Living Free In An Unfree World
“Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of truth.”
― Albert Einstein
As I write this article the world is still in the grip of a pandemic. It is obvious that we live in an era of statism, and the recent coronavirus has made this a dangerous time for anyone who values liberty.
With our society's singular focus on the threat of this virus, draconian statutes that limit our freedom are easily passed with little to no push back. A population consumed by fear will unwittingly hand over its freedoms for the comfort of perceived safety. If you look back to 9/11 the destruction of the twin towers marked the beginning of the surveillance state and with it a proverbial death stroke for many of our longtime civil liberties.
The crisis unfolding today has the potential to be far worse due to its global scale as governments across the world have reacted in a way that has revealed what many conspiracy theorists have long warned us about. We live in a world primed for tyranny. Just this year we have seen how quickly governments can restrict our movement, limit our social interactions, and close businesses arbitrarily. This is by definition totalitarianism.
The media tells us that this has all been done for our own good, but does our survival really depend on a totalitarian rule? If it does, when will we be allowed to return to a sense of normalcy? What happens when the next threat arises? What is the next invisible enemy that poses an existential threat to our way of life?
This time of totalitarianism is a wake-up call for those of us who value freedom. It is in times when our social freedoms are threatened that we realize we only really have one true form of freedom, psychological freedom.
Psychological freedom is a mental state that recognizes that even though our governments can limit our physical actions, they can never limit our capacity to think for ourselves and choose what is right and what is wrong. In a politically unfree world, psychological freedom does not mean breaking the law, psychological freedom is a commitment to ruling ourselves, to improve ourselves as individuals, and bring freedom to our lives and the world.
Freedom is not something you are given. To truly live in freedom we must first cultivate autonomy in ourselves. Autonomy is defined as “the right or condition of self-government.” Autonomy allows us to engage with the world on our own terms. This allows us to realize our potential as human beings. The ability to act and express yourself according to your own values, experience, and reason allows you to clearly define your sense of self. It is through this autonomous decision making that we learn to take full responsibility for the well being of ourselves and our society as a whole.
Putting our health, education, and freedom in the hands of others has brought us to where we are today. Your health is not your doctor's responsibility, your education is not the state's responsibility, and your freedom is not something given to you by your government. It is time we took responsibility for ourselves and putting our health first is the way we do that. Strength of body and mind is not only survival-promoting in a rapidly changing world but fundamentally necessary if we are to take part in what is our true purpose in life, self-actualization.
Self-actualization is the process of living our lives focused on becoming the best version of ourselves. This process is a difficult one today as we find ourselves awash in other people's thoughts through the news, social media, music, and television, our opportunity for cultivating and expressing our own autonomy diminishes.
Being a person that commits to becoming the best version of ourselves in an increasingly conformist society is the greatest task we can strive for. The pursuit of self-actualization imbues our lives with the meaning and purpose necessary for us to flourish as human beings.
The freedom of our world is a direct result of us liberating ourselves. Freedom can not be forced on us, nor can it be voted into existence. Freedom emerges at a societal level when enough of us recognize its value and structure our lives accordingly.
Only by breaking away from the current paradigm of mass consumption and moving towards a new model of conducting our lives with the goal of self-actualization will we truly create a life of freedom.
In this way, a truly creative society will emerge much in the same way order manifests in nature, not from the words and ideas of so-called political leaders but from the connection of individuals who pursue their own self-actualization.
We can not wait for the majority to recognize the value of health as a prerequisite to personal freedom. The emergence of a new order only requires a percentage of people for a tipping point to be reached. Our current system is controlled by only a few who profit off of the current paradigm with the majority of us too ignorant or lazy to critically analyze our personal value system and create our own world view. Following a system set in place is much easier than thinking deeply about what truly matters to you and then acting upon it. Have you ever sat down and thought about your values?
Make no mistake about it, we are at war. A war of ideologies. On one side you have the power-hungry statists that thrive off of the idea that state power is progress and that state solutions are the only solutions. This side has created the current paradigm we live in. A paradigm of conformity, sickness, and a life where the only purpose is consumption. Consumption of processed food, curated media, and other people’s idea of what’s right and wrong.
The other side of this war is being fought by those of us who truly value our health, individuality, and understand that only by maximizing our human potential will we ever live a life of purpose and freedom. By choosing which companies we support based on our shared values, celebrating differing opinions, and seeking a life of creativity over one of consumption.
The question I ask you is “Which side are you on”? If it isn’t clear to you now, that’s ok, you are the reason I write this article today. I challenge you to think about what’s important to you and write it down! What do you truly value? Money? Time? Family? Health? This definition of your own personal values is what will move you towards a life of personal development, radical responsibility, and self-actualization, leading to psychological freedom no one can ever take from you.