Inspired by Franklin D. Roosevelt’s famous “Four Freedoms” speech delivered to Congress on the eve of World War II, Norman Rockwell created four paintings depicting simple family scenes, illustrating freedoms Americans often take for granted.
Freedom of Speech
February 21, 1943
Freedom of Worship
February 27, 1943
Freedom from Want
March 6, 1943
Freedom from Fear
March 13, 1943
Rockwell spent six months painting the Four Freedoms, which were published in a series of Saturday Evening Post issues in 1943, accompanied by short essays from four distinguished writers. The U.S. government subsequently issued posters of Rockwell’s paintings in a highly successful war bond campaign that raised more than $132 million for the war effort. Rockwell’s homey depictions of Roosevelt’s abstract concepts were widely popular across America, yet not everyone was completely in tune with the ideas elaborated in Roosevelt’s speech.
In an editorial published later in 1943 (reprinted below), Post editors addressed a controversy over the meaning of the freedoms, in a debate that still has relevance today. Is the dream still alive? As then, we are certainly permitted to hope and aspire to the same ideal today.
The Four Freedoms Are an Ideal
For millions of people throughout the world the Four Freedoms have come to represent something which gives meaning and importance to the sacrifices which the human race is now making, but these freedoms are by no means universally accepted as worthy aims for nations at war. Indeed, a not inconsiderable number of people regard the Four Freedoms as actually evil, an effort to deceive people into imagining that they will never again have to take thought for the morrow, since government will provide everything for them.
Few people object to the first two freedoms mentioned by President Roosevelt in his message of January 6, 1941. Freedoms of Speech and Religion are familiar to Americans and are already guaranteed to them. Some people wondered whether the President’s phrase “everywhere in the world” meant that the United States would be called on to fight until such liberties as we enjoy became the right of millions in Asia, Russia, and Eastern Europe. But what the President said was that we “look forward to a world” in which these freedoms are taken for granted. In as much as we Americans have prided ourselves on looking forward to such a free world ever since we became free ourselves, it is difficult to see that Mr. Roosevelt said anything very alarming when he led the world to hope that Freedoms of Speech and Religion might someday be the possession of men everywhere.
The real controversy, of course, rages about the other two freedoms: Freedom from Want and Freedom from Fear. The assumption by those who are alarmed at their inclusion in a body of doctrine is that they imply that men are to be guaranteed not merely against “want” in the literal sense, but against lacking anything they happen to desire at any given moment. Freedom from Fear, these critics affect to believe, implies that the Government is fraudulently promising to remove all the hazards of life which men have feared in the past.
If we believed that either Freedom from Want or Freedom from Fear meant that the New Deal was promising to pass a miracle which would end the necessity of individual work or foresight, reward the lazy and incompetent as richly as the able and conscientious, and set up a “welfare state,” we should be as dubious about the Four Freedoms as are some of our correspondents. Some New Dealers may misconstrue these freedoms, but there is little ground for such an interpretation. After all, “economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants” are as nearly realizable as “the full dinner pail” or “a chicken in every pot”— phrases seldom associated with radical welfare schemes. In fact, such understandings have been the professed goal of American statesmen for many years.
As to Freedom from Fear, it seems to us to contain no meaning more revolutionary than that suggested by Norman Rockwell’s touching artistic interpretation, in the picture of the parents regarding the untroubled sleep of their children. Mr. Roosevelt expressed Freedom from Fear as translatable into “a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point…that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor.” Nothing about guarantees against fear of measles, graying hair or the consequences of laziness or incompetence.
If there is genuine confusion about the meaning of the Four Freedoms, some of it is doubtless explained by failure to note that Mr. Roosevelt, in listing these objectives, used the expression, “we look forward to a world.” Well, so do the rest of us look forward to a world in which men shall respect the right of others to their own opinions; a world in which better use shall be made of the machinery of production, so that lack of necessities which are so easily produced shall be the lot of nobody who can and will contribute his labor; a world organized politically, so that men need not fear the horrors of destruction by weapons of war.
Few of us expect such a world to be attained all at once, by fiat of the executive or by mere use of phrases. But all of us are permitted to hope, in the midst of an unprecedently cruel and destructive war, that the peoples of the world will eventually understand their problems sufficiently to solve some of them. Thus interpreted, the Four Freedoms represent pretty well what men have always hoped for—political liberty, a better standard of living and an end to war. We should think all Americans could get together on such an expression of human aspiration.
Norman Rockwell | World War II
Dreams about falling are a common theme at bedtime. If you or a loved one has been experiencing this type of dream at night, you may have questions about what it all might mean. As part of a Huffington Post series on dreams and their meanings, we spoke to Cathleen O'Connor, Ph.D., author of "The Everything Law of Attraction Dream Dictionary," to get expert advice about the meanings of your or your loved one’s dreams about falling. Note: While dream analysis is highly subjective, this post might provide some insight into why this dream occurred or is recurring.
What do dreams about falling mean?
According to O'Connor, dreaming about falling can have a physiological basis. As the body drifts deeper into sleep and the nervous system begins to quiet, blood pressure and heart rate drops and this physiological shift of "falling" asleep can trigger a falling dream, often one from which the dreamer suddenly "jerks" awake. She notes that most often, however, dreaming about falling is the mind’s symbolic way of alerting the dreamer to a situation in her waking life where she feels out of control or where things are quite literally going quickly downhill.
What can I learn about myself from dreaming about falling?
"Like any dream symbol, understanding the relevance of a falling dream to your waking life is key," explains O'Connor. She suggests thinking about the various areas of life –- work, relationships, finances or even physical well-being –- where you might be feeling overwhelmed or vulnerable. With that insight you should then be better able to deal with your fears or worries and regain a sense of empowerment.
Are there any tricks to avoiding or inducing dreams about falling?
According to O'Connor, you can induce a falling dream. "Spend a few minutes before bedtime setting an intention to experience that sensation again in the dream state," she advises. "If dreams of falling bring up feelings of vulnerability and fear, realize that the goal is not to avoid them but rather to work with those dreams in your waking state to deal with the fears around the situation so you can regain your balance."
Beyond analysis, what cultural symbolism can be found in dreams about falling?
"Someone living in a modern industrial society holding a high value on monetary measures of success might experience a falling dream over worries about mismanaged finances or bad business investments," explains O'Connor. "However, someone living in an agrarian society that places value on shared resources might experience a falling dream over worries about the impact of natural weather patterns on a season’s harvest." The specific reason for dreams about falling may vary depending on culture, but the core psychological issues of fear, of failure or lack of control are the same.
Who tends to have dreams about falling most frequently?
"Dreaming about falling is one of the universal dream experiences," notes O'Connor. "Virtually everyone has dreamt about and experienced the sensation of falling when asleep." She says this dream most often occurs shortly after you drift off, but it's possible to dream about falling anytime while asleep.
What does it mean when I dream about someone else falling?
Most often, other people in a dream represent the dreamer, so dreaming about someone else falling might simply indicate that the dreamer wishes to emulate the other person in some aspect and fears unable to do so. The dreamer could also be feeling as if someone in his life is letting him down or failing him in some way or otherwise "falling short." According to O'Connor, "by thinking about your current life situations and the people involved, the correct interpretation can be found."
Cathleen O'Connor holds a Ph.D. in metaphysics and is author of "The Everything Law of Attraction Dream Dictionary." In addition to her work as a dream analyst and author, O'Connor is a keynote speaker and entrepreneurial coach. She enjoys inspiring others to act on their most cherished dreams and create lives of joy, fulfillment and success.