The chains broken, the kings dethroned, the laws revised and rights established. All in the name of freedom. For what is the human story if not one long tirade against those forces which bind us to slavery?
And yet in chains we remain.
Ever-present, lingering. Can you feel them? They are so subtle now, but still we feel we are restrained. We are told we are free, yet each day we feel…
...less than free.
A mystery of the highest order.
Nothing binds your body. It is free to move. Nothing binds your tongue. You are free of speech. Nothing binds your actions. You have free will… or so we say.
See, there are many forms of slavery, but in point of fact, the grand sum of our efforts in history have been merely to shake off the most easily visible culprits. Chains, laws, kings. We've removed them but it just hasn't seemed to help.
What is left to be freed? What fetters left undone? Need a hint? The chains of bondage have never been broken at all. You are as enslaved today as ever. You are trapped like a rat in a maze. Stuck in the mud.
And yet all your life you believe you are free, because you have been told. No chains! No laws! Go and be free! But you are born, live, and die, and only in your final breaths do you look backwards and realize that it wasn’t so. That your precious life, your free will… it was nothing but one big crock.
How dangerous. How sinister. That you were manipulated in that way, told to run when there was no where to go.
And when all the masters have been run out of town, statues from pedestals pulled down, who is left to stop you from getting your freedom?
Can you take a clue? It’s you.
Slavery comes in many forms, but there has only ever been one true master. Oh sure, we quibble and we groan, and complain. The enemy is out there! The enslavers are he or it or that or the other. To divide in this way creates such a nice tension, and resolution. The problem simple. Reduced neatly like an algebraic equation.
The solution: change the world and freedom will ring. Now we can struggle, now we can act, and strive, and have purpose and meaning, and happy endings. How nice. Such are the material of fairy tales. Tale as old as time, ain’t it? And yet every obstacle has been surmounted, chains pulled off, ideologies switched in and out, ebbing and flowing ad nauseum. You should be asking yourself one critical question: shouldn’t we be free by now?
In all the vicissitudes of the change and overcoming and freeing, there is only one common denominator in the struggle and that is man. In man is the slave, in the slave is the master. And the master is identity. “I am the body.” Now chains can bind you. “I am the mind.” Now laws can silence you. “I am happy.” Now sadness can kill you. Dead and gone, you have lost yourself! The tyrant is not out there, I’m afraid to tell you, but inside.
Here he has always sat, orb and scepter at the ready. He is empowered by misdirection. He feeds off of ignorance. As long as you search out there for him you never find him inside. You will search to the ends of the earth to until at long last you realize you could not see him because you carried him on your back.
Tale as old as time.
And so finally, our freedom.
How is it to be won at last?
Come close, listen here. I can tell you this: to seek freedom is to assume you are enslaved.
Investigate and see if this is really so.
You just may find you had never really looked.