Society's Chains Bind You Tight
Some reflections about individual freedom and the control of our societies for today's Daily Haiku.
The Daily Haiku for April 3. Society's chains bind you tight.
Inside the system,
society's chains bind you tight,
freedom just a dream.
Complete freedom is an elusive concept. I would go as far as to affirm that is absolutely impossible while we have to live in the context of a society.
Now, the irony is that individuals strive to break free from external control, but we are still be subject to internal constraints such as social norms, personal biases, rules and regulations of the countries we live in, and limitations of the human condition.
Nation-states grant protection in exchange for the freedom of the individual. It's been like that since the end of the middle ages, when we solidified our societies around countries while other entities and structures of control, such as the Church, started to lose their relevance. This monopoly of societal control reached its climax in the XX century.
That is the paradox. Most individuals want more freedom, but they still feel compelled to find security and protection in their tribe, their society, or their country.
Evidence suggests that societies have become more individualistic since the XXI century, particularly in Western countries. This trend is often attributed to the rise of neoliberalism, advances in technology and communication, and changing cultural values among other things.
The term "Individualistic" always has a negative connotation, but it is important to note that individualism is not an inherently positive or negative value. It simply means displacing the power balance more to the individual side, as opposed to the society or the group.
There needs to be a balance between our individual aspirations and building strong and solidary societies. Some days I wonder if that's possible at all.
Things are changing, if only because the world has become a smaller and more connected place. We are now able to travel, live, and world out of our home countries. We get to choose (albeit still in a limited form) about things we could only dream half a century ago. But there is still a long way to get more independence and recognition from our countries.
In my opinion, change must start from the mindset. We must start to see ourselves (individuals) as having the power to choose countries as we would choose phone provider or our favorite streaming platform. Only then countries will start to compete to attract customers (which is always good for the consumer) instead of trying to control the individual.