Slavery Equals Death
And accordingly, Liberty Equals Life.
Our will is what defines us as living. It’s what makes us critically different from dead inanimate objects, e.g. a rock has no will of it’s own. To the extent that you take away or restrict a person’s will and expression of self, you’re killing that person. I’ve been talking about slavery in very cold and hard terms, and if I communicated my views well, then you probably find it rather depressing. Well I don’t mean to be. Unfortunately, there’s just no delicate way to tell someone a hard truth like that. Fortunately, knowledge is power and you have to know the truth before you can deal with it.
The gay rights movement was onto something with the slogan “Silence Equals Death”. To be threatened with punishment for fully living your life as your innate will would have you live it is akin to being suffocated. Perhaps that sense of suffocation is simply more overt amongst gay and lesbian people by virtue of having a non-typical internal will more at odds with societal standards. In that sense, it can be seen as a gift, in the same way that sensitivity to pain was likely a beneficial mutation for some of the earliest creatures to evolve nervous systems for reacting to dangers in their environment. It’s why the coming out process is such a relief and so empowering. It’s like being alive and gulping in deep breaths after feeling suffocated.
Most of us have become accustomed to that suffocation. At first thought, that might seem as if it should to make life easier, but I don’t believe it does. Instead it leaves this vague sense of stress and hopelessness, the source of which largely eludes us. Consider all the self-help books out there. To the extent that any of them are actually helpful, I would attribute that to the process of self-exploration that they encourage, and perhaps to whatever extent they encourage the readers to discover and listen to their true selves. On the other hand, I wouldn’t have high expectations of any self-help program that made the solution sound easy. We are, in fact, surrounded by threats of punishment for failing to conform to certain expectations. It takes a lot of courage to defy those external commands and listen to our own will.
We are all individuals with very different needs and desires. What one person needs to achieve fulfillment is likely not completely the same for any other person in the world. And yet there is this artificial collectivism, this societal role imposed on us. Go to school. Get good grades. Date someone of the opposite sex. Go to a good college. Get a career. Get married. Contribute to your 401k. Have a 5 year plan, a 10 year plan, and a 20 year plan for whatever career you’ve found yourself in. Get a 30 year loan on a home and hopefully have it paid off by retirement. Retire. Make sure you’ve found God and then die… in bed.
The average person, and by that I mean almost everyone, is spending most of his life jumping through hoops, sublimating himself to external pressures that have nothing to do with his true self and true motivations. Authoritarian governments are the primary culprits, but not the only ones. Did you make friends of people whom circumstances simply placed you amongst? Do you live where you live because it’s close to the job that circumstances presented to you or because it’s close to home? Do you call something home simply because it’s where you were raised?
We are meant to be willful creatures; not lifeless automatons that simply react to stimuli in our environments. Our complex mind and the associated will evolved over millions of years and has a purpose crucial to our survival. Love and nurture your will. Try to discover what you really want and take affirmative action to make it happen. It’s not easy and don’t pretend it will be. We’ve been conditioned all our lives to largely ignore our own will and respond to various external stimuli. There are a myriad of external forces working to mold your will into something unnatural and unhealthy; something very much not the real you.
Defy those forces. Disobey. Take action. Express yourself honestly. You may be overwhelmed at how alive you can feel.