The Desire to be Free

I was watching the TV series Lost (2004) and I was suddenly struck by something one of the show’s characters, John, had just said to a new mother whose baby wouldn’t stop crying. As he carefully wrapped the baby in his bindings, soothing her, John had this to say:

Babies like the feeling of being constricted. It’s not until we’re older that we develop a desire to be free.

John from the Lost TV series (2004)

To be honest with you, this explains a lot about many things.

  1. When we are born we crave a system, some form of order, constriction. Basically we want to belong, to obey. As we develop into young adults, we often rebel against the system, which is very clearly a continuation of the same one that birthed, fed, raised and nurtured us into the young rebels we’ve become. By the time we are adults, some of us embrace the system, becoming it, and we act as its supports. We are It. The Rest become anti-establishment free spirits, whose affinity with the system is minimal. Their allegiance is with the spirit of Freedom.
  2. I bet you never imagined it like this. Why do I make such a grave assumption? Because contrary to public opinion, I too am a part of the system. Oh, do not get me wrong. I crave to be Free, and unencumbered but what do I do about it? Almost nothing. Or nothing concrete to say the least. So, I too am part of the blasted system.
  3. And what does one’s belonging to the system tell you about one’s maturity? Everything, why of course. It tells you that most people never move beyond the crying and whining stage of infancy where it suffices to shout or cry to attract your parents’ attention and resources. Later on in life, their role is subtly or not so subtly taken over by the omnipresent State.
  4. So, in almost all respects, most of us are born wards of our parents, become wards of the State, and die as slaves, after having lived shackled first by our own limitations, then by our belief system, never realizing how similar our existence is to that of dogs or elephants.

You see, I can empirically provide you with an example that will strike home for many of you. It will show you that higher and lower mammals are so easily confounded and manipulated by their own mental limits. And it will blow your mind. That I promise you. Because the same principles apply to us humans.

You take a puppy dog. You put it in a room. He or she will try to get out and explore the house. You may or may not like that. But because your mom doesn’t want caca poopoo on their floor, you install a board that’s tall enough to block the puppy from getting out. So, the young dog is physically blocked in one room. They grow up. They are now a big dog. Their legs are longer than the board of wood you blocked the door threshold with. But do they raise their legs and step over the blockage? No. And why is that? I mean how come? You would do it, right. I mean, just because when you were a baby, you did not do certain things, that doesn’t mean you won’t do them now, when you are an adult, right?!

But the dog, God bless their soul, doesn’t know any better. They are frozen in time at the stage when they physically couldn’t escalate the barrier. And now, even though they could just walk all over it, they do not even try it. Because, in their mind, they cannot do so. It is impossible.

And the funny thing is that the same thing applies to other higher mammals. Baby elephants, for instance, captive baby elephants, they are attached to a pole stuck in the ground. And that is something that physically prevents them from returning to the jungle. Because the bamboo pole is large, strong, and immobile. And for all their potential power later in life, when elephants are young, they are smaller, and not so powerful or smart. Just like humans. Eventually they grow up, like all other animals. But does an adult elephant, born in captivity tied to a pole, attempt to take off with the pole in tow?! No, not really. How come?

A sickening image. Because dogs are cute and we should care for them and not abuse them. But in my mind, a chained dog is not the same with a chained elephant. Perhaps, the fault lies with me. But still I cannot stand the infamy of the latter. While the mental image of the former is something that I can tolerate.

Well, the explanation is painfully obvious. As with the dog, the adult elephant doesn’t understand that they are now larger, stronger, and more powerful than a piece of stick stuck in the ground. They could yank the bamboo out of the ground with a simple jerk requiring one percent of their total power. Do they do it? No. Again, mentally they are stuck in time at a point when they couldn’t budge the pole even if they tried to with all their might. Now that they are grown up, they don’t even try.

And that is, ladies and gentlemen, the morale of this story.

We all like to be constricted when we are born. Most of us never outgrow our original limitations, meaning our minds are stuck in the past. We basically behave like kids stuck in adult bodies. Some of us realize that maturity means independence from outside factors no longer applicable to our adult selves. And these people are the ones who achieve maturity of thought, and the freedom that comes with it.

But most of us never do. Now it is sickening to hold animals captive, especially wild animals that are meant to roam free. But how come people do not even realize how equally sickening it is to grow so mentally impaired that you cannot even fathom Freedom. It boggles the mind to realize that if real Freedom is said to only be attainable inside one’s mind, then the same can be said about Slavery.

Real Slavery is not the one manifested in chains, whips, or ships carrying unfortunates from one continent to another. No, real Slavery is the one blocking one’s Spirit from soaring away and achieving one’s full potential by spreading one’s wings and taking flight when the moment comes to exit the nest.

It is said that the first step towards solving a problem is recognizing it. Well, most people live oblivious to the fact they are Slaves of their own design. How can they ever become Free when they don’t even understand what It is?!

Freedom is in your hands. Freedom is your moral responsibility.

And that, my friends, is the morale of tonight’s story.

One thought on “The Desire to be Free

  1. I really like your topic. I just want to start with what John said and what I say as a mother.
    Let’s look at it this way perhaps:
    Babies are born to know good, a baby likes the feeling of warmth and love. When we get at the age of free will (4 years old ?) we instinctively desire good and sometimes choose not good.
    Excuse my english.
    Thank you for a nice topic.

    Liked by 1 person

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