Are Human Beings Free?
How can I be free? These questions can become a catch-22 because, in order to find out what freedom is and whether we are free or not, our mind has to be already free to investigate, free to look. Are we stuck in a mental groove, a bias, or a belief? Some people’s answer to the question of freedom has been to pursue “spiritual awakening”, in ways that made sense to them. What if the only revolution, the only awakening, starts when we abandon all beliefs and ideologies?
This video looks at the ways that we get conditioned by society, it explores what freedom means, and how intelligence places a part in this discovery.
We are always told what to think and what not to think. Books, teachers, parents, the society around us, all tell us what to think, but they never help us to find out how to think. To know what to think is comparatively easy, because from early childhood our minds are conditioned by words, phrases, established attitudes and prejudices. I don’t know if you’ve noticed how the minds of most older people are fixed; they are set like clay in a mold, and it’s very difficult to break through this mold. This molding of the mind is its conditioning.
The mind can never be free if it’s molded. It’s very difficult for such a mind to free itself from its conditioning and go beyond, because this conditioning is imposed upon it, not only by society, but by itself. You like your conditioning because you dare not go beyond.
As you grow, you’ll begin to see how various influences are beginning to mold you. Ultimately, if you don’t revolt against this process, you become like an automatic machine, functioning without creativity, without much original thought.
You listen to all this and what’s going to happen? You know very well what’s going to happen—unless you are in revolt, you’ll just be like the rest of the world because you dare not be otherwise. You will be so conditioned, so molded, that you will be afraid to strike out on your own. Your husband will control you, or your wife will control you, and society will tell you what you must do. So generation after generation, imitation goes on. There is no real initiative, there is no freedom, there is no happiness.
The world doesn’t want you to think, it doesn’t want you to be free to find out, because then you would be a dangerous citizen, you would not fit into the established pattern. A free human being can never feel that they belong to any particular country, class, or type of thinking. Freedom means freedom at every level, right through.
So while you are young, it is very important to be free, not only at the conscious level, but also deep inside. You must be watchful of yourself, more and more aware of the influences which seek to control or dominate you. Always question, investigate and be in revolt.
Freedom is not to be acquired. You cannot go out and buy freedom in the market. You cannot get it by reading a book. Freedom comes with intelligence.
But what is intelligence? Can there be intelligence when there is fear, or when the mind is conditioned? When your mind is prejudiced, or when you are very ambitious and want to climb the ladder of success… when you are concerned about yourself, when you follow or worship somebody, can there be intelligence? Surely intelligence comes when you understand and break away from all this stupidity.
So you have to set about it; and the first thing is to be aware that your mind is not free. You have to observe how your mind is bound by all these things, and then there is the beginning of intelligence, which brings freedom
You have to find the answer.
From the book Life Ahead
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