Every single day of my life I look around at the world we live in and I feel indignation and disappointment. Indignation because I see the plight of the common person and how the cards are stacked against them. If you’re not born into wealth, chances are you’ll never taste true independence, financially or otherwise. (Not that it can’t be done, but it’s very uncommon.) The hard truth is, most of us don’t deserve any better than what we have. That’s where the disappointment comes in. We don’t educate ourselves to the cons that are perpetrated against us every day. We want to believe that the world is essentially good, that evil forces don’t exist, and if they do, that they’re not that evil. (I don’t mean evil in a religious sense; what I mean is selfish, corrupt, without conscience … willing to do whatever it takes to achieve certain goals, no matter who it hurts in the process.)
In reality, there are ruthless, evil people in the world—many of them. They’ll kill you, control you, manipulate you, and use you without a second thought. This, then, needs to become one of the foundational truths with which your life is based upon. Without it, you will forever misunderstand the world you live in.
You must also understand this: not only are there ruthless people in the world, some of them are extremely intelligent. These are the ones who really run the world. Bankers, corporate owners, politicians—they’re all playing a game that you’re not privy to. Many of them have philosophies based primarily on what they believe to be their superiority over us, justifying, in their minds, why people like you and me need them, that we couldn’t have gotten this far without them, and that we need to be directed like sheep for our own good or we’ll never survive. They are masters of psychology and will tap into your most basic fears and desires to manipulate you into doing what They want you to do.
What’s sad is that so many of us play right into their hands. In our laziness and complacency most of us never bother to explore this world we live in, and fail to wake up to the world as it really is. We live in make believe dream worlds, seeing what we want to see and not what actually is.
Perhaps for most of us it’s just too painful to open our eyes. Deep down we know that evil forces exist, but we don’t have the courage or feel powerless to do anything about it, so we live in denial.
What it comes down to is that the majority of mankind never asks themselves the tough questions in life. They accept what they’re told, never thinking about much of anything for themselves. They fail to develop the most powerful tool at their disposal—their mind.
This is the first thing that separates Them and Us—they have awakened their minds. They study themselves and the world around them. They exercise their minds and try to understand how nature and the world around them work. But most importantly, they understand how we as human beings work—what makes us tick. They become successful because they work hard, develop their minds, and bank on you not developing yours. And guess what—it’s working out pretty well for them, isn’t it? And it will forever; it won’t change unless we change.
So the question is, how much of your mind do you want to give Them? That’s important to understand … They’re not taking it, we’re giving it! Every day we have a choice—will we be free, or will we be what They want us to be? They’ve worked hard at making you who They want you to be—probably much harder than you’ve worked at becoming who you want to be; obviously, that needs to change. We must understand who we are and who we want to become; that’s the basic formula—knowledge and will.
Knowledge is the key to everything. The best way to arrive at knowledge is through a process of questioning the people, ideas, and world around you, comparing any (or all) available data, eliminating any useless or untrue information, and ultimately (if possible) gaining first-hand experience of a subject. Will power is needed to seek knowledge in the first place and to implement any useful knowledge once it is attained. The best use of knowledge is to use it to help understand the nature of a thing (whatever object you decide upon) and to then use this knowledge to free yourself from anything that impedes your will. (This works equally for both noble and sinister objectives.) The level of freedom an individual attains correlates directly with the amount of will exerted and knowledge grasped, which then correlates with a person’s overall happiness in life. The more free a person is, the happier they tend to be.
So as you can see, knowledge is the first step towards freedom. If freedom is the goal, one of the most important questions we can ask ourselves is, “What forces exist that keep us from being as free as we can be?” The answer to this question falls into one of two categories: internal and external forces. Internal forces are your fears, desires, pride, envy, ego, attitudes, etc. External forces would be the people, (friends, family, associates, government, strangers…) or circumstances in your life.
All internal forces related to emotion or thought are connected to the mind, the most powerful tool at your disposal. Like any tool, it must be used to serve its purpose. When used to the height of its abilities, it becomes sharp as a razor. It’s only when the mind is strong that it can be used to control emotion and will, and thus achieve its goals with any kind of consistency. When it is weak, it only tends to create turmoil. Before a person can even dream of freedom, they must have a strong mind and an iron will. In fact, these must be indomitable. You must have a clear vision of yourself and the people and world around you—not as you want them to be, but as they are.
Excerpted from Them and Us: A Philosophy of Freedom by Adam Soto