Are We Really Free?

The following article might be a bit longer than usual, however I believe it is one we all should take the time to examine.  At the end whatever you choose to believe is up to you.  You have the right to exercise your “freedom”. 

All my life I have loved examining, analyzing; studying human behavior and its conditioning.  I have always been a person who is more interested in what is behind the curtain than what is in front of it.  I am more interested in what someone is made of rather than the packaging or exterior attitude.  I’ve always been fascinated by the “why” of things, which is why I am presenting this to you.  I am trying to get you to examine closely the world we live in; past the mirage which is sold to us.  I believe that in seeing past what people or circumstances show us, lies the solutions to our problems, as well as the truth.

When reading the following please understand whenever I use the word “morals” I am not referring to limited concepts based on any particular belief.  I emphasize this because we live in a world which confuses morality with ignorance.  A world that confuses moral behavior with external behavior is seldom not interested on the truth and has a false idea of right and wrong.   Morals are often confused with code of ethics or confuse with false ego.  Code of ethics refers to conduct placed by outside sources, whether work or religion.  A code of ethics can or cannot be moral.  The hard truth is that morality is clear cut about right and wrong and is rooted on behavior not on code of ethics.  A person could belong to any group and be immoral in their actions.  I hope I have explained myself properly in order for you to better understand the message I am trying to convey in this article; so let’s start….

If it was pleasurable to be incarcerated or to give up all of our freedoms, would many of us choose to be in jail willfully?  This question may seem a bit absurd at first, however according to Aldous Huxley the question is not only valid but quite “on the money”.

We live in a society designed to cater  to our most pleasurable needs; whether they are physical, mental, or material.  According to Huxley, more and more we are being programmed to live only for the moment (not to be confused with living in the moment). We are being treated as little kids often are; with a reward system in place.  The reward? momentary pleasure. As such we seem to be heading to a place where we no longer can identify if we are free or if we are choosing our own chains; we believe we are free but are we?…

Although Aldous Huxley wrote his books many years ago, his predictions as to what would become of society are proving to be quite accurate.  He described these times as a time of “delusional freedom” while in reality we live under a dictatorship.  Let’s take a close look at the roots of dictatorships …

The first thing we should examine is the fast growth of technology.  This should be reason for us to feel more content, however when technology is glorified as the highest of achievements which cannot or should not be questioned, there is something seriously wrong.  It’s objectives are the increase of productivity, efficiency, consumption and satisfaction; the latter as a secondary element. Under this precept one cannot or should not doubt technology.  This way of thinking has become so preeminent that technology prevails even over science.  Technology is considered “the path” and goal of humanity; the more variables are controlled, the more people believe all will be better. Technology; not only its usual versions but also its more gentle or subtle versions; are meant to control all variables previously mentioned.

There are no morals within the world of technology, there are no ethics, there is no philosophy.  These things cannot be quantified; pleasure on the other hand can.  There is nothing wrong with pleasure so long as it does NOT come at the expense of your mind, body and soul.

Pleasure can be quantified through consumption. In this aspect our modern society brainwashes us into the false belief that only bodily sensations are valid; they serve as a moral and ethical compasses for society.  Pleasure, fear and other sensations become the rulers of the masses, and who is in control behind the wheel of pleasure?… Technology.

Technology becomes an illness to society when the mind and soul of people are not taught and prepared for the technological developments.  This compounds itself, when you have an industry which is pretty much unrestricted, unlimited and always available to the consumer even when its detrimental.  Let’s not mince words, why would they regulate technology appropriately?…simple… MONEY.

Money has become the ultimate God at the expense of everything and everyone.  People are made to feel as if they are worthless and meaningless if they don’t try to keep up with the illusions they sell us of what it is to have the “ultimate life”.  People are left to think if they work harder, enslave themselves more, then they will get closer to the “dream”.  No wonder we have a large number or unsatisfied people (even if they have most of what they are told they are supposed have by the sick standard provided).

Despite being more open with the issue of sexuality and freedom of interaction romantically, our present society hides behind screens.  We are losing the ability to properly communicate, articulate; worst yet we are developing irrational expectations based on so much filter images going around.  It might also be shocking for you to know that our present generation; despite considering themselves liberated; practice less sex, arguing that it is more effective and less problematic to access forms of self-satisfaction where other human beings are not involved. 

Already a wide variety of products and others on the way of automated dolls are exploding on the market, as well as virtual boyfriend/girlfriends.  We seem to falsely believe we are liberated when the only thing that has transpired is we have been taken from one extreme (false modesty/false prudence) to the other  (basic animal state).  We don’t seem to realize whenever extremes are provided, we are headed towards mental collision and internal conflict.  Whenever a mind is presented with a contradiction, there is an error; however if we have not been taught to think for ourselves, to mentally mature,  we do not see the error.  We are more than happy to let others do the thinking for us because trying to figure things out ourselves can feel overwhelming, so it feels easier to give in. Trying to live in balance, embracing all aspects of our nature and the world in which we live in, can be quite challenging if you have been taught not to question the status quo. Our society, reputation, the opinion of others, the so called acceptance of others,  has become the ultimate goal rather than character and self development.

The above is one of the many examples of how technology does not solve everything but is more oriented to replace. Technology then has become not conducive to self evolution but to the replacement of our own brain. Let me give you a couple of examples more on how unrestricted use of technology can replace rather than innovate:  The printing press did not evolve the workplace; many who used to work on the industry simply got replaced.  Television did not evolve the press but is replacing it.  Technology without limits is replacing families as trainers, replacing humans as procreators, replacing the development of intelligence and mental maturity with ignorance and immaturity; it easily achieves this by providing a make believe world that seems to have no conflicts-on the other hand fear is instilled through the presenting and instigating of violence.   Pleasure and fear, that is the game.  Divide and conquer, a very careful game which most who are unprepared to take responsibility for where their lives are headed; don’t care to challenge.  

Let’s explore the second key exposed by Huxley; satisfaction and pleasure. These elements have neither morality, nor ethics, nor rationality. Satisfaction and pleasure can easily be confused with happiness or the belief that you are in control through the use or overuse of chemicals, antidepressants and other type of drugs which claim to provide an environment where no type of conflict is known. When it comes to facing pain, repulsion is experienced; however when it comes to facing false momentary pleasure, attraction is experienced. There are so many harmful and even lethal activities in which people get involved, all for the pursuit of false pleasure.

Let’s not forget systems of human exploitation are necessary for the existence of this pyramid of false ego and pleasure.  A system of consumption ends with the production of false pleasure for some while exploiting others.  Great philosophers already spoke about biopolitics; about the imposition of social norms on the body and other human aspects. A French philosopher and scientist spoke of fear and vigilance, where “normality” was the hammer by which an individual was kept a slave.  To be normal then has become something which is determined by the masses, with them taking their concepts from those who simply manipulate the system in order to get rich without any moral ethic in place.

In the course of history there has been very robust societies based on influencing fear on its citizens; what then of the societies which use “false immediate pleasure” as their tool of control?.

Neil Postman exhibited  in “amusing ourselves to death”  how everything becomes entertainment; politics, science, private life. When everything becomes entertainment, discourses and rational debates lose meaning and interest with the public. It does not matter if someone exposes a valid theory or a truth that must be examined or recognized.  People are more interested in the public life of that person than in what is being brought to the table and its validity.  This would not happen if people were more interested on seeking, searching, examining, modifying, growing, rather than in popularity and false acceptance.  Is not that “truth” is dead; people are not interested on finding the truth if it does not entertain them or if it challenges their own way of living.

Just as those who see themselves as 100% optimistic live in a childish world where they do not confront their own fears but like to pretend they are understanding and tolerant of everyone,  in a “happy world” people have been reduced to instruments of their own satisfaction.  These people are capable of enduring humiliating and unjust orders, not because they are forced but by their own choice; they see it as the optimal lesson/goal.  This produces a work force that is increasingly submissive, which could not do anything; or better said; they do not want to do anything to change the order of things.  Huxley mentioned how those whom the system considers inferior are provided with drugs and constant sex through the media (most tv programs have been designed to cater the IQ of a 6 year old!).  Prostitution, pornography, active and quick access to prescribed and non prescribed drugs are all part of the menu provided to the masses, in this way people are reduced to basic animals rather than human beings.

An immense majority will never be able to approach the apex of the pyramid; not if we continue to accept ignorance as bliss.  Most people believe by having a little bit of popularity, or a little money, one day they too will reach the top of the mountain; however the system is well designed to keep the ignorant down, no matter how popular or how much “little” money they may think they have.  The only valuable to surpass this has always been and will always be the proper education and self development of the mind and spirit, not through doctrine or extremes but through constant self introspection and the learning of various disciplines which have been stripped from the curriculum. 

Huxley did not err in predicting a society dependent on energetic stimulants, which are constantly used with the illusion of being able to approach the top of the pyramid.  This is how most people give up their humanity for a robotic state of being, only to be confronted by regrets when they have reached the age of senility and can no longer live life to the fullest.

Not even Huxley could have imagined such a diverse market; why provide only one or two stimulants when you can give many? Any discomfort which prevents us from continuing the pursuit of our illusionary desire to achieve the top of the pyramid has to be medicated.  Stimulants contribute to a delusional state where those who make use of them have no desire to fix the root of the problem; hell they don’t even have to admit there is a problem.

Statistically speaking every year people live better but the gap between rich and non-rich is getting bigger and bigger as is the consumption of stimulants. The current debate on the consumption of illegal psychotropic drugs, rests on the desire to legalize them The use of these are presented and handled as a matter of “freedom”.  The public debate does not focus on the increase in pressure and instability among its citizens.  What good can be expected from a society which finds itself in so much need of escaping its reality?…

“Control” or as Huxley called it “over organization“, when faced with poor administration results in the masses becoming uncontrollable, this threatens the system. Even small numbers are considered overpopulation. Huxley himself believed in controlling the population number.  The more centralization, population and individual differences, the greater the disorder; this produces more difficulty to achieve comfort, satisfaction and production.  As this happens more, order and control will be requested by those who rule and those who are ruled, otherwise they are exposed to an uncertainty and insecurity of unknown potential.  Above all they fear being exposed to dissatisfaction. Under these premises and under the guise of what is best for our well being, unrestrained technology and its so called benefits only gets stronger and has more control.

Although Huxley predicted the individual would disappear among the masses and would not have an independent voice, Osvald Spengler consider the same decades before.  Ironically the losing of self also happens through over individualism; where each person becomes a separate world that care for little else than to attain success at any cost.  When this happens the people’s  political power is clearly diminished (this is yet another great example of extremes).  The result of over individualization is that there are many “individuals” but they are individuals without an important political power, at the mercy of their contexts; which is why in such state they are forced to ask for help and special protection from the government or private organizations which usually means “playing the game”.  This is why is so important to properly understand the concept of balance.  We are to be our own individual without forgetting we are also connected; what happens arounds us has great impact on our lives in the same way what happens in our lives impacts no only our own bodies.  Huxley is not the first to come up with these ideas.

Currently the society of ” extreme individualism” is a reality, yet people still haven’t learned their true power.  The fragmentation of society and political hostility is evident. The color of skin, sexual orientation, body weight, even what one eats or wears; everything is politicized.  Meantime, the greatest powers have began to consolidate with respect to the control of different aspects of our reality.

Social media, search engines, have already started the process of enslavery with their attempt to control the information on internet and allowing a lot of misinformation.  All kinds of social movements of different political aspects talking about controlling the language; these are only the beginning of an endless list of points where control is being called and begged for.

Technology, NOT science, is seen as the solution to all our problems; most people seem to confuse the both as one.  Science  or as I like to call it “pure Science” is not the same as Technology.  In our ignorance we have confused one with the other.   The parts of science that study human, social, political and economic conditions are not usually part of the discourses with which political laws or products are imposed. Science is not synonymous with control, science is a method of study.  There is no scientific law, nor scientific principle that forces someone or determines the control of reality.  This whole matter of control is one of the consequences of unrestrained technology and uneducated individuals.  Science has no control over technology. The latter only needs to be “packaged” properly to impose itself.  In spite of its close relationship with science, technology does not have to answer to pretty much anyone, therefore it does not have to take ownership of the result of its productions.

It is not that technology is a force of destruction; the benefits are unparalleled. However, like anything else, being unable to question or analyze the subject would lack logic if we intend to use it appropriately.   

With the combined use of technologies there is no turning back, freedom can be abolished.  Although Huxley’s predictions were made long ago at a time where technology was less advanced, he argued the various ways in which the will of human beings could be dominated. Who could oppose something that could do you damage if it was “packaged” under the idea of ​​economic productivity, pleasure and satisfaction? Only ethical and moral arguments could question it, but how could these be heard in a society without ethic-moral determinations; where philosophy is suppressed from curriculum and political and social sciences are left in second place. Freedom is not quantifiable and has no direct relationship with any economic index; if it is, it does not seem to be of much concern to nations around the world.

Is humankind condemned to shut itself up in false pleasure to survive its blind tendency to control and productivity?…..What to do? …

Huxley raised scenarios of action where he focuses on ethical arguments. Do we stand and defend human dignity or do we go in search of the mystical philosopher’ stone?…The solution  he recommended is prudency and balance without falling victims to religious dogmas which focus on control or technological dogmas which do the same but mascaraed it under freedom.

Great minds have called us to reflection and self introspection. They call for the propagation of real self reflection.  One only has control over oneself; from there the ripple effect produces itself.  The subject should be discussed in academic fields and then in common fields.  Just like there have been countless groups and debates on freedom and other phenomena within society; public debate can and should be created on this subject, only then can we start to fix the mess we ourselves are creating or contributing to being implemented.

Personally I think more and more people should dive into the learning of various philosophies.  The ability to think outside the box and to think in a well rounded way is something we all posses; however it can only be used after its developed. It takes commitment, it takes practice, it takes a real desire to understand yourself and the world you live in; more importantly, it takes real desire to want to see yourself and our society live up to its real potential.   It is easier to let others to the thinking for us.  It is easier to let others handle life for us.  It is easier to avoid self development and pretend that by claiming a belief on something without doing the work you are saved!.  You are saved by your own actions; God ,the universe, or whatever you want to call it,  gives you the tools but you have to do the work!

Remember technology is a great tool but you’ve got to learn to use it wisely; in a balanced way.  You are not here to be its slave but its master!

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By Sofia Falcone

I passionately believe one person can make a difference. I write from my own experiences and interests. It is my greatest hope that by writing about my own challenges, victories, hopes and learnings, others may feel inspired to believe more in their inner power and to fully embrace themselves!

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