What this article is and isn’t about
1. This article is not about governments, politics, censorship, wearing or not wearing a mask, nor is it about Covid, despite the fact that it may look like it is. All these things are beyond the scope of this article. If I keep referring to the Covid restrictions issue, it is merely as a pretext for discussing the real subject of this article, namely a certain erroneous, rather hypocritical concept of freedom which manifests itself in all sorts of situations and contexts, not just this one. If anything, this is an article on inner work and mirroring.
2. The concept I mentioned and the attitude that comes with it are most prevalent among Western societies. In any case, this is what I’ve noticed so far and I don’t have enough information on other types of societies. Consequently, the people I will be referring to are Westerners.
3. This article is also not a debate on the measures that have been taken against Covid by governments around the world, on whether they have been good or bad, inspired or uninspired, wise or unwise, abusive or non-abusive.
4. This has nothing do to with any particular public figure involved, in one way or another, with the Covid restrictions situation.
5. I am not advocating for condoning abuse or for blindly accepting any piece of bullshit governments might feed you, nor do I deny that in plenty situations that are related to the Covid restrictions issue governments have committed abuses against their citizens – I find it ridiculous that I even have to explain this, but then there are all kinds of people on social media (and not just on social media).
6. This article does not deny the very serious damage and suffering that some people have went through due to Covid restrictions and it doesn’t downplay it in any way. Also, the people whose conceptions I’m criticizing are not to be found among those who suffered great damage or abuse due to these restrictions.
7. Lastly, the point of view I present here is by no means absolute or exhaustive.
People are talking about freedom yet they can’t stay put for 10 minutes without checking their Facebook or Instagram. They’re talking about freedom yet they’re addicted to booze, cigarettes, drugs, shopping, porn, food, tarot readings, other people and so on. People are talking about freedom yet they cannot decide what to order at the restaurant. They’re talking about freedom yet they find themselves in unhappy or abusive relationships that they feel they can’t get out of, as if someone would hold them hostage – nothing is holding them hostage except for their own subconscious patterning. They’re talking about freedom yet they can’t say “no” to someone. They’re talking about freedom all the while they are staying with someone for the money, the material comfort or because they’re too afraid to be alone. Or they’re talking about freedom all the while they are an abuser themselves in their personal lives, either towards someone else, or their own persons (in reality, it always goes both ways) (1).
This is mere hypocrisy, if not plain stupidity. If anything, these people are afraid of freedom and they cannot handle it in the state they are in. Judging solely by their behaviour and how their lives look like, they’re not searching for freedom, but for bondage (Erich Fromm explains this in detail in his seminal work “Escape from freedom,” which I highly recommend). Sadhguru once said something along the lines of “Give people the freedom they claim and they’ll go insane.” Gurdjieff offers another radical point of view (the healthy type): in their current state, “man cannot do.”
You don’t know who the hell you are, what the hell you want, what the hell you think, yet you keep shouting “Freedom.” Ah, give me a break. Go and do some work on yourself first.
In short, it is ridiculous to see one who is enslaved by all kinds of situations in his personal life and by all kinds of addictions and subconscious patterns to go out in the street and shout “Freedom!” I cannot take such a person seriously.
You’re indignant about restrictions (and most probably rightly so), but why aren’t you at least equally indignant about being a slave to your addictions or subconscious patterns?
People are always looking for a scapegoat, someone to blame for their unhappiness and basically for everything that goes wrong in their lives. They’re always looking for something to complain about. And nowadays Covid and the government are the most immediately available in this respect. But if they weren’t complaining about this, they would’ve complained about something else – same pattern, different outlets.
Does this all mean the current situation and the way governments handle it give one no justified reasons to feel angry, upset or indignant? Does this all mean there are no fair critiques that can be brought in this regard? It certainly doesn’t. But it’s all a matter of how these issues are approached, how anger/outrage etc. are expressed and channeled, how obsessed or not obsessed one is with these issues, how much these issues trigger them and in what way – to put it shortly, with what kind of energy one approaches the situation and how lucidly they can look at it.
The problem is quite a large number of the people who have been protesting about restrictions during the last few months act like idiots: they have no idea what freedom really is about and their lives are perfect illustrations of their confusion. The reality is that a lot of these people have never really dealt with a situation where they had strong reasons (strictly objectively speaking) to feel imprisoned (the peak point of their martyrdom was that they had to wear a mask), yet they use the word “prison.” I’m not saying that there aren’t people who suffered immensely because of Covid restrictions (people who lost their jobs or people with other illnesses whose state of health aggravated or they died because they didn’t have access to medical care), but these are not the people I’m referring to here.
The problem lies not with the protest itself, but with the erroneous and misplaced arguments. Or, more precisely, it’s not even the arguments that are the problem – it’s the attitude. One who is asking for freedom in an idiotic manner and has an idiotic conception of freedom cannot be free. And not necessarily because the government wouldn’t grant them their freedom, but because they themselves enslave themselves through their own idiocy. Freedom is, first of all, a matter of attitude, a state of mind, dignity. Demanding freedom with the attitude of a beggar, a spoiled brat or an idiot is a contradiction in itself (I must have used the word “idiot” 1000 times already – I clearly want to make a point, haha). And once again, this is not about the government – for god’s sake, I’m not debating here whether or not a government should grant freedom (“freedom”) to such people or not. This has nothing to do with politics, but with the laws of the universe, with cause and effect, inner dynamics, mirroring and so on.
To further clarify:
Does all this mean wearing a mask or not travelling are the right things to do? Not necessarily. And it doesn’t mean that these things can’t be debated as long as the arguments are real, founded arguments.
Does all this mean you accept everything a government tells you or imposes on you? Again: absolutely not. One should be alert that civil rights are being respected. One should be alert to any form of abuse (social or personal, for that matter), censorship, or violation of freedom – after all, if some totalitarian leaders have managed to rise to power, this is also due to the fact that the citizens of those societies turned a blind eye to the red flags.
Does all this mean that, for instance, in the event a totalitarian ruler wants to take over the country you don’t do anything, you don’t go out and protest because you still like to get drunk? Or that if you find out about some abuse you turn a blind eye because you eat too many sweets? Once again, it most certainly doesn’t. Of course there is priority order at a given moment, of course sometimes urgent action is needed and of course every situation is unique. It’s all a matter of how you approach it, with what kind of attitude, with what kind of understanding. It’s a matter of discernment, even if this is not a guarantee that mistakes won’t be made – they’re part of the equation.
Finally, does all this mean that it’s wrong to protest against Covid restrictions? Yet again, it surely doesn’t. But using words like “freedom” and “prison” in this context is stupid, if not abusive: you’re only showing that you don’t understand what freedom truly entails, that you’re not very good with language either and you’re insulting and downplaying other people’s suffering.
There are people who have been through unimaginable hardship and abuses and never thought of saying their life was a prison. Everyday, Covid or no-Covid, there are people who don’t have water or electricity, who have to walk for tens of miles to the nearest school or to the nearest hospital – what should they say about their situation? If life during Covid restrictions feels like a prison, how must the lives of those people feel like? And as long as there have been people who were tortured or killed in communist prions, for instance, one should be very very careful about using the same word (“prison”) when it comes to other situations. If anything, it’s an insult to those people’s suffering.
Covid or no-Covid, every day and every second unimaginable tragedies and atrocities are talking place all over the world. They were talking place before Covid too, but, then, when everything was nice and dandy, not many seemed to care much. “Can we meet and gossip whenever we please? Can we go to restaurants and parties whenever we please? Can we go on holidays whenever we please? Can we go wherever we want without having to wear a mask? Good, then it’s all good and it matters less that in the meantime there are massacres and abuses talking place in the Middle East or in Africa (to name but a few).” In fact, one didn’t even have to look that far: in their own country, in their own neighborhood maybe, a child was being sexually abused. How about these things? They’ve been going on for far longer than Covid restrictions but most people don’t seem to find them as urgent. Yeah, so much for humanitarianism and civic duty.
Most people aren’t willing to accept the fact that external reality works as a mirror to their inner state (2).
For instance, people are indignant that politicians are lying to them, and they have every right to feel that way. But the thing is they might do the same thing in their own personal lives: they might be lying to their wife, husband, friends, or to themselves. And if they are lying in their personal life, what guarantee is there that, in the event that they would rise to power, they wouldn’t to the same thing with their citizens, just as the politicians that they criticize do?
People are criticizing politicians for being hypocrites yet they, in turn, talk behind other people’s backs. People are criticizing politicians for moving from one party to another yet they’re jumping from relationship to relationship. People are criticizing politicians for being abusive yet they, in turn, are abusive to their partners, to their friends, to their employees, or to themselves. This is not to say that politicians aren’t to be criticized (they are), but this doesn’t absolve one of the work they need to do on themselves, nor it is a reason to blame only the state or the government for one’s misery.
As long as people won’t understand that it all starts with them and their inner work, nothing fundamental will change in the external world and situations like these will continue – it’s as simple as that. Wars will continue, abuses will continue, people will continue to shout “Freedom!” and search for the next scapegoat, and this mindless cycle will go on and on.
(1) How many times have you heard about this? Men and women who refuse commitment on the ground that “They want freedom” or “They don’t like to be pressured,” all the while they are addicted to booze, drugs, cigarettes, porn and so on, or cheating on their partner. Like, what kind of freedom is that? This is not to say that there aren’t clingy, needy people out there. This is also not to say that there aren’t people who are sincerely not interested in commitment. But others actually do want commitment yet their own wounds and subconscious blocks prevent them from having it. And instead of acknowledging that, they rationalize it and claim they want freedom, when in fact their such called ‘freedom’ is actually fear – their such called ‘freedom’ is precisely what keeps them from being free i.e. having what they desire.
(2) Some relevant excerpts from Approaching the unconscious by Jung (in Man and His Symbols):
“A man likes to believe that he is the master of his soul. But as long as he is unable to control his moods and emotions, or to be conscious of the myriad secret ways in which unconscious factors insinuate themselves into his arrangements and decisions, he is certainly not his own master. These unconscious factors owe their existence to the autonomy of the archetypes. Modern man protects himself against seeing his own split state by a system of compartments. Certain areas of outer life and of his own behavior are kept, as it were, in separate drawers and are never confronted with one another.”
“If, for a moment, we regard mankind as one individual, we see that the human race is like a person carried away by unconscious powers; and the human race also likes to keep certain problems tucked away in separate drawers. But this is why we should give a great deal of consideration to what we are doing, for mankind is now threatened by self-created and deadly dangers that are growing beyond our control. Our world is, so to speak, dissociated like a neurotic, with the Iron Curtain marking the symbolic line of division [Man and His Symbols was first published in 1964]. Western man, becoming aware of the aggressive will to power of the East, sees himself forced to take extraordinary measures of defense, at the same time as he prides himself on his virtue and good intentions.”
“What he fails to see is that it is his own vices, which he has covered up by good international manners, that are thrown back in his face by the communist world, shamelessly and methodically. What the West has tolerated, but secretly and with a slight sense of shame (the diplomatic lie, systematic deception, veiled threats), comes back into the open and in full measure from the East and ties us up in neurotic knots. It is the face of his own evil shadow that grins at Western man from the other side of the Iron Curtain.”