“Freedom” has been a meaningless word in the bigger picture of the human species. Wars have been waged over it since humanity collected itself into herds. People have tried to make others obey them while they themselves try to break free of the tyranny of the rulers. And in the end all that matters is a very simple idea – “everyone wants to do what they want”. When something opposes it we fight against it. Liberty is gained and lost. The very same characters fighting to be free don’t notice their gradual change into tyrants – others do and hence the cycle starts itself all over again.
What goes unnoticed in this great repetitive drama is what did anybody really want to do. Did daily life undergo any radical changes when it had the chance to? With the right to talk and think freely, did anybody use those rights? Probably not.
Since people most of the time are happy to be led and guided through their lives. Taking decisions is something that is easily passed on to others – since we don’t want to live with our bad decisions. So freedom turns out to be just an illusion having little effect on our lives. What are we captives of?
- We are slaves of conventions. We keep making the same choices over generations for the sole reason that they have been made. They may be good, maybe bad but usually we don’t even think about going against them.
- We are slaves of religion. Since childhood sometimes before a kid learn to read and write, the notions of religion are hammered into its head. And many crucial decisions through life are based and affected by this fundamental aspect.
- We are slaves of social obligations. We are expected to live life in a certain way, act in a certain manner, talk in a certain tone, dress in a certain style and so on. And from raised eyebrows to burning on the stake are the punishments that have been levied on those who swim against current of norms.
- We are slaves of habits. We wake up at a fixed time of the day, feel hungry at sometime else. We can only eat and enjoy few kinds of food that has been fed to us since childhood. we order the same drinks at each bar in each city. We expect a clockwork perfection of life and we become one of the pegs in it.
- We are slaves of family obligations.
- We are slaves of marketing – We can only use shampoos of certain brands and wear sunglasses of others. We don’t pause to think the utility of those choices and products.
- We are slaves of our jobs and paychecks.
- We are slaves of weather – Its funny actually how its usually too hot to go out. If not hot, it has to be raining a lot and it has to be very cold for a walk.
- We are slaves of familiarity – We don’t venture out into the open to experience the world as it is. We enjoy the peaceful familiar.
- We are slaves of bias and ignorance – Maybe the root cause of all the problems. We prefer to stereotype the unknown and be content with the images in our head rather than to actually try to know the truth.
When I say we are slaves, it means we don’t make a choice. It may so happen that our choices may coincide with tradition – nothing wrong in that. It may so happen that it may be a bad one. There are martyrs in any struggle for freedom.
Maybe we will venture out into the open and settle in new continents. Maybe we will come back home and quote Antz:
“And, y’know, I finally feel like I’ve found my place. And you know what? It’s right back where I started. But the difference is, this time I chose it.”
Make a choice.