect symptoms that such a synthesis is possible and desirable.