The Illusion of Autonomy

Why are we so quick to enslave ourselves? We say we desire freedom and independence. Yet the moment we encounter something that catches our fancy, we eagerly hand it the power to dictate our thoughts. We sacrifice our productivity to it, letting it carry our minds wherever it pleases. We bind ourselves to its rules of association; we bend to its every possible demand for fear of losing it. We sell ourselves to be its mercenaries and swear our allegiance to it in the presence of any who will listen. We effectively yoke ourselves to this object which, whether or not we acknowledge it, is our god.

Freedom does not exist in a vacuum. It is always to some end — freedom of speech, freedom to pursue happiness, freedom of religion or the lack thereof. Chasing these freedoms means subservience to them. We are binding ourselves even as we proclaim the name of freedom. We are, in essence, trading one master for another.

Why do we shackle ourselves? Perhaps we know that we must be subject to something. How, indeed, can one live without being a subject? It is impossible. We are slaves to what we need, admire and pursue. And we all have something. That is what controls us.

What are you a slave to?


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