Category Archives: Personal freedom

Your Thoughts on How to Become Free

I have asked for a dialogue on how we might free ourselves from our masters.  I am looking for a strategy, an approach, a movement, a sound, an action, a universal word, that can be adopted by all slaves to set ourselves free.

The problem is, of course, that most slaves do not recognize their bondage.  Most believe they are free because, in fact, as workers, they have the freedom to move from one slave master to the next.  Many find the idea of slavery too frightening to really understand.  Many wish to climb the slavery ladder to achieve a higher status as slave, that is, a position of greater power and wealth.  So two conditions must occur before we can consider the road to freedom:  The first is to recognize our slavery.  The second is a desire to be free of it.

We, the new slaves

We are the new slaves, enslaved by the Corporate King. The king disguises itself as our democratic government. But it lies to us and betrays us. The king owns our minds.

We are the new slaves, enslaved by the king’s propaganda and lies. We are told we are free. But money controls all, and the people have little. The money I speak of buys elections and lying politicians who are the minions of the Corporate King. The Supreme Court, itself owned by the Corporate King, has just delivered our country over to the power of money with the court’s latest decision in which it proclaims that the king may spend whatever the king wishes to further enslave the people, by feeding the people lies, feeding their prejudices, feeding their fear, feeding their hatreds and suspicions and claiming it is all for their benefit and their freedom.

We are the new slaves, enslaved by the king’s voice, the television that educates us and our children, that corrupts our values with violence, that dumbs us down so we can no longer think for ourselves. We turn to the tube to think for us. It tells us what gadgets, what things to buy and how to become further enslaved to pay for them. We once enslaved the aborigines in this country by trading them trinkets and mirrors in exchange for their land. It is an old trick that those in power play on the powerless. We are the powerless.

We are the new slaves. We are enslaved by banks and their demand for interest. The banks own our homes. We pay the banks rent in the form of interest, and we keep up their property at our expense. The banks are the soul of the Corporate King. But king is governed by no moral code. The king is governed only by its greed.

We are the new slaves. We pay tribute to the Corporate King from the sweat of our bodies to finance the king’s wars, wars not for our benefit, but for the king’s further enrichment and power. Our people die in such wars. Our people die without adequate health care. Millions of our children go to bed at night hungry and uneducated. The king does not care. It cares only for its wars and its profit.

The king sits back and laughs. To control the minds of hundreds of millions of people is divine. But such power is in the hands of fools who are the collective mind of the Corporate King. That mind is terminally diseased with greed. And the people are in jeopardy, for the king will continue to betray the people and lie to the people until it has sucked out the last of our lives. The Corporate King is insane.

What shall a desperate people do? We will do nothing until we learn the truth of our slavery. Will it then be too late except to scream in the streets?

But the king is deaf.

The wild pig story

Someone wrote me the following:

A chemistry professor in a large college had some exchange students in the class. One day, while the class was in the lab, the Professor noticed one student who kept rubbing his back, and stretching as if his back hurt.

The professor asked the young man what was the matter. The student told him he had a bullet lodged in his back. He had been shot while fighting communists who were trying to overthrow his country’s government and install a new communist government.

In the midst of his story he looked at the professor and asked a strange question. He asked, “Do you know how to catch wild pigs?”

The professor thought it was a joke and asked for the punch line. The young man said this was no joke.

“You catch wild pigs by finding a suitable place in the woods and putting corn on the ground. The pigs find it and begin to come everyday to eat the free corn. When they are used to coming every day, you put a fence down one side of the place where they are used to coming. When they get used to the fence, they begin to eat the corn again and you put up another side of the fence. They get used to that and start to eat again. You continue until you have all four sides of the fence up – with a gate. The pigs, who are used to the free corn, come through the gate now to eat and then you slam the gate down on them and catch the whole herd.

Suddenly the wild pigs have lost their freedom. They run around and around inside the fence, but they are caught. Soon they go back to eating the free corn. They are so used to it that they have forgotten how to forage in the woods for themselves, so they accept their captivity.”

The young man then told the professor that is exactly what he sees happening to America.

My response was as follows:

This is a favorite story of corporate America that has captured most Americans through television, teaching us year after year what we must buy in order to be cool Americans. We buy on credit. We mortgage our homes and cars. We shop, as the saying goes, until we drop. Then the corporate master teaches us how to get out of debt by going to a debt-consultant who takes more of our earnings to help us pay the corporate overlord.

Corporations do not build fences to catch people. They throw propaganda nets over the people called advertising. The bait in the nets are the TV shows the people watch, and as we watch we are gradually dumbed-down and captured by endless corporate ads that tell us how we must spend our earnings to be acceptable – the new car –the new TV set – the right clothes – on and endlessly on.

Now that we are in debt and need help, the corporations love to tell the pig story. The question they ask is: Why don’t you work to feed yourself and your family? Why aren’t you independent like you should be? Why do you want something free?

I have rarely seen a corporate executive who was hungry. As a corporate executive who tells the pig story he also comes begging to the government to save his company from bankruptcy, and, at the same time, like a true pig, awards himself and his fellow pigs millions in bonuses while over twenty-five percent of America’s children go to bed hungry.

Please tell the children and their parents the pig story.

An argument for slavery

I am grateful to some of my readers who have inquired concerning my health, this in view of the fact that I have not posted for several weeks.  Imaging and I have just returned from a couple of weeks in Istanbul,Turkey.  The jet lag of nine hours is a killer.  I am still exhausted.

As most of you know, I was born in Wyoming and have spent most of my life here.  That makes me little more than a provincial innocent who has sparse first hand appreciation of the history of the human race.  My knowledge of history, as it is viewed on the ground, is one of Indians, and French fur traders and homesteaders, and when it is all gathered up it spans little more than a century.  Growing up and living in Wyoming one never actually touches ancient human history.  But in Istanbul it was a different story.

I was immediately taken by the history there that hit one in the face no matter where one went, the walls of the old city, several yards thick and thirty feet high, or higher – still standing after more than a thousand years.  The mosques, monstrous domed buildings with inlaid tile, the palaces of the Ottoman kings – I mean, if you began to dig a basement there you would encounter centuries of civilization beneath the surface.  I was astounded and left reeling.

I do not mean to turn this post into a travelogue.  But I was told that thousands, yes, hundreds of thousands of slaves built the Blue Mosque in five years, a feat we could not duplicate with our modern machinery.  Slavery.  Nearly every great nation in history was built on the backs of slaves – the Romans, the Egyptians, yes, the castles of the English lords.  The cathedrals in Italy, the Pope’s own quarters, are mostly the products of slave labor.  The human race has advanced on the crumbling bodies and endless sweat of those whose lives were stolen from them by those in power.  The foundation of our nation, too, was a system of slavery.

Nothing changes.  But we have learned to cloak slavery with the myth of freedom.  That is quite an accomplishment.  Yet remember, the slave had a guaranteed sustenance.  He had a pallet of straw to sleep on and he was fed, although little and cheaply.  When he died he was buried in a shallow grave by the master.

Ask the millions of unemployed today who desperately search for work if they are slaves – slaves without masters.  Parents struggle and sacrifice to send their children to college so they can become slaves of corporations that will use them up, and when they are finished with them, cast them out, nowadays often without pensions.  In the old slavery, a child was taken from his parents and sold.  In the new slavery the child, born in Seattle, will leave his family to be educated in Connececut and to work for a corporation in, say, Los Angeles.  The family is no longer a unit that protects its members.  The tribe is gone (unless by becoming a fan of a football or baseball team one joins such an impersonal tribe.)  If we work for others we are slaves with few rights.  When the dead master (the corporation that is and never has been alive) is finished with the slave the slave joins the ranks of the unemployed, feels worthless, worried, lost and wasted.  If we work for ourselves we are slaves to the system, to taxation, to rules of law, to endless regulations that, at last, are mostly intended to benefit the money interests of the nation.  No one can escape the slavery.  The farmer works himself to the bone to reap his crop, but the price he gets is the price that all farmer slaves get – the amount that the corporate system will allow.

I am not arguing against this brand of slavery.  Much of it is necessary in a civilized society, some for the protection of citizens.  But at the bottom of this whole mess of rules, customs, the philosophy of free enterprise, the stock market, the entire business world, the laws and the court system is the overriding interest of power.  We protect money before we protect people.

So when I got back from Istanbul I came to the conclusion that the human species, once we have abandoned the tribe, is hopelessly indentured. The trick, of course, is to become the kind of slave one wants to be, and to exercise enough control over one’s slavery that some happiness, some fulfillment can seep in.  I expect that the slaves who built the Blue Mosque might well have stepped back and seen its beauty and gathered in a bit of pride that they gave their lives to such a monument, one they doubtlessly believed in, as we, indeed, sacrifice our lives to our own various forms of slavery.

The wild horse and the red minnow

We are so afraid. The hand of the trainer has been on us. It has been a punishing hand. Often cruel. It has jerked us up short. It has demanded that we think and act in ways that please the trainer.

Over the years we have become like the horse born wild, captured, and then broken. We now back up to the plow and wait to be harnessed. The trainer – the composite of parents, the pressure of peers, of teachers and preachers, of public relations gurus, of politicians, and the flock itself, have domesticated us.

We have been taught how to act and how to think. Our values have been grafted on to us, ideas that are often strange to our genetic beginnings.

We conform. We embrace convention and distrust and disrespect those who do not. We are regimented and constrained and tamed.

We must conform, else we are in danger. Can you see it – ten thousand minnows, all silver, and that one red minnow? Can you see the approaching shark?

But we have choices. Dare we make them?

A just penalty for bankers

moneypile2 I have been thinking of bankers. I admit, I have thought ill of them most of my life. All bankers are not bad. There are good men among thieves.

But the bankers at the top of the financial world have caused too much misery and death in this country. I am short on love and compassion for them. Many a poor soul, some innocent of any crime, have been strapped to a gurney while the law stabs its needle into their arms, men, some condemned and executed for heinous crimes, but who have been responsible for far less pain and far fewer deaths than these world bankers have caused.

We are at fault, of course. We have fallen into the belief that those who have money must be respected and trusted. We have delivered our lives and well being to them. They have betrayed us. The culture on Wall Street practices the idea that profit is morality. It is all right to steal, to gouge, to throw poor people out in the street in the cold of winter if it promotes profit. On the other hand it is moral to tell people they must buy certain cars and homes and TVs if they wish to be acceptable, even if they cannot afford it, even if they must become financial slaves to pay off the banks.

Consumerism, which at the moment is being touted by the money cartel as necessary to save the nation, is another word for slavery. We suffer only a different master. The black slave of old at least knew his master’s face. Black slavery was cruel beyond understanding. But the master was a living, recognizable being, wicked as he was, who did not hide his identity from the slave.

The slave masters today are the banks. They are faceless corporations who exercise their mammoth powers against ordinary citizens, sit in plush offices, fly in private jets and exercise their dominion over whole nations. The people they injure and kill by their profit decisions are as faceless to them as they are to their victims. Their victims are mere numbers on endless pages, victims who are now asked to save the bankers.

I am not for the death penalty, even for bankers. But if I were to choose a punishment against those who have exercised their evil power of profit over our injured and dying citizens, it would be that these bankers might drown in the tears they have wrought in pursuit of their insatiable, wicked greed.

The art of catching pigs

Recently someone wanted to talk about catching wild pigs. Why should anyone want to know? There are a plenty of domestic giant hogs running loose on Wall Street.

He told this story:

“You catch wild pigs by finding a suitable place in the woods and putting corn on the ground. The pigs discover it and begin to come everyday to eat the free corn. When they are used to coming every day, you put a fence down one side of the place where they are used to coming. When they get used to the fence, they begin to eat the corn again and you put up another side of the fence.

They get used to that and start to eat again. You continue until you have all four sides of the fence up with a gate in the last side. The pigs, who are used to the free corn, start to come through the gate to eat, you slam the gate on them and catch the whole herd.

Suddenly the wild pigs have lost their freedom. They run around and around inside the fence, but they are caught. Soon they go back to eating the free corn. They are so used to it that they have forgotten how to forage in the woods for themselves, so they accept their captivity.

The storyteller then suggests that that is exactly what he sees happening to America.”

I say, I have rarely seen a corporate executive who was hungry. Yet more than a half million children in America go to bed hungry each night. Tell them and their parents the pig story.

The cruel irony is that the pigs, the giant hogs on Wall Street and elsewhere (they thrive in Washington D.C. as well) are engaged in capturing the people upon which they feed. One hog asks another: “Do you know how to capture innocent citizens? You make false promises. You lie and cheat and commit all nature of fraud, and the innocent people, believing that huge investment houses and corporate businesses with legendary names would never steal from them entrust we hogs with their money. It is that simple.”

The irony proves to be even more insidious. Corporate America, the non-living, non-breathing composite hog has captured massive numbers of Americans, indeed, most, through television, teaching them year after year what they must buy in order to be cool. They are taught to buy on credit. They are taught to mortgage their homes and cars. They are taught “to shop until they drop.” Then the corporate glob teaches them how to get out of debt by going to a debt-consultant who takes more of their earnings to help them keep the corporate hog fed.

Corporations do not build fences to catch people. They throw propaganda nets, called advertising, over the people. The bait in the nets is the TV shows that people watch, and as they watch they are gradually dumbed-down and captured by endless corporate propaganda that tells them how they must spend their earnings to be acceptable — the new car –the new TV set – the diamond that is a symbol of love — on and endlessly on.

Now that the people are in debt and need help, the corporate hog would doubtlessly love the pig story. The questions the corporate hog now asks hard-working ordinary people are: “Why don’t you work even harder to feed yourself and your family? Why aren’t you independent like you should be? Why do you want something free?”

Now the irony approaches absurdity. The giant hogs have eaten themselves. Nothing remains. Their lies and their frauds have been exposed. Their destruction of trust and their rejection of basic American values has now become rampant. And the hogs come begging to the people, ride their corporate jets to Washington, and beseech the people to save them.

Letters from the insane: The domestication of man

My close friend, Argus Thompson - who is insane – wrote on the passiveness of Americans who stumble through their lives blinking and mumbling and sometimes staring at the sun while the earth is being destroyed:

“A strange stillness lies over the American masses. Something about servitude stills. Something about domestication stifles. The wolf, now the poodle, no longer howls. The wild boar lies on its side in the hog pen and grunts. The wildebeest, now the Holstein cow, stands in her stanchion placidly chewing her cud while she’s milked dry. Domestication of man and beast muffles the cry of freedom and suffocates the spirit of liberty.

“This is a war for the very survival of the earth, our Mother. Yet, as in all wars, only the radical edge, the impassioned few, rise up, the placid majority, gagged by apathy, the wicked sister of death, are heard to mumble only occasionally from under their bed cloths in the dark of night.”

How to survive the tyrant Judge (part 1 of 3)

PART 1: Understanding the self

I preach endlessly that it all begins with you.

We’re afraid of judges because they’re power-persons, which harkens back to our experiences with our first power-persons – usually a parent. Most often we don’t understand that psychic connection while we stand miserable and quaking before His Honor. Instead of a judge the psychic eye sees a raging father or a scolding mother. The psychic memory has not forgotten the child’s helplessness before such a power-person. Nor has the survival instinct let the psychic mind forget that should the child be cast out, the child will face the ultimate horror—death. And what if the judge should reject us?

We are introduced at an early age to the relationship between power and helplessness.  Beyond the fear of the parent power-person we are taught to fear the ever-watching God—the ultimate power. Why do judges peer down on us from on high? Why do the remnants of ancient belief systems still have us “praying” to his Honor? From the earliest times we learn the art of beseeching that is often gilded with resentment—the deaf, unresponsive God of Job. And always we long for our own power.

At a recent seminar conducted at Trial Lawyers College, participants were asked to complete any unfinished business they might have with a parent, living or dead—one participant taking on the role of the child, another the parent and the two reversing roles as necessary to permit the full story to emerge. The results of such exercises are universally astounding. The participants are touched in deep places, some to weeping, some to silence and others to anger. But none leave the exercise unmoved. Why, I have wondered, is there such a high quotient of parent-child conflict?

My own supposition, formed empirically over the years, is that more children than we suspect have been abused. I am defining abuse from the child’s perspective of powerlessness. To the child, abuse feels like the inexorable, assertion of raw, undeserved power. It may include perceived unjust punishment, deprivation or a sense of abandonment directed to a child who is unable to fight back or to protect himself or herself. It is the painful exercise of power by often innocent parents that imposes injury.

Parents are not equipped to judge their conduct through the eyes of the child. No courses are offered for Parenting 101. Often abuse grows out of the parent’s own experienced abuse as a child—so the biblical admonition that “the sins of the father are visited upon the child.” Some parents who feel powerless themselves are the first to exercise unwarranted power over their children. The abused child, as I have defined him or her will become the lawyer most likely to be abused by the judge.

“The abused child, as I have defined him or her will become the lawyer most likely to be abused by the judge.”

At the above mentioned seminar I was drawn to a young woman, a beginning lawyer, who presented herself as childlike. She had a small, sad, perpetual smile on her face, and if I shut my eyes and listened, her voice sounded like that of a five or six-year-old. Physically she looked like a little girl with a chubby body and a round doll-like face. Naturally she was adored and protected by the other participants at the seminar. She had had limited experience in the courtroom. But the few cases she’d tried before several judges left her with the impression that judges were kind and helpful. I thought, yes, who but a sadist bent on injuring children could possibly treat such a child with anything but kindness. I found myself wanting to protect her, and this lawyer, still as child, was taken under the wings of the judge, the same judge, I discovered, who had been the judge from hell for another participant in the same seminar.

My own parents were often bewildered as to how to deal with their rambunctious, raucous, rebellious offspring. I was never spanked nor sent to a corner. I do not remember any particular punishment at all. When those mutinous adolescent years came along my parents simply threw up their hands in surrender, and I left home at sixteen to conquer the world, which I viewed as a probability. I rebelled against the strict, religious teaching of my mother and absorbed the anger of my father against the “upper crust,” the moneyed class, who, were represented by the callus authority of his employers. I loved my father and hated the boss, that malevolence on high who could abuse that good, brave man. Early on I saw authority as the enemy and vowed never to be captured by power, and, of course, that included the power of the judge. My life with judges has not always been easy.

I have never heard a judge admonish a lawyer, “I am not your father, Mr. Jones. I am the judge.” Nor have I met a lawyer who has walked into the courtroom saying, “Remember, this man is not my father or my mother, this is not my father’s boss nor some heartless, demanding teacher. The relationship of judge and lawyer rolls on, year after year, the judge as the power-person, the lawyer as child, the lawyer struggling in the courtroom against the power of the judge and neither understanding much about the seeds of their relationship.

COMING SOON, Part 2 of 3: “The Dangerous Disease of Power”

Have we surrendered too soon?

Some readers have asked that I be more reasonable and in balance. I have replied, “In face of injustice I do not wish to be reasonable or in balance.”

I think of William Lloyd Garrison, the Abolitionist leader on Slavery in America who in 1831 wrote:

“I am aware that many object to the severity of my language; but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject I do not wish to think or speak or write with moderation.

“No! No! Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm. Tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of a ravisher. Tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen, but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest—I will not equivocate—I will not excuse. I will not retreat a single inch—and I will be heard.”

As for me, I do not seek to tear down all institutions, although many need to be discarded as evil. I wish to tear down only those that unjustly enslave our people.

I do not believe all corporations are evil. But the corporate form induces evil because it does not attach human responsibility to the corporations’ immense power. Those who govern the corporate machine must be made responsible for the abuse of its unbridled power. Too often its responsibility to those it injures is as if one shoots a bullet into his neighbor and then blames only the gun.

Bill wrote “Many of us cannot see that we are enslaved. Being told that we are in that state is a foreign concept, one that the brain cannot process. It may take a while for the idea to sink in. It would almost be akin to being told that the people you believe to be your parents are not, in fact, your parents.”

I agree. That is the danger. Unless we recognize our servitude we can never escape it.

We have been told from the moment we could understand the words that there is “liberty and justice for all.” We cannot bear to hear that the promise has been broken, that, indeed, the fruit of the promise was never delivered in the first place.

Yet in America the occasional slave can become the slave master. That is the throbbing, luring advertisement of our system. It is possible, as all things are possible, that the poor kid from the projects can become the CEO of Cornflakes and enslave his neighbors.

The term, “slavery” is too broad to be understood. We are enslaved by religion, by our employers, by the bank, by the credit card companies, by our promises to our spouses, by our duty to our children, by a stale belief system imposed on us by parents and teachers.

We are enslaved by our negligence regarding our health, by our inability to think without the aid of our slave masters, the corporation, that teaches us what to buy and how to pay for it. We are enslaved by marketers, who tell us what we must wear and the car we must drive to be hip, by politicians who themselves are enslaved by corporate money who tell us what wars we must fight and that we must, to be loyal Americans, sacrifice the lives or our children and the lives of those our children are directed to kill.

We are enslaved by unjust laws and a judicial system that will not deliver justice. We are enslaved….I am already weary and I have only begun this bill of particulars.

Slavery is of two types—that which is imposed on us by outside forces over which we have no control, and that which is self imposed. In the end, much of the slavery we suffer has been a matter of choice. Is it not more comfortable to be a slave?

The truth is I have told you nothing you do not already know. Already you know that perfect freedom is perfect nothingness. To approach it is pure terror. We call it death.

We conduct the war against our own enslavement from within. Our freedoms are the spoils of that carnage. Freedom cannot be given except as we capture it in ourselves. May I ask: Do we surrender too soon?