Most of us think we are free. And when we realize our bodies are imprisoned in a meat market we make ourselves believe our minds are free. “They may have control of my body,” some might say, “but they don’t have control of what I think.” But, truly, are our minds free?
We want to believe we have a full grasp on what freedom is. For those us who live in the United States or in a modernized society, we believe we are truly free. We have symbols that tell us we are free, and songs and movies and politicians, all telling us we are free.
But what is freedom?
Some of us mistake freedom for comfort. We believe if we have a comfortable couch, a computer screen or television, and a nice job to pay for those things then we must be free. We’re so comfortable. This is what freedom feels like: comfort.
But that’s not freedom you’re feeling. That’s exploitation. By simple laws of cause and effect, you can’t have comfort without causing discomfort for someone else. By this same token, when you’re at work and miserably grinding out a work week for the sake of keeping yourself and your family in the hamster wheel, you are in effect creating comfort for the wealthy.
When does comfort happen? On the weekends or the evenings, after work? The reality is we give our best energy to the production of goods for consumption. Whether your product is housing items on shelf to be sold or housing children in a shelter to be adopted or housing information on site to be read, your best energy is not given to the individuals you love.
But you are giving the by product of your best energy to the people you love: money. And how many people do you know who function as though money equals love? Too many. It’s because we are all products of this system, and this system moves by a monetary system.
Do you know who does have freedom in this system? The wealthy. And wealthy people do not work. The top one percent invest. They invest. They do not work. I don’t know if I can say that enough: Wealthy people do not work.
But you work. You get up everyday at 6am so you can shower by 6:30am so the kids can eat breakfast by 7am so they can be dressed by 7:30am so you can have the kids to school by 7:55am so you can clock in at your job by 8am. And how do you keep such a tight schedule? An alarm clock. The bell rings, you move, the bell rings, you move, the bell rings, you move. Then you get the pleasure of going home every night exhausted. You get the pleasure of barking at the people you love. Then the kids go to bed and you can finally relax. For how long? An hour? Maybe.
But you have weekends, right? Or two days out of the week where you get to be with your family. The first day is recovery. The second day is opportunity for quality time with family and friends. Most people end up taking two days to recover before they throw themselves back into the meat market.
So tell me again how you have freedom is such a regimented existence. Tell me again how comfortable you are, how often you are comfortable.
That’s because you’re not free. Your choices are delegated by the wealthy, which ultimately comes down to one choice: slavery by repetition.
“What is the alternative?” you ask, and say, “The human condition is to work.” I would say yes and no. We are definitely cooperative. And all our progress has been garnered through cooperation (not competition as we’ve been lead to believe), but that’ll be for a different post. What we can do differently is start by questioning if we truly have freedom. If McDonald’s or Burger King is the extent of our choices, then we don’t have freedom. Meaning, whether you attend Harvard or Yale doesn’t matter. You’ll still be tied to the same system through student loans and you will still be put on the same hamster wheel. One hamster wheel might be adorned with more “stuff” but it’s still a hamster wheel.
What do you think? Do you feel you are truly free? If so, why and how?