What is the importance of freedom?
The importance of freedom is that it allows us to develop our morality and our consciences.
If we lack freedom, we cannot truly become mature human beings. When we are forced to do things or not to do things, we do not have that many choices. We are not allowed to make our own decisions. Because of this, we are not really able to have fully developed morals or consciences. Look at it this way -- if your parents keep you locked up in the house all the time that you are not at school, how do you develop a true conscience and moral sense? You never have the freedom to get into trouble or do bad things, so you develop no morality or conscience.
If we have no freedom, we really are not able to become full, adult human beings.
Much of this is going to be dependent on two elements. The first is what you think other thinkers have said on the topic and the second is going to be what you, yourself, feel about it. I think that both of these are interlinked with one another. There is not a specific amount of primacy placed on one over another, but since the question of freedom's importance is something that has dominated political philosophy and the ideas of philosophical analysis, I think that both do converge with one another to a certain extent.
In terms of a practical answer, I think that freedom is vitally important to the notion of self definition. In an increasingly globalized world where barriers are being replaced with a sense of interconnectivity at rapid speed, freedom is essential to understanding one's place within such a paradigm. To this extent, I think that freedom is an important element in the self- definition process. The internet and the concept of the "world wide web" has made information collection so intensely easy. We have more information and more "bits" at our fingertips. However, it is the role of freedom and of choice that are essential in making sense of this information, the organization of these bits. To that extent, I think that freedom is an extremely important organizing principle.
From an intellectual standpoint, freedom has always been vitally important to the study of philosophers. I think that two, in particular, might allow you some level of intellectual engagement given the topic. John Stuart Mill and Karl Marx held some interesting takes on freedom and its importance. For Marx, freedom was something seen in a collective context. Essentially, Marx argues that one's sense of freedom is tied to one's social group. If that particular group is oppressed or denied their collective freedom, than the individual's notion of freedom is fairly worthless, for no matter what, there can be no true liberation. In this respect, freedom is important to the collective state of being. When the group or social identity of individuals are free, then, and only then, will they, themselves as individuals, be free. Another point of reference on the importance of freedom is found in the work of Mill, who argues that individual freedom of choice and decision is vitally important. In his work, the importance of freedom is essential in the carving out of one's identity and their sense of being, with it being seen as an individualistic notion that can operate and should be allowed to operate outside the norm of the collective.
Without it, life is dull and tragic. Do we have any freedom today?