Can the human condition accurately be viewed as living in a prison?

Thanks for the question Joel. Well it certainly often feels — subjectively and collectively — like we are living in various prisons. For example:

1) The prison of our economic system, and our status within it (conspicuous consumption, wage and debt slavery, striving for affluence, “greed is good” acquisitiveness, etc.)

2) The prison of cultural expectations (getting married, procreating, achieving self-sufficiency, going to college, etc.)

3) The prison of conceptual dualism and its inevitable reductionism (left/right, moral/immoral, good/bad, ingroup/outgroup, etc.)

4) The prison of our investment in a particular worldview (i.e. ideological purity, exclusionary bias, a tendency toward tribalism, etc.)

5) The prison of our unconscious or unmanageable habitual behaviors (conditioned, impulsive, addictive, etc.)

6) The prison of our perception-cognition (i.e. the structural and conditioned limitations of our mind)

7) The prison of comfort (avoiding difficulty or confrontation, self-soothing behaviors, pleasure seeking, distraction, safe routines, etc.)

8-) The prison of our choices (i.e. the often unintended consequences of individual and collective investment)

There are more…many more…but we can feel trapped in a very real-seeming cage with regard to any of these methinks.

Often the best option people believe to be available is to learn how to acquiesce and integrate — to submit to these apparent cages and discover “freedom” in how they are navigated. Adolescents instinctively attempt to free themselves from these seeming impositions, but most often revert to a mimesis of their parent culture and the examples of their family of origin — they return to the river. It is a very rare exception that steps outside of the prison current, and most often these brave souls — the outliers by nature or choice — are ostracized, ignored, dismissed or neglected. And that is can be very painful existence for social critters like humans. An even rarer exception is the handful of outliers who demonstrate paths to some form of freedom — conscious interior will, cultural nonconformance, somatic reconditioning, psychosocial reprogramming, a new way of thinking, spiritual liberty — that inspires others to untether themselves.

My 2 cents.


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