m.a.r.c. (CC BY-SA 2.0)"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free."
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
In 1865 the US formally "abolished slavery" with the ratification of the 13th Amendment. The text of the 13th reads as follows:
Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.That's seriously it. Just that. Basically a resigned, "Alright guys, party's over. No more slavin' for us". It even includes an "except", because hey, there are always exceptions.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
It is 2015. Slavery has only been explicitly 'outlawed' for the last 150 years. The historical momentum of slavery and the slave trade still informs the mentality of elites today because of its sheer ubiquity and depth as an economic system. Enslavement is a technique/technology wielded by institutions. Like any technique/technology, improvements and innovations outmode prior models and methods. When automobiles became prolific, horse-drawn carriages were banned from the roadway. This would not be called the "abolition of traffic".
Slavery upgraded from an overt system to a covert system. Plantations were replaced by 'plants' and factories. Captains of industry are captains of industry: slave owners were business leaders, moguls, empire-builders, who arranged systems of human employment designed to maintain and reinforce their positions as the elite. Obviously. A free and endless supply of laborers helps to maximize and centralize revenue. They "put people to work", they were "job creators". The overt system of African slave labor built the infrastructure of a more insidious and covert wage slavery system. When the 13th Amendment was ratified and slaveholders lost their ability under the law to "create jobs" and "put people to work" in the old way, they simply used the wealth they had amassed from exploiting slave labor to tweak the process and procedure of slave-taking into something more accommodating. A "soft slavery" was demanded and provided, economic enslavement not imposed by physical brutality and violence, not limited to one marginalized group of humans determined by the melanin lottery, not upheld by tenuous and illusory racial divisions, but an all-inclusive and surreptitious slavery, a slavery that masquerades with the affectations of free will.
A lot of us are told from childhood that we can do anything we want, be the person we want to be, as long as we set our minds to it. But that's not the reality, and our elders know it. With childlike clarity and keenness, we may even subconsciously recognize that the lesson, though designed to be encouraging, is dishonest. We see that they are unhappy about their contractually obligated investment of time, five days a week, to a gig that is for them personally unfulfilling and spiritually draining. Our work becomes uninspired because of the repetition and boredom. Tedium decays the physical brain until over time we begin to resemble the lobotomized automata that the elites' wet dreams consist of. People do what has to be done. Work is about survival. They may have gone out of their way to get an education, a certification of some kind that qualifies them to work in a particular field, ("work in a particular field" calls to mind some slave imagery, doesn't it?) and the work itself may even be enjoyable, but it is always performed at the expense of other things. The maintenance of relationships, creative endeavors, and free time most importantly. Time to do nothing, time to vegetate.
Call it Capitalism if you like. A rose by any other name still has the thorns. The label isn't as important as the recognition of the fact that the constraints of modern civilization are as inhibiting as chains were in the past, and worse, modern chains are invisible, buoyant. We're voluntarily tied to our electronic gadgetry and are as restricted by this technological addiction as slaves once were by lead weights. Mobile phones act as portable traps that capture and cage human consciousness: this is why they're called "cells". The endless stream of fast-paced bright lit banal content viewed on shiny plastics that break and fall apart with increasing rapidity is compensation for an existence committed to working toward another human's agenda, of a life pledged to the fruition and fulfillment of another human's dream.
Humans are primates. We aren't designed for doing the same thing in the same way day in and day out. Human beings are creative creatures. An organism designed to design. We're meant for the exploration of our external environment and our internal imaginative vistas. This rarely includes a timecard.
Lifespans are finite and the hourglass doesn't stop. Living requires spontaneity. Spontaneity requires the freedom that if you have a 9-5 gig and are a regular tax-filing citizen, you've been duped into thinking you've got. The first step towards building a future for humanity that recognizes and honors the individual as an end, and not a means to an end, is by acknowledging that we are still enslaved and still subjugated, not so much by the elites as by their systems; and systems, unlike humans, are bulletproof.
"The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion."
— Albert Camus
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