The Journey Inwards

Walking into the crowd was like sinking into a stew – you became an ingredient, you took on a certain flavour – Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin

Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul — Joyce Carol Oates

Women reading in art.

Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people – Carl Sagan

This world is but a canvas to our imagination – Henry David Thoreau

A journey inwards, down our own path.

Here’s some art that caught my eye on Twitter recently!

Freedom is a social construct. It does not exist in nature. It is an idea that is distinctly human. Birds who roam the skies are no more free than tigers who hunt their prey, no more free than cats who wander through alleyways or buzzing flies who invade our space. These creatures are not aware of the concept of freedom.

Every society defines the nature and limits of freedom. The ideology a state adopts will determine how freedom is expressed. In a capitalist society, it is said that all are free. We are free to consume and produce, to buy and sell. Capitalism makes us dependent on the economy, something we created and which every day is re-creating us, altering our nature. We live within this system, and it exercises significant power over the way we think and act, but we do not acknowledge its power. We shut out eyes to it because it benefits us to do so. We integrate ourselves within this system because we want to be perceived as functional members of society, as opposed to outcasts and radicals.

What has the capitalist ideology done to freedom? It has made freedom a strictly individual affair. We care more about our personal freedom and autonomy, rather than the freedom of all, which has been reduced to a matter of secondary importance. This system has made us more selfish and individualistic. Ayn Rand claimed selfishness was a virtue. Was she right?

Have we not, through the industrial revolution and modernization reached a point where our notion of community has been lost? Perhaps it still exists in the West, buried beneath the rubble somewhere. Our contemporary disillusionment in the face of politics demands that we attempt to unearth this idea of community. While we do this, we should also keep an eye out for freedom. Freedom may not exist, but no society can hope to thrive with creative and intelligent citizens if it did not believe in it. Freedom becomes weaved into the dream of a better society. But we should not be mistaken in believing that freedom can be attained in a complete and total manner. That is not possible. Utopic idealism of this sort is both unrealistic and dangerous. We must be realistic, but we must be hopeful too.

Looming in the distance was a light, hanging as if frozen. Its tantalizing golden hue seized him. Adjusting his sail and moving in that direction gave birth to undulating waves of anxiety whose roots he had yet to unearth. A fierce sea storm jostled his lonely vessel, testing his patience. From everywhere the wind came, disorienting him. A grey haze of clouds materialized in the sky, unleashing without warning an onslaught of raindrops. The forces of nature appeared to be waging a merciless crusade against him. If I do not belong in the light, where am I to go? He turned his ship around, back to where he came from.

And then he wakes up. It was a dream, only a dream.

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