What do I mean by our slavery?

I mean that state in which the person has no effective control over the course of his or her life.

Surely that is neither you nor me. Surely.

I mean, if no matter how he struggles, no matter how she labors at the task, if neither cannot explore their boundless uniqueness they are enslaved.

I mean, if he has lost his only power, the power of the self, he is enslaved. And if her passion for life is encaged by duty and the expectations of others, she is not free.

But surely this is neither you nor me. Surely.


4 responses to “What do I mean by our slavery?

  1. But surely none of us is totally free so long as we see ourselves as connected to each other. Once we have connection we have obligation. We care about each other. We have regard for each other.

    The slavery I think you are talking about results from allowing or being forced to allow others to define our obligations, impose their expectations.

  2. I think there are several types of slavery. The more obvious sort is that imposed by superior strength to force us to do, externally, that which another wishes us to do. The other, and more dangerous sort, is that which is imposed by insidious and covert appeals to our innate desire to conform to some “norm” — the sort of slavery embodied in 1984 at the end, where, in the midst of his torture, the main character concludes that he loves Big Brother.
    In contrast, there is a freedom that can come from voluntarily denying our own desires and wants and doing without in order to meet the needs of others, yet, paradoxically, becoming truly more free and more alive than by any other path in life.

  3. Pingback: Defending People: Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer Mark Bennett's Blog

  4. First, I’m glad you’re doing a blog, Gerry. I remember a friend of mine talking about you and I never forgot the name. I’m glad to know there is a compassionate lawyer with a big name, who is willing to speak his mind as you do – here, on the net.

    You make an interesting point about slavery. Slavery, in my humble opinion, is not a problem that can be solved by human will alone. I’m sure some of you, if not many, will disagree.

    But consider the “every man for himself” philosophy and ask yourself how that has worked for us. Alan Watts presents us with the question of whether or not “we are free agents in a bag of skin”. And he reaches a very interesting conclusion in his book, The Wisdom of Insecurity – sorry, no spoilers here.

    The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous have explored this question in great detail (particularly in steps 1-3). In my experience, the more that I rely upon a “power greater than myself” (it doesn’t have to be a god) the more irrelevant slavery becomes. The reliance upon a higher power allows for a sort of “spiritual independence” in life.

    As I become relieved of bondage of self (materialism), I am more free to move about and experiment in life. As I learn to rely upon a greater power rather than people, places and things, I can become an interested observer, rather than someone who identifies with every feeling that passes.

    And when the feeling passes, I can take action.

    The book I refer to is not just for alcoholics. And there isn’t just one book. Take your pick or philosophy, from religion, religious science, The Four Agreements, whatever you like.

    So, yes, I see the slavery. But I also see the freedom of the mind over the material world.


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