“On a planet that increasingly resembles one huge maximum security prison, the only intelligent choice is to plan a jailbreak.” ~ Robert Anton Wilson
The intelligent thing to do is to figure out what is a prison and what is not. Some seemingly free spaces are actually disguised prisons.
And once we’ve distinguished prisons from freedom, we must decide what we’re going to do about both. Here are three types of prisons and how we might “plan a jailbreak” should we discover ourselves to be unfree.
The Prison of the Mind
“Never, ever underestimate the degree to which people will scatter themselves into a deep fog in order to avoid seeing the basic realities of their own cages. The strongest lock on the prison is always avoidance, not force.” ~ Stefan Molyneux
The blockbuster movie The Matrix is a giant metaphor for mental slavery. The “machines” in the movie are the real-life equivalent of the corporate man-machine: the hyper-reality of overconsumption, of turning everything into a product, including people, to the extent that we are blinded to how reality is actually interconnected. The “agents” in the movie are the real-life equivalent of militarized police and mass surveillance overreach.
The blue pill in the movie is the real-life equivalent of being kissed with a lie: deception. The red pill in the movie is the real-life equivalent of being slapped with the truth: revelation.
The hero in the movie, Neo, is the real-life equivalent of anybody who is capable and courageous enough to transcend the unhealthy, unsustainable, untrue, and unjust system of mass plunder and turn the tables on power itself.
The question we need to ask ourselves is this: what can we learn from this metaphor. How can we use this powerful metaphor to leverage truth against deception, and to escape the bonds of mental slavery? The first step is acceptance. It is admitting that we have been bamboozled to the fullest extent.
It is embracing the reality that we have been conditioned and brainwashed into believing that the corporate man-machine is a just and moral system. It is neither. It is fundamentally unhealthy and unsustainable. Especially because it transforms people into machines that love money and use people, instead of human beings who use money and love people.
So once we’ve admitted that we’ve been duped, how do we escape it? We must consciously turn the tables on our own cognitive dissonance. We must intentionally question to the nth degree our hardwired worldview. We must deliberately recondition our preconditioning.
We typically dodge the horror of our imprisonment because it is too painful to admit we’ve been duped into being imprisoned. Indeed, one of the most difficult things a human being can do is admit they are wrong. But we can only be trapped in the prison we refuse to acknowledge. Realize the extent of your bamboozlement. To acknowledge the prison is to escape it.
The Prison of the Body
“There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by debt.” ~ John Adams
Sadly, the way of debt is working. We are a nation of debt slaves going through the motions of paying a debt that can never be paid! This is arguably the height of human insanity, and yet it’s being played out on a mass scale, with most people not even aware of how deeply they’ve been duped.
The entire planet is supposedly “in debt.” But who are we in debt to? Jupiter? No. We are in debt to the very thing that created the perpetual debt in the first place: Banks!
From fundamentally immoral interest rates to a tax system that taxes the poor into further poverty while allowing the rich corporations off the hook due to tax loopholes, the debt system is a prison of monumental proportions.
As the poor get poorer the rich get richer, and the power imbalance is leading to a system of absolute power, where power will inevitably corrupt absolutely. That is, unless we can escape the prison in solidarity.
But any sign the so-called “authorities” get that debt isn’t working (such as riots, protests, and civil disobedience) they are resorting to the sword. They use their blue-clad minions and green-clad sycophants as sheepdogs to herd the ignorant sheeple. They are locking people up for petty crimes and making a profit on top of it all.
Profit prisons is the icing on the shit cake of a conquered and enslaved nation, further fattening the pockets of the plutocrats while those in poverty meekly acquiesce out of fear of having their basic liberties stripped from them by a pseudo-authority that is not even held accountable for its actions.
We do have a choice though. But it’s a scary one. And it is this: create something new that trumps the conquer-control-destroy-repeat mindset that has plagued the human condition for a millennium. Invent new, healthier, more sustainable models for being a human being on this planet. Generate new laws that coincide with cosmic laws; that easily slough off the parochial laws of outdated traditions.
We escape this prison by being proactive and imaginative, despite our forefathers having been lazy and unimaginative. We escape this prison by co-creating a healthier, more sustainable system of human governance that uses eco-centric strategies despite our ego-centric species. We escape by doing as Buckminster Fuller suggested: “turn our weaponry into livingry.”
The Prison of the Soul
“Nonviolence does not mean meek submission to the will of the evil-doer. It means the pitting of one’s whole soul against the will of the tyrant. Working under this law of our being, it is possible for a single individual to defy the whole might of an unjust empire to save his honor, his spirituality, his soul and lay the foundation for that empire’s fall… or its regeneration.” ~ Gandhi
In Swallowing the Jagged Red Pill I wrote about the arduous process of escaping the cave, entering the cocoon, and emerging from the cocoon into the cosmic commune.
In Cracking the Cosmic Egg I wrote about achieving authentic spiritual power over religious pseudo-power. Both of these articles are important keys in unlocking the prison of the soul. But they’re not enough.
Escaping the prison of the soul requires constant self-overcoming, tantamount to Nietzschean proportions. But most of all it requires us getting uncomfortable. It requires a particular flavor of self-sacrifice that the vast majority of us are simply incapable of tolerating.
Like Bill Plotkin said, “The world was made to be free in: this we know in our bones, and this definitive and fearful knowledge is what both supports us and requires us to turn away from our secure but less-than-joyful lives.” And yet the vast majority of us cling to our secure but less-than-joyful lives, completely oblivious to the spiritual adventures to be had just outside of our comfort zone.
Here’s the thing: we all know we were born to be free. But we are also conditioned to be afraid by a victimizing culture. Freedom and Fear are in a constant battle inside every single one of us, every single day.
The vast majority of us have given into this fear. The vast majority of us are not strong enough to escape. Years and years of parochial propaganda and outdated conditioning have the vast majority of our species wallowing in its infancy.
We are scared shitless, immature, codependent, insecure babies who imagine we’re brave, mature, independent, invulnerable grownups, not even close to realizing that we have the potential to be courageous, authentic, interdependent, sincere heroes.
Like Jose Ortega y Gasset said, “There’s a strange combination of a sense of power and a sense of insecurity which has taken up its abode in the soul of modern man: he has all the talents except the talent to make use of them.”
So it comes down to this: will we take advantage of our talents, our mostly dormant soulcraft, and make use of them, or will we stagnate in an unhealthy, unsustainable, unfree, unimaginative, overtly decadent culture in decline?
Will we take up the mantle of the questioning, adaptable spirit warrior, or wallow in the misery of playing the dogmatic, bamboozled victim?
Will we transform ourselves into courageous New Heroes with the ability to self-overcome, or remain cowards with the propensity to give into the power of whatever counterfeit authority or snake-oil charlatan comes along?
Will we accept the discomfort that comes from being slapped with the truth, or dawdle in the comfort of being kissed with a lie? Will we wake up, or continue to sleep? Either way, it’s up to us. Like the Navajo proverb says, “You can’t wake a person who is pretending to be asleep.” You want to escape the prison of the soul? Stop pretending you’re asleep!
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