Inner and outer Liberties
Thoughts on Naturism
By Christoph Müller

What does naturism actually have to do with freedom? There is no simple reply to this question. Because, we nowadays seem to live in a time where freedom seems to be questioned. On Croatian beaches naturists are being repressed. In wellness centers saunas are being opened to clothed people. The freedom that naturist fans may put off their clothes seems to disappear.

In intellectual history the concept of freedom has often been thought of. A statement is being ascribed to the existentialist Albert Camus that there is no freedom without mutual understanding. In regards to naturism Camus’ position seems to be realistic.

As naturists we are used to pull down our clothes. At the same time we know that there are many contemporaries having troubles to bear our nudity. In this context people talk about values and morals. Fans of being clothed yet can accept that people live differently.

Somehow this has to do with freedom. Some individuals may take the liberty to live the way he or she likes to live. Naturism not only has to do with the freedom to experience the world and the environment being nude. In fact naturists also have a lifestyle in mind. They want to experience themselves in harmony and unity with nature. They may perhaps live a worldview that puts the preservation of creation at the center.

It can have very concrete consequences for the everyday life. When the inclined naturist renounces his own car, it shows a certain consequence of the personal standard of living. When a naturist limits herself to vegan or vegetarian food, this expresses a serious conviction. Then being nude in nature is only a piece of mosaic in a naturist way of life.

What else can freedom mean? For many naturists it is about being free – of clothes, of bashfulness, of … Freedom can simultaneously also be thought of as liberation. It is the inner and outer constraints that the people want to get rid off in everyday life. Living the naturist way also works as a health-sustaining counterpart to everyday life, into which people are being constrained.

Many naturists see themselves being threatened in the recent times. They are being taken away from the possibilities to live being naked and free. The question arises whether these simply are social upheavals that question pulling off clothes and being naked. The question arises whether by the massive migration movements of people an individual freedom must be created differently as we have tried in the past decades.

A question mark still exists. I do neither want to get deterred from being nude nor from my own naturist attitude. The external freedom is one of it; I am willing to restrict myself to be nude in a defined zone of a beach or on the site of a naturist association. But I certainly will not give up the inner liberties I have worked for myself. As the Communist Rosa Luxemburg stated more than 100 years ago: “Freedom always is freedom of a person thinking differently.” In this sense I wish to get the recognition of my freedom. In fact I also respect the limits of my counterpart.