Escape from Freedom, into the comfort of the brave new world

Paideia, Step 1:

The decision to be free is continuous, and there is no end point. Moreover, the process of continuously deciding to be free and to grow seems always to cause an equal and opposite reaction. The need to belong, to submerge one’s identity into something larger and safer, is equally as strong as the need to be free.

To forge an identity independent of any grouping can be unbearable. Remember the guy in the Matrix who said, “Neo, did you ever ask yourself, why didn’t I take the blue pill?”? The comfort and security of the Matrix, however illusory, must surely be better than the harsh reality outside the matrix.

About 45 years ago I read a book called Escape from Freedom, which came back to mind as I have been thinking about this topic. It chillingly explains EVERYTHING. Through the magic of Kindle I started rereading it and found the maps of the social psychology of OUR time:

Modern man, freed from the bonds of pre-individualistic society, which simultaneously gave him security and limited him, has not gained from it in the positive sense of the realization of his individual self; that is, the expression of his intellectual, emotional, and sensuous potentialities. Freedom, though it has brought him independence and rationality, has made him isolated and thereby anxious and powerless. This isolation is unbearable and the alternatives he is confronted with are either to escape from the burden of his freedom into new dependencies and submission, or to advance to the full realization of positive freedom which is based on the uniqueness and individuality of man. (Erich Fromm,Escape from Freedom)

Red pill, blue pill. Which will you choose? It is interesting as I read more and more about the corporate cartels that run the world economy and the national governments, I keep coming across the phrase “neofeudalism”. Fromm, in his analysis, was referring to the old feudalism when he was discussing the cultural matrix from which our modern concept of the individual emerged. Now, it seems, we are are being eased into a brave new feudalism in which the individual goes back to sleep even as he is being given his function and his entertainment. Blue pill, corporate feudal lords. Hillary their shill.

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