I have been challenged to think and study on the topic of Liberty recently and I am discovering some very powerful things about myself. When I started, I was operating under the assumption that this was a “fixable” problem with society, government and community, but the more I think about it, it is like joy and happiness, I can only truly be happy within myself. I can experience happiness communally with a group, only if I am already happy personally. I think the same is true for liberty. For me, at least, this is a problem of “me”. I must first set myself free, and give myself permission to be “at liberty”.
There is a lot of talk about waking people up these days, and I think this metaphor is appropriate in more ways than one. As a society we are a sleeping giant, or maybe it's better to say, “sleepwalking”. In order for that to change, each one has to awaken to liberty in their own lives. They must become free inside, in their minds, hearts and spirits, they must accept that this is the natural order of things, that this is their birthright.
As this begins to happen, it spreads, like so many things, through casual contact. The idea of liberty is so attractive to the human imagination, that when we perceive it in others, it almost immediately stirs up feelings in each of us. For some, it brings a longing. Those people are so close to waking up that it will take only a nudge to get them thinking and acting as liberty minded.
For some, it brings fear. If that is you, you must begin to unwind the layers of lies that encase your mind. You are rightfully equal to every other person on this planet, start there. For some, the “system” is so engrained in them that it sets off alarm bells, they feel threatened by the idea of personal liberty and can only conceive of a freedom that is granted to them by someone else.
The way to awakening, is to begin to reclaim all of those threads connecting things in your life, to yourself, to your work, your family, your worship, your government. De-compartmentalization is the key to enlightenment. Compartmentalizing is what has driven us to just "do our jobs" and separate so many parts of our life. You do not have a "social life" and a "work life" and a "family life" you have one life. They are all overlapping and interconnected in a million ways and thinking of them as separate is damaging. You cannot make choices about who you want to be, and what you want your life to be if everything is disconnected.
We have allowed a segmenting of our society, which begins at a very early age. We have believed myths about age that simply are not true in some cases, or bear much less weight than we have believed, in others. In school, we are divided by strict age guidelines, and are taught that association with one's “peers” is the right and sane thing. The idea that people one or two years from my own age are the best people for me to seek out to get the most out of life, seems absurd. It leads to a host of problems, but the segregation does not stop there.
We are divided by race, by class, by occupation, by political affiliation, geographic location, and leisure time activities. The categories become so narrow, that many of us could count on one hand the number of people we talk to on a regular basis that are unlike us in any appreciable way. We hang with people who dress like us, talk like us, listen to the same music, watch the same movies, and read the same books. Meanwhile, we are living on smaller and smaller islands created by all of these artificial divisions and walls.
Here is what I suggest. Make some new friends. Purposely go looking for people that are different from you. Yes, at first, you may think you have nothing to talk about, nothing “in common”, but you are 99.4% identical to every other single solitary human being on this planet! That's right, there is less than a one percent difference between you and Hitler! Or Ghandi! Or Abraham Lincoln, or Ghenghis Khan!
But you don't have to have anything in common to get along, or converse. In fact, all you need is one quality that all humans possess from birth: curiosity. That's right, the curiosity to know, what makes you feel, think and act like you do. Understanding. Getting to know someone who quite possibly disagrees with you on nearly everything you focus on every day takes nothing more than asking them a few questions. Here is what you will find, that .6% is exactly as small as it sounds. They have brothers and sisters, mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts, grandparents, favorite teachers, the list goes on.
Get out and reconnect yourself to your world. Don't let them segregate us anymore. It may feel that they are trying to force us into one big group, but before they do that, they want to break us apart as much as possible, because, if we trust each other, we may communicate, and if we communicate, ideas start to happen. When ideas really get going, things change, and real change is not something the system can handle.
Imagine: what if everyone just decided to stop believing in money? It is an illusion, there is no such thing as money. Think about it. Where is it? What is it? Not the paper that represents it, but the real money? There is none. Only 4% of the wealth that gets traded in our economy even exists as paper money, it's all just numbers in a big computer system. It all holds the value we give it. So, what if we stopped giving that value?
What if? At first it would be highly difficult, we have been used to this means of exchange for centuries, but think about it, what is money? Have you ever watched an apocalyptic movie, or even one set in the real world following a devastating war. What happens when someone finds a pile of cash? They laugh maniacally, or use it to light fires, but the understanding is, it is worthless. That is because it has been reduced to its true value.
So, if we stopped believing in it, would we still go to work at the same jobs? Would we still make the same choices? What if, instead, our wealth was based on what we actually contribute? (yes, I know, this is a huge fantasy with no basis in actual reality...yet) but what if? What would change for you? Whatever weight you just felt lifted from your shoulders by that thought, that is your chain. As Marley so aptly describes it to Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, the chain we forge in life. WE FORGE!
I know this post is getting long, and I may even be getting a bit lost here, but the system is only as strong as our belief in it. Truly. When we wake up to the whole world, and allow ourselves to see how all of the things we do, think, say and experience are connected, it begins to awaken in us a desire to improve that situation, and here is my point: I believe that longing is the proof, that somewhere, latent in the modern man in “civilized” society, is the knowledge, the belief, the certainty, that we were made to forge our own destiny, and that we can.