Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Post-Covid philosophy: The illusion of Freedom. (And why you are addicted to it)

In the face of the Covid pandemic (coronavirus) many countries imposed nation-wide lockdowns. We are now at the phase of easing those lockdowns. Businesses start operating gradually again and life is beginning to regain its momentum.

During one of the previous days and as part of this 'going back to normal' phase we are all in, I visited an electronics shop. I needed something to buy and I had postponed it a long time now. While I was walking in the store I suddenly discovered many other nice things I could use and I was immediately tempted at buying them. It was only after careful recollection and - I must admit - due to my degraded consuming reflexes because of the two-months quarantine, that I decided at the end not to buy them.

I returned home only with what I wanted. And it felt weird. I really felt like a junkie who had just denied himself the most exquisite of drugs just because - for a funny weird reason - he just did not want them?!

What had happened to me?
Why did I change like that?


As in all great questions, the question itself was wrong!

I should better be asking...
What had been happening to me all this time before?

Because you see...
I was already changed!

And as weird as it seems, that big change, the coronavirus pandemic, the lockdowns and the overall slowing down of life itself, had simply led me (and many others, as I understand) back at what we once used to be.

Just wander for yourself.

Did you always drink coffee in the morning? Were you always addicted to cell phones? Did you always need to login into dozens of sites to read news? Were you always addicted to buying things just because you have money to do so?

Our life is not our own.
And yet, we claimed ownership a long time ago.
Trying to impose our self on us.

The greatest illusion of them all - the greatest conspiracy in which we all abide, is the illusion that we are free men. Free to do as we want. Free to buy or not buy things. Free to sell things. Free to find a job, free to quit a job.

But we are not.

We do buy coffee every morning. Not because we want it, but because we have learned to do so. We do buy more and more things every day. Not because we will die if we don't, but because we have been trained to do so. We sell things when we wish so. But only because of wishes that have been imposed on us by others. We are "free" to get a job. But only the jobs we have been told that are the ones worth it.

Many people have wrongly attributed the lockdowns to a global conspiracy to keep us at home. But this is the opposite of the greatest conspiracy unfolding before our very eyes: The conspiracy to be out and wander free, doing whatever you want.

Because feeling free is the greatest drug of them all. And when you take it, you never think that you might be not. The freedom is not what you really need. The illusion of grandeur that you feel is your true drug.

But remember Zen.
Seek less, to have more...

Staying at home.
Not buying things.
Being with family.

Those things that seem like 'nothing'.
Are the ones which are everything.

These are the things that we used to do back in the days when we did not know that we could do "whatever we want". And inside our "prison" we did feel happy. With no obligation to do things we did not want or to buy useless things that just make the void in our soul bigger. For while a "free" man can buy a coffee he doesn't need and then come out of an electronics shop with two bags of things he "wants", a a man in prison can dwell on the outer skirts of the universe by reading a book...

Now we will start going out again.
The "prison" doors are open.
But don't be so happy being miserable.

Just ask the obvious...

- Sir, would that be a single or double espresso?

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