Education in Freedom
I googled ‘freedom quotes’ and on Good Reads came on this quote from Jim Morrison:
“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.”
― Jim Morrison
This ‘personal revolution’ is what Epictetus was pointing to. The corruption process that Morrison is talking about is a comprehensive world-view shift. Just as Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil and were cast out of the Garden of Eden, we each follow the same arc, what we could think of as ‘original sin’.
The transformation is comprehensive in both directions. In falling from innocence, we put on an act or racket, we trade our authentic True Self for a role, we numb out from the moment, moving into the future in anxiety and into the past through guilt. Freedom is sourced in this moment. I can only be free now, and now, and now, for as long as I can stay present. While anxiety and guilt take us out of the moment, the experience of being present in the moment is an experience of wonder.
The route to an experience in this moment of freedom is being willing, and actually paying the price of surrendering the payoffs that the Groveler and the Shadow get from their respective rackets. Part of the contemplation Epictetus suggests is figuring out what those payoffs are.
January 5, 2017