Choose your cage

What is freedom? Is it wealth? Is it autonomy—the ability to decide exactly how time, energy and attention are distribution? Is it a type of influence over your self or your environment? Is it the the fulfilment of all basic needs and the absence of all externally imposed obligations? All of the above? None? A mixture?

Whatever we think “freedom” is, we tend to think that power can purchase it. We think that by earning more money, by accumulating more competence, by gaining more autonomy over our most precious resources, by climbing the ladder in our chosen hierarchies, by becoming and getting more, that we can attain freedom. It doesn’t work.

Power is alluring. It promises freedom, but results in slavery. I don’t know many powerful people, but I know many who are non-powerful, and they are free. Not in the sense that they live outside of a cage. No, more like they have free choice of the cage(s) they inhabit. It strikes me that the powerful don’t have such a choice. Their very status, the thing they spent so long warring over and for, limits their choice.