What’s In A Name: Freeslave
It occurred to me that I should briefly discuss the name of this blog.
There’s a 1960’s jazz album, “The Free Slave” by Roy Brooks. Its a rambling, soulful, freewheeling song, recorded live in Baltimore, MD. That name…
When considering what to call this thing, I felt into what was truest about myself and where I was when it began.
Freeslave recognizes my urge to be free in the context of a multi-tiered slave society. I’m still a slave in and to the culture – it still steals from my wallet as well as my soul; but I try on a daily basis to take back what this culture steals from us – 24/7. I resist in every way that I can, while by necessity living off of this carcass, living off of it until…
I want to free others while I free myself, want to be freed by those who are wiser and further along the path than me. I’ve been freed of certain thinking and certain behaviors that numbed me to this beastial way of life. But there is so much work to do, outside and in.
One of my favorite books is by Erich Fromm: Escape From Freedom. When I first saw it in the bookstore I was like, “Escape From Freedom?!” I was intrigued cuz I always thought people were trying to escape TO freedom.
Not so, according to Fromm. In fact, many if not most people don’t want to be free. They want to be slaves. They want to be shackled. They want to be bound, held down, oppressed.
Fromm examined Hitler’s Germany and discovered that, far from the people having the wool pulled over their eyes, Hitler appealed to the German people’s desperate need for security, safety – psychological security and safety. “Freedom creates anxiety” and that anxiety causes some people to choose authoritarian regimes/relationships in order to quell the anxiety, the uncertainty.
When I watch activists complain about Bush, yet hold the same ineffectual march over and over again, I suspect they are engaged in a coverup: surface resistance concealing their slavish obeidance to the system they cry about. They actually NEED the authoritarian regime to feel safe – after all, it is no threat to racism/white supremacy.
We all have the same dilemma: freedom with the giant void of external authority versus slavery and its concomitant security.
Even among the oppressed, it is easier to hold onto outdated, ill considered, wrongheaded views – easier to stay stuck on stupid – cuz the alternative is the discomfort of change. I struggle with this shit, too.
So, thefreeslave is an intention, a mental, spiritual and emotional goal. It’s what I am and can be.
I look forward to the day when I can drop the last part of the name.