Monday 26 December 2011

Is Free Really Free?

We all like free, I suppose. Free gifts, free meals, buy one get one free and also free to express our thoughts on social networks etc. What about this saying that "there is no free lunch"? Have we ever tried to understand whether what we thought free are really free?

Accountants and lawyers would normally quote you on hourly rates. Time is their cost, as what they we told by senior accountants and lawyers before them. If that is the case, what happens when their employees freely spend their time on social networks exercising their rights of free expression on platforms which do not charge their users anything?

To make things more complicated, if a company issues free shares to its employees, it has to take a charge in its income statement. There is no such thing as free shares reckon accounting standards. Does it mean in a capitalistic economy there is always a catch somewhere for every benevolent act conducted?

Even if we receive free gifts when we make purchases at shopping centres we have to pay first before we get the gifts or discounts. Most of the time, we do not even want the so called "free gift" but the thought of having more by paying less could be too tempting to resist.

On a more serious note, expressing ourselves freely may not necessarily be a free act. If we defame somebody by comments made publicly or on social networks, we could be sue for defamation. That could be costly even if proven innocent later. At least we have to fork out the legal fee to defend ourselves. What about the friend we loss because of our comments or the perception we create on ourselves due to the remarks we made. Some people may not care about these matters. They are free to think so.

For muslims, faith is very important. Our acts and conducts reflect the faith we have in our hearts. Remarks made on social networks could be a reflection of our real beliefs although we may want to believe otherwise. If conducts and beliefs do not jive, could be confident that our faith have not been tainted. This could be a free act but the consequences could be catastrophic, in the hearafter.

So, is free really free? You are free to explore!

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