I'm a bit late this week on the post, with the holiday I've been feeling a bit off. The weather while it has been lovely is also quite strange for July. I was actually cold on the 4th of July so much so that I had to put a long sleeved shirt over my t-shirt. The 4th also got me thinking about freedom.
When I think of freedom I don't think of flag waving and fireworks. I mostly just think of how safe we as individuals feel in being ourselves. Many of us under that definition are not very free at all. We are slaves to conformity or expectations. We have an idea (whether true or not) of what is expected of us. In this country we call it the American dream. People have been talking an awful lot on media outlets how the dream is dead or worse how it has become a nightmare.
What I am aware of very keenly is the prevalence of the structures of control. All the things to keep people in line and predictable cogs in the machine of society. I am not proposing anarchy. I am suggesting that the patterns we are led to follow are breaking down while simultaneously being force fed to us. As I look at the amount of force applied to keep us all busily consuming more than the earth can provide sustainably, I often get depressed. One of the draw backs of being intuitive and keyed into patterns is that you can clearly see where things are going long before you can convince anyone of it. What I see is a media that is owned by special interests that above all wish to avoid change and personal variance. (If you were completely individuated it would be harder to market to you...look up individuation it's nifty). We have political leaders who divide and conquer, pitting one group of people against another convincing us that only they can save us from the "wicked" other. So we have racial groups being divided, genders (yes there is a war on women), sexual orientations, and political party affiliation all being used to scare the poop out of us. Frightened people don't make the best choices, in fact fear shuts down the higher reasoning centers of the brain.
None of this is really new. We are generally more free than most of those who came before us. In an age of information though control of the flow of ideas has become the Holy Grail for those who seek to have power over others. In the past few years we have seen revolutions, movements, and social change. All of which has met with violent resistance. I've also been turning that eye in the sky I have on events inward and noticing a gradual shift in awareness to the personal response to outward control. I have been pushing up against relationship expectations, and personal expectations in regards to the myth of the path of life that one takes at "a certain age." I wrestle with being seen as I am, sensitive and vulnerable, in a world where men are supposed to be valued for their strength and resources. I don't fit the cultural story we are told/sold.
So what is freedom? If we did what we wanted to when we wanted to all the time, relationships and cooperation would be impossible or at the very least rare. If we are too controlled nothing new can happen, and no current problems can be solved because we have stagnated our thinking in rote patterns. Living in this time we are struck by a paradox, we need to be free in order to contribute fully to society, and yet we also need to be accountable to that society. In a sense we are our brother's keeper. In the book Cloud Atlas a character comes to this revelation, "Our lives are not our own we are bound to each other from womb to tomb, and by each crime and every kindness we birth our future." We are a species that developed to function in a community, a tribe, or a village. With the powers of technology at our disposal each of us has tremendous power in our hands, power that must consider not only our needs but those of others. If you think you don't need to temper your power try driving down the wrong side of the road.
So where does this all lead to? I'm not sure. I do know that our minds should be free. We should not fear being and feeling who and what we are. Yet many of us do. I have no fast answers I see only the patterns and where they may lead. I would say it is time for us all to do a very frank assessment of our minds and how much they are controlled by collective stories that are broadcast through news, entertainment, and familial bonds. How free do you feel? What keeps you from feeling free if you think you aren't? What can you do to be more free? Does becoming more free impact others? Is that a bad thing? I'd be interested in seeing what conclusions (if any) you draw.
Peace and Blessings,