TEDxDelft 2016 | Esther van Fenema | Too much freedom will kill us

ESTH7984“I do love my freedom more than anything in the world. We all do!“ said Esther van Fenema. But is unlimited freedom actually a good thing?

Van Fenema was a musician to begin with. She studied violin at the Conservatory of Amsterdam before she moved to Belgium to pursue her interest in medicine. She then began to practice her profession in the Netherlands. She eventually decided to specialize and became a psychiatrist at the Leiden University Medical Center, also continuing to explore her music interests. “There is always a misunderstanding of psychiatric disorders,” she said. “The World Health Organisation predicts that depression will be the biggest disease in 2020. It is high time we change our lifestyles to make the right choices.”

Van Fenema had always marveled at the lack of knowledge in accepting that the brain is a working mechanism. She reasoned that we therefore often misunderstand our freedom. “Freedom is very precious. But without boundaries, freedom becomes a risk factor,” she pointed out. Van Fenema is critical of the choices people are tempted to make,  where there are no boundaries. “Not all are born to be free,” she said. “Some of us are more vulnerable than others.” She said that we need to make sure that this will not lead to unfulfilled lives or depression.

Calculated decision making in important life choices, reaps the best benefits of our freedom. “I have always enjoyed the freedom to follow my passions,” she said. “We have to formulate our boundaries, rather than overlooking the limits, with the slogan of unlimited freedom. Because we are responsible for each other.”