On the surface it may seem that we, as independently thinking human beings, possess some measure of personal freedom. After all look at the many possible paths and actions we have to choose from throughout life. That being said, does not rational self-interest grossly limit our freedom? Granted we always have the option to do anything, but realistically practical constraints keep us from pursuing most courses. For example most people in the developed world could choose to have 15 children, but they very rarely do given the tremendous expense of raising children. Likewise in the underdeveloped countries one could choose to remain celibate, but that would mean that they are undermining their own retirement prospects (i.e. not having children to support them in old age). A person who is desperately impoverished could choose to be a poet, but the most likely profession he will take is the one that offers him the best chance of making a living.
This line of reasoning can be applied to many other topics as well, but I would like to turn it over to others. Please post your thoughts on this idea.