Category Archives: Personal freedom

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?

The pain of chains

The dearth of responses to our discussion of freedom suggests in part why we are not free. The subject is painful. We are not a pain-seeking species. We want relief from the pain of slavery, but we cannot tolerate more pain in seeking our freedom. It is less painful to sit quietly in our chains.

I have written on the subject in three published books: Give Me Liberty, From Freedom to Slavery, and Seven Simple Steps to Personal Freedom. It must be clear to you that my own sense of enslavement has driven me to consider this issue over and over again. And here I am beginning my blog with this subject as if I cannot leave it for fresher fields.

Yet black slavery was tolerated in this nation for over two hundred years. Two hundred years! How long must we endure ours? And the horrors of that slavery that laid at the foundation of our nation still infects us with its unrelenting misery and hatred.

I had thought that together we might discover new insights. I would welcome yours. But we are not eager to pound against our chains hoping to break them—the pain. And I understand.

I should be writing about growing old, for that is an issue I need to explore with you as well. It is a different kind of servitude–one to Mother Nature who continually replaces us with mutations more likely to survive her tantrums.

What if freedom is a myth?

I think of the monkey born in the zoo. The poor creature has never known freedom. It is fed every day, and its offspring are sold to other zoos. The poor beast is docile in its cage and does tricks for the zookeeper.

What if we have never known freedom and have been taught to embrace our bondage, to fight for it, even to worship it. What if we accept our cage as freedom?

What if our minds have been captured and molded as a child molds clay so that our minds conform to the requirements of the New American Slave?

What if our minds have become the property of the power structure that has become our master, that television has become its voice, that the voice sets out our goals, our needs, and establishes our worth depending on the products we have acquired as the loyal American consumer?

What if we have been taught a new religion called free enterprise, that teaches us that to question it as a way of life is heresy, that the moneyed class is free to extract yet more money from those least able to protect themselves? What if the state’s religion is the religion of the dollar?

What if, indeed, we are not free, but instead are taught the myth of freedom, and worship the myth as Muslims and Christians and Buddhists are taught their faith?

Please tell me—What If?