Let’s face it: I’m locked in the kennel a lot. Here’s the deal, tho: I like it a lot. I still feel free when I’m in the kennel. “But how can that be, dog?” you ask. It’s because freedom is a state of mind–a state of being–rather than a state of geography. Besides, I have my wingback chair, my doghouse, and my food & water in the kennel.
So, how are you locked up? And how do you feel about it? Are you free enough today to, say, light off some fireworks and send every dog in the neighborhood under the closest couch? Or, do you feel so locked in your mind that you just can’t enjoy the things you normally would?
Now, don’t get me wrong– I’m all for fewer fireworks– but if you do want to get a grip on freedom, then I should mention to you that if you’re feeling locked-up then there is one simple solution: Janis Joplin. She’s the human who only has one thing left to lose: Nothing. She has no physical possessions and her Bobby McGee slips away in Salinas, leaving her with nothing– nothing left to lose.
The case is, then, that freedom is not all it’s cracked up to be. Everything we have comes with a price. The only way to have nothing to lose is to lose it all. Then you will be free. If you can radically accept that reality, then you can know that everything you do have is not what gives you freedom.
Huh? Think of it this way (like a dog, not a human) — it’s not your rights that guarantee your freedom. My master has found out this harsh reality the hard way. It’s nothing that you have that guarantees freedom. Freedom is not possessed. It’s a force, like power. It’s another of the moving substrates that Foucault talks about, undergirding how we live in relation to each other.
Just think about freedom today. Ask whether it is something that you have, if it is bound to geography, if it is guaranteed by “rights.” Wonder what it would be like to lose everything. Ask if you would then be free. Just think about freedom today.
Oh, and listen to this: