Am I free?

NO. Like Mr. Smith says in the second Matrix movie, “We’re not here because we’re free, we’re here because we’re not free.” But what exactly is ‘free’? Freedom is a word, like love. But what meaning does it have for us? What does it imply? Rett was smart in questioning one of my previous posts as to the meaning of freedom…I think it may be one of the keys to becoming at least a little freer. Is it true, though, that if we feel free enough, that it’s not worth looking into? Should being content with how ‘free’ you feel be considered a form of complacency or a viable way to live your life without the binds of unnecessary intellectualization (…is that a word?)? Well, let’s take a look at possible ways that you may not be as free as you think. Some of my examples may not apply to you or at least not completely to you, although you may just be deceiving yourself from the truth of the matter.

‘Freedom’ has many definitions. It is a concept, not a simple thing that you can point to, so it makes this issue pretty complicated. The first definition of ‘freedom’ in the dictionary is “the quality or state of being free.” That helps. Therefore, I’m going to use a fairly liberal definition of freedom here in this post. For instance, most people don’t think that the fact that we have physical bodies as a form of un-freedom. But it is exactly that. Our bodies limit or behavior and actions. We can’t fly. We have to eat and sleep and go poopie. Breathing?…definitely a necessity. Want to be at two places at one time? Fat chance. We are dependent on Mother Earth and if she goes, we go. What about DNA and our genetics?…another way for you to be limited. Our physicality also controls our perception to the 3-D world. You have your five senses, well, most people anyway. Your knowledge of the world around you is limited by what you can touch, taste, see, smell, and hear. And then you can’t be completely sure whether what you’re seeing is really there. You can be tricked. It’s magic! You may be thinking, duh. What’s your point? This physicality thing is a given. Freedom has nothing to do with it. Well, let’s move on.

Ever been hurt emotionally? Ever had a bad break-up that you just couldn’t let go? Been abused? Experienced a family tragedy? You may be hampered down by your emotional baggage. As far as I know, everyone has some issues. Think your wee-wee is small? Get mad when someone tries to use your bench in the weight room? Mad at your mom for not loving you enough? Drown your emotions in booze or use alcohol to zone out for a while? Ever shut down emotionally in order to protect yourself from those feelings that you don’t want to deal with? Scared of elevators? Obsessed with internet porn? Well, you may not be as emotionally free as you think.

Let’s move to the mind. Crazy? No luck there. I used to think crazy people were interesting because they were different. Most often the case is that crazy people are really boring, reliving fears and compulsions over and over again. You think the world is after you and that your Grandma poisoned the meat loaf? Could be, but maybe not. Disconnecting from reality is not freedom, far from it. People with OCD are the worst…and best example of a lack of freedom. Talk about doing the same things over and over and over and over again. I’m not trying to pick on anyone here. I think most people have their quirks if not their neuroses, so pick your poison here. Fill in the blank with whatever weirdness you have about you. Maybe you’re perfect and have not weird thoughts. Well, maybe you’re actually just hiding from the fact that you’re really the small wee-wee complex guy I mentioned earlier.

Aside from habitual and compulsive thoughts/actions, people have ingrained belief systems about the world. Religion? You better examine yourself there. I’m not knocking religion by any means, but I do find it funny that one religion can look at another religion as being weird while denying any imperfection in their own religious thought patterns and beliefs. Those Muslims? Weirdos! Get it? I realize there is a lack of understanding and empathy that goes along with this. Moving along, you think you’re just your body? You think you are limited by your five senses? Well, my friend, this thought process may just limit your ability to perceive the world any other way. Do you think the Illuminati are plotting against the world? Well, you may be wrong and this belief may influence your life without you realizing it. You believe that the U.S. government has the good of the people in mind? Hey, look, someone wrote something on the ceiling. You believe in everything science tells you? Well, you’re a fool. And how about TV and the media’s influence on your perception. Want an I-Pod. Sure you do. Ever watch the news that is owned by a handful of people? News is getting more and more centralized every day and a diverse content is what suffers. Every local news show at night has a section I find funny…it’s the here’s some pictures of black people who did bad things and are scary. Vast wasteland is here and I wonder what is on the horizon.

Money. You need it. You want to fly to Jamaica and spend a year there drinking and eating at your every whim? Better have some hunnid dolla bills to back your idea up. You are limited by how much money you have. Money is power in a certain sense, no denying it. With power comes freedom. How do you get money? Most people work 40-50 hours a week to go on that one vacation a year to a tropical island. Should you be working that much? Maybe you even like your job a little. But let me ask you this; if you knew you were going to die tomorrow, would you go to work today? Yeah, but Russ, you have to go to work to pay the bills and stuff. True. You have yourself to feed. You may have kids and a husband/wife or both to take care of financially. People depend on you. In a strange sense, you are limited by those who depend on you. I suppose unless you were a deadbeat dad or something. Have a house? Who’s gonna pay the mortgage? You work almost as a slave at a job you hopefully can at least stand. Okay, well rent an apartment then. Either way, you’re still gonna have to pay for shelter somewhere, unless you survive in the wilderness in a tent. Perhaps that is freedom. You’re still stuck with being a slave to your bodily needs. Back to the money issue? Why do you get up every morning and go to work and drink your coffee? Because you think you have to. That’s the norm. That’s what’s expected. (By the way, I’m using some of the ideas I got from David Icke here in this part). Your boss tells you what to do and his/her boss tells your boss what to do. Why? To support the system and the company. Have you ever questioned why you have to work so much or why anyone does for that matter? The federal reserve is giving you debt in the form of ‘money’ and charging you interest on it, so in a sense you are forever their b*tch. You are not simply using currency as a representation for what is really out there. You are getting monopoly money and charged interest and told that you have to work 60 hour weeks to make up for it. Slavery? I don’t know you tell me. I haven’t worked all this money stuff out in my mind, but trust me you’re getting the raw end of a thorny stick.

Politically you are not free. This is an important point that needs to be pondered because the term ‘freedom’ is widely used by the U.S. government. What does freedom mean to them? The opposite, I would assume. For starters, how much political power do you have as an individual? You are told to choose essentially from two people in the presidential election, one democrat and one republican. You probably had little or no say in your options. Who did? People with power. Presidents are ‘yes’ men. You have some power locally, but most people don’t get involved. Have a problem with something? Call your senator or representative. Maybe if enough people have an opinion, something can be done. The problem with this is that you may be alone in your opinion if you don’t follow the herd. Ever tried being heard by yelling at a packed concert? It’s about like that. Add agenda setting tactics and you’ve got a lot of legislation passed that does not benefit the public…hey, look over there!…Yoink! So, do I need to bring up the war issue? People will never be free as a result of war. You can’t fight for peace because all you get is more fighting. What you get from war is a bigger consolidation of power. If you go to war to create stability in a country, after many die, you could get more order which could lead to less overt injustice upon the populace. Maybe not. Regardless, the people will not be truly free. At best, more freedom may be obtained on a very base level…for example, laws could be written to protect the citizens from torture (try to forget the fact that our president doesn’t follow those silly things). Our country’s history is a good example of people gaining freedom through the justice system. We are not free, though, things just got swept under the rug. If only we could get rid of all those pesky terrorists, then this world would be safe and free…Never mind the terrorists, how about anarchy? That’ll solve our problems. Let’s go back in time to when we were foragers. Let’s make sure we don’t do anything collectively because if we did, who would make the decisions?…the guy with the biggest stick.

Let’s quickly go back to you as an individual person. You have a shadow. You wear a mask. Your personality enslaves you to its habitual mechanations. Can you even see the lense you use to filter yourself to the world? You see the world a certain way and you may not even know it. Ever wonder why the same things keep happening to you and why you react the same way to certain situations? You may be sure of what’s you and what’s not you, but that which you deny comes back to control you. You try and hide the things about yourself that you find unnerving. Maybe no one will see. You may be completely aware of those parts of yourself that you would never show anyone. Or you may have lost touch with your shadow self to the point where you don’t even know that it’s you who you despise. In short, your identification to whom you think you are traps you. Who are you? Do you know?

And who are those Jones’ that you try so desperately hard to keep up with? You buy things and act in ways to conform to what others want or what you think others want. Do I even need to go into this one? Just take a look at the ‘American dream’. Or just look for people who drive Hummers. And what about those non-conformists?…they’re the worst culprits. They’ve got conformity written all over them, just with less money and old clothes. Let’s face it, it’s hard to really be yourself in our society. And if you didn’t watch prime time television, what on earth would you have to say around the water cooler?

I’ve been trying to point out some of the less obvious forms of un-freedom that people may not think about very often. The more recognizable forms of un-freedom exists all over the world. Political slavery, laborious slavery, economic slavery, sexual slavery, etc. We’ve got sweat shops, child labor, under-age prostitution, prisons, concentration camps, etc. Many people can point out forms of un-freedom in the world that most of us would look at and say, yeah, that’s not freedom. Sad part is that most of us turn the other way in pursuit of the next big purchase. Distraction satisfaction!

Are you a control tripper? If yes, then go directly to un-freedom, do not collect $200. The master is as much a slave as the ones he/she lords over, if not more so.

At this point, you may be thinking, what is this guy rambling about? What I’m saying may or may not connect with you directly. Even if my examples didn’t catch your attention, I hope you’re following the idea. You may think that other people being slaves doesn’t affect you. So what if there are people in other countries in sweat shops? How does that have anything to do with my freedom? You may think that your DNA is just the way life is constructed and that doesn’t make you un-free. You may think that just because you cried when your dog ran away doesn’t make you a slave. You may think you actually kind of like your job and waking up at seven in the morning. You may think you like only having to vote every once in a while and that’s good enough. But even if you do think some of these things, I hope part of you recognizes some of the restrictions you face. So you make think world events don’t affect your freedom, but you could agree that you sometimes smile when you really want to cry. It doesn’t matter to me what parts you agree with. I just want you to know that you are not free.

I don’t think the issue here is whether or not you are free, though. The concept of freedom is quite varied and there are many levels of freedom. This fact doesn’t negate the concept and throw it in the realm of absolute relativity, though. I think the issue of this post is whether it is worth attempting to become freer. When is ‘free’ free enough? What will you settle for? How cushy is your prison? I suppose many would settle for being on house arrest.

Right now, I’m feeling disappointed with my lack of a solid conclusion…I suppose it’s the nature of this blog beast…my rhythm wasn’t quite there when I returned to this post in order to finish it. I never really even described what I think freedom is. This post probably sounded overly pessimistic, although keep in mind I try to keep a light heart and a good sense of humor. I feel that I could write a book on freedom. Maybe I can add that idea to ‘the list’. I just believe it’s very important to have a quality discourse on this matter and for everyone to turn around and face the mirror…and take a deep look at the truth of your self. The truth is within you.

By the way, love, consciousness, choicelessness, perception, and non-attachment can serve you well in the path toward true freedom and the realization that there is no path.


  1. “go poopie”? “wee wee”?
    I DID read this whole (very long) commentary, by the way.
    Freedom is, in one word, Christianity.
    We are only “un-free” in our bodies during our lives on earth, but
    we will be free of them in heaven.
    Money is not an object to true Christians, because they store up their treasures in heaven (to quote the Bible).
    And they cannot be
    enslaved to jobs, other people, money,
    the media, the political agenda, etc.
    because they “turn the other cheek”. A situation can only make you feel bad if you let it. Try praying for someone that you really can’t stand, genuine prayer, and see how long you harbor resentment toward that person. As far as war, if we follow the great commission to “go into all nations, teaching and baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost,” things may improve. World peace will never happen in anyone’s lifetime, but showing love is better than bombing the hell out of them.

    - ginger (Mar 19, 2006)

  2. Russ, I enjoyed reading this one, not only did you bring up a bunch of good points, you broke it down into clear and digestible sections and kept my interest. Well done chap!

    Here’s my opinion on the subject, which is heavily influenced (i.e. stolen) from the book I’m reading right now, Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo:

    “and I’ve already decided that I like the liberty I’ve got right here the liberty to walk and see and hear and talk and eat and sleep with my girl.”

    Of course, this is in the context of going to war to fight for your liberty, and the character in the book is saying that to die for liberty (or honor or democracy) is complete bullshit. Nothing is worth more than life, and anyone who says otherwise, doesn’t know what they’re talking about, because they’ve never died.

    Anyway, reading this just made me think “I’m alive, and I’m pretty happy with that. So to me, freedom is, in one word, life.

    - rett (Mar 22, 2006)

  3. Right-o, rett! I usually don’t reply to my own posts, but I thought I’d comment on what you said, since you brought up some good points. I think my post may’ve sounded a little harsh on what we call ‘life’, but remember there’s two sides two every coin. I was focusing on the way existence (manifestation) limits our perception on reality. Obviously, one must exist in order to have an opinion on existence. To be brief…life is a gift. One should cherish it and be gracious to be alive. Just breathe, in other words.

    Freedom is life and death. The transcendent wave must make love to the immanent wave. We must itch for freedom while accepting where you are now. Where you are now most likely isn’t free. Attachment to life is not the acceptance of life. This is where death comes-a-knocking on your door. LIFE IS NOT FREEDOM WITHOUT THE LOVE OF DEATH. Simple.

    I’ve got some theories on attachment, and I’m trying not to fall into the false-Buddha trap. I think that how we indentify ourselves leads to our sense of freedom. You are not who you think you are. Whatever you are, you are not. This is best learned through practice and seeing the truth for yourself. Understand? I’m not sure I do either, though it goes back to an earlier post where I talked about how you can’t lose what you don’t have.

    Just let things flow…thoughts, emotions, money, whatever. Don’t hold onto anything, but love deeply and honestly.

    - Russ (Apr 12, 2006)

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