Oppression is a word that I hate. A word that reachers all the shallow corners of the past and makes me clench my teeth in anger.
Since birth, we are raised into a highly structured system bursting with rules and regulations. This is great! This guides people to the right path; it’s a great way to provide us with a frame and something to follow. The perfect template from which to outline our lives. But if everything is predetermined by others, begs the question. who are we really? What does it mean to be human?
The Invisible Chains
We all have structures that we have grown up with. Be it political, social or religious structures that had molded us, and not particularly from our own free will. A lot of this structures helps in the development of virtues and values that can develop the best of human qualities, but let’s not forget there’re always two sides to a coin. A lot of the things that molded and shaped us, where also designed to keep us afraid and never question authority(I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a kid out there who thinks he’s teeth will fall out if he has ice cream before dinner).
An excellent example to illustrate this will be, the one of the elephants. An elephant is not kept in a cage, you might be surprised but a small iron chain is more than enough. That’s crazy! this can give us an idea of how powerful beliefs actually are. When a baby elephant is captured, they are chained to one leg, due to his small size the elephant struggles restlessly, but can’t manage to get free. Once the elephant reaches adulthood all hope is gone, thanks to their incredible memory they can’t forget that it’s useless to struggle, and so the elephant does not try to free itself; By now the elephant is big and powerful and can easily break a flimsy chain, but he has learned not to question the chain, “Never question the chain”. Surprisingly, what holds the elephant is not the chain anymore, is what the chain represents for him, instead of the chain holding him back, is the trauma behind the chain the keeps him in place. Sadly, in this way, the poor elephant is tamed, “Forever.”
Much like the elephant, we too are traumatized in many aspects. We already knew this, No need to worry! Let’s look at the bright side; unlike the elephant! We are not tamed “Forever.” Just like time changes our bodies, it does the same to our minds.
As we know, the world is in constant flux all the time and most of what used to be true it’s now the opposite, We are self-aware, our perception of the world; the way we think in general is always changing. When we look back in time we might do it with shame and resentment, but at that time it was socially acceptable, it was ‘the norm’. What does that tell you about us? To me, it’s clear proof that we have more power than we want to recognize. We are not wound by a chain! we are kept in “cages” because a chain is not enough to contain human “Enthusiasm.” Prisons and institutions are designed to regulate this “Enthusiasm” to a certain degree, but remember, there used to be a time with no prisons, no schools and no churches for that matter. It’s good to understand why they were created; the benefit and utility they provide, why they use fear to keep people in line; they serve a purpose and they are not evil. But there’s no reason to be a slave to them.
Ok…The thing is, we are the ones who say what is right and what is not, conversely, we also have the power to change that notion. All the great men and women who dare question the truth were the first ones to change it and societies change all the time.
Don’t we have the right as part of this world to explore, have our own experiences and draw our own conclusions? should we be punished for questioning these things? Is it our fear truly ours or something just to keep us in place? Are we just a slouched puppet hanging by silly string or are we something greater? It a sad and very blurred line, but I think most can agree that fear can be weaponized, and a lot of us are being terrorized.
With all this in mind, I ask the question. What are men looking for when they set sail to explore the seas? What are we hoping to gain from gazing at the gleaming nigh sky? What are we hoping to find there?
The key is within our nature, there is more to the human soul than just structure and rules, we want more than a strong cage to keep us safe. The human soul needs to express itself; in the constant struggle to exert his free will and run wild, only to get lost in the horizon. Restless in the search for answers, always ‘hungry’ for adventure; something to reveal the forgotten secret, that lies stranded in the unknown, waiting optimistically for our rescue. The lost secret of “who we are,” because, we don’t know who we really are, we are what someone told us at best. out of desolation, we look for ourselves; Armed with courage and hope we embark on a journey to find ourselves. What are men looking for when they walk through the desert?
They are hoping to find themselves. Allowing the adventure to test them; “to confirm what they are” by examining their character. In a sick way, also testing the character of humankind itself and pushing to the far stretches of possibility. You see, for us life is… “is complicated.”
In 1596, a man with incredible bravery was born. A man who sought to doubt all his beliefs only to determine which beliefs were completely true, his name was René Descartes a French philosopher that would revolutionize the way rationalize. Today we know this concept as “Cartesian Doubt.” This is particularly important if one is in search of the truth.
I believe that only the desperate, are willing to go to such extents in search for the truth (it is not for the faint of heart) and to be completely honest, the more I know; the more appealing becomes the phrase “Ignorance is bliss.”
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who is pulling the strings from the shadows. There will always be someone doing it. Our only job is to decide which way makes us the happiest and most productive. In this world, no one is bound to any particular thing, we do possess the ability to cut the strings. Even if we like it or not is within our nature to seek freedom and run wild; where our happiness is hidden and most of the time it holds true.