The Freedom Paradox

Jazz, haiku, marriage: do limits hem us in, or make us more free?

“I’ve heard people say, ‘Oh, jazz must be easy. You can just play anything you want.’ But actually, jazz is very difficult, because you can play anything you want.”

Whoever you are, whatever your life is like, freedom is something you probably want a little (or a lot) more of. But what is it? 

“There’s this paradoxical irony in which we imagine being free as being without constraint and having as many options as possible, and then that just becomes the recipe for our enslavement, our imprisonment, our addiction, and all of a sudden freedom means being enchained. There’s a curious and sad paradox to it all.” 

Philosopher James K. A. Smith talks about being born to run, and the grace of finding home. Jazz musician and New Testament scholar Con Campbell explains the paradox of improvisation. Writer Laurel Moffatt talks about the constraints of the haiku form, and what becomes possible creatively within them. And Christine and Greg Olliffe, in their 50th year of marriage, look back on a lifetime of sacrifice and the enrichment that has come from it.

Listen to Transit Jazz, “Just a closer walk with thee

Read (and look at!) some of Laurel’s haiku at Make Whimsy Not War or her writing in general at

Check out James K. A. Smith’s book On the Road with St Augustine