Man Was Born Free but He Is Everywhere In Chains

Man was born free but he is everywhere in chains

According to Jean-Jacques Rousseau[1]“Man was born free and he is everywhere in chains”. It is not a given to think that everyone wants to be free. Most people are willing to sacrifice freedom for security. In an economically free society, the primary role of government is to protect individuals and their property from aggression by others. Studies have shown that living in a country with high overall economic freedom is a relevant determinant of feeling in control of one’s own life. Therefore, economic freedom also influences individual happiness by giving people the decency of being able to earn a living, be prosperous, and the feeling of being more in control of their lives. However, it is a misconception to believe that everyone wants to be free.

Can you handle freedom?

It is not a given to think that everyone wants to be free. Most people are willing to sacrifice freedom for security. J.M. Buchanan[2] noticed that the majority of scientists, scholars, and academics have assumed that people want to be at liberty to make their own choices, to be free from coercion by others. This assumption has failed to emphasize the fact that liberty carries with it responsibility and it is evident that many people do not want to shoulder the final responsibility for their own actions.

Buchanan noticed that many persons are indeed afraid to be free. Relatively few persons are sufficiently strong as individuals, to take on the full range of liberties and their accompanying responsibilities, without seeking some substitute or replacement of the parental shelter they had when they were a child. Religion does serve this purpose. Organized communities constitute partial parental replacements for some. But more importantly, the State takes on this parental role by stepping in and relieving the individual of his responsibility as an independently choosing and acting adult. In exchange of course for this safety, the State reduces the liberty of the individual considerably and dictates every aspect of his life directly or indirectly. For some individuals, the order and certainty that the State provides may be well worth the sacrifice in liberty. Those persons want to be told what to do and when to do it; they seek order and security rather than insecurity and freedom, and order comes at a cost that they seem willing to pay.

Man was born free but he is everywhere in chains. But it doesn’t have to be this way

Man was born free and he is everywhere in chains. You can find freedom in an unfree world- Photo by UpKyak via

It is possible to find freedom in an unfree world and this is exactly what Harry Browne[3] wrote in his book “How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World,” it is natural for people to look for security, to look for something reliable and safe. The three forms of security that most people are seeking are: (i) financial security, (ii) intellectual security (the assurance that one is right in his belief), and (iii) emotional security (assurance that one will always be loved).

To be self-reliant is to recognize the fact that no one is as concerned about your future as you are, and no one knows as much about you as you do. People who are self-reliant know that the responsibility for anything concerning their life remains with them and they accept that responsibility. Harry Browne teaches us that a free person takes full responsibility for both the good and the bad in their life. If the market for their service should change, it isn’t a disaster as they are mentally prepared for this possibility and immediately look for something new while others sulk over their bad luck. If the product they sell goes out of fashion, they look for something else that is in demand. If the government raises taxes, they look for a way to legally avoid them. A free person recognizes their own sovereignty. They value their life above all and refuse to make others responsible for their future. Freedom is the opportunity to live your life as you want to live it. It is easy to think that you lack the opportunity to be free because someone has the power to enslave you. But those prison walls only exist because you have chosen to allow them to stand.

The secure individual knows that the future is uncertain but is vigilant. To be vigilant is to recognize that there will be constant change in the world. There will always be unknown factors that could affect your plans. The secure individual is always prepared for changes and surprises and is prepared to deal with them as they arise. Self-reliance means being honest with oneself, acknowledging mistakes as they become known, and not brushing them under the carpet and pretends they don’t exist. If you can accept your mistakes, you can correct them, pay for them (there is always a price to be paid), and learn from them.

Insecurity comes from vulnerability. The insecure person relies upon protectors, institutions, and people who (they hope) will guarantee the result for them; but intuitively they know that their interest can’t possibly be the paramount interest in someone else’s life and remain vulnerable. Vulnerable people often spend more energy trying to look for unreliable protectors than trying to improve their own self-reliance. Having security is always possible, but it can only come from the willingness to handle situations as they arise and having the knowledge and confidence to know that you can do so.

Intellectually insecure people will look for a philosophy that will confirm their moral correctness. They will look for a leader to compensate for their lack of confidence and will look for an enemy to justify whatever goes wrong. That individual refusal to take responsibility for their own actions will condemn them to the illusion of being free when in fact they are in shackles.

Man was born free and he is everywhere in chains. Relationships are like birds – Photo by Macrovechon via

Photo by Macrovechon via

The desire to be loved, to be understood and appreciated is universal. The problem is that most people believe that the only way to be loved, understood, and appreciated is by earning it. Most people seek perpetual love and understanding by getting married, by joining groups, or by having children. A challenging idea that Harry Browne puts forward is the idea that if you rely upon yourself, you know that you can find the type of person who will appreciate you. If you rely solely upon marriage, family, or groups, you know intuitively that you are vulnerable; you can be deserted at any time. You may find someone to marry, but that doesn’t mean that they will always love you or that they will always understand or appreciate you. When you get married, that person does not belong to you, matrimony does not equate to being in a ‘marital prison’.

“Relationships are like birds, if you hold tightly they die, if you hold loosely they fly, but if you hold with care, they remain with you forever!”

Unknown Author

Live and let live

Being free also means letting others be free. “Everyone’s freedom ends where the freedom of others begins.[4] Being free means freedom from the urge to control others. The idea is to be able to get to the point where you don’t feel that someone must act in a prescribed way towards you. You don’t have the responsibility to make people see what you see and to act the way you act. It is not your responsibility to convince others of the rightness of your idea. Your only responsibility concerning other people is how you deal with their actions that affect you and the choices you then make. People are free to be and to act the way they want; each person sees their own happiness in their own way. Some may be successful in their Quest, some may not. Your Quest is to understand that you are sovereign, to understand that you have choices, to live your life the way you want, to free yourself from self-imposed shackles, and to try not to fall into the traps and boxes that await you along the way.

For a more detailed analysis on this subject please refer to Chapter 7 of my book This Is Your Quest.”

[1] Jean-Jacques Rousseau (28 June 1712 – 2 July 1778 – Switzerland) –Philosopher, writer, and composer. Best known for his book “The Social Contract or Principle of Political Right” said to have influenced the French Revolution.[2] James McGill Buchanan (3 October 1919 – 9 January 2013 – USA). Economist. Best known for his work on “Public Choice Theory.”[3] Harry Browne (17 Jun 1933 – 1 March 2006 – USA). Author best-known for his book “How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World.”[4] 1789 Date of the French Revolution Declaration of Individual Rights of Man and Citizen

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on

The audio version of my book “This Is your Quest ” is available. Feel free to check it out and use this special Promotion code

Be Happy

Graduating From High School in the Time of Corona – A Parent’s Perspective

Challenges of parenting in the 21st century when your child is graduating from high school

2020 was the year of the Corona and also the year when my eldest daughter Maya was graduating from high school. The biggest challenge as a parent is that we have to guide and prepare our children to enter a world that is very different from the one we grew-up in. Yet, as a parent you still have the challenge of inspiring, supporting, guiding your children and prepare them for a world that is messy, uncertain and full of surprises and opportunities.

There is so much I want to say to her before she leaves the family nest. The world is complex. Things are not always what they seem. Learn to swim in the sea of information and sometimes dis-information. Don’t rush to judgment. Try to discern, connect the dots. Put things into perspective. So much to say, to keep it sweet and short I wrote her an open letter.

Maya Reed – Class of 2020 – A Memorable Year

Live and Let Live

Live fully and courageously,
Let live and understand Human Nature,
Know yourself and your true essence.

Wake up, dress up, show up,
And do the best you can every day,
Until You know better,
Then, when you know better,
Do better.

Treat your body as a Temple,
Attend to it every day,
Nurture it,
Worship it.

Know that early years can be full of tears,
But I know that you are built to face those fears,
And I will always be here to send you cheers.

Do you have what it takes?
A mind of your own,
And the ability to get in the zone.

I wish you clear vision,
So that you can make good decisions,
And not be paralyzed by indecision.

To have clear vision,
Can you master your intuition?
And use it as ammunition.

So, go and shine your unique and natural light,
As bright and as strong as you can,
Be phenomenal!
Be you.

©Joanne Reed

After graduating from high school, what do you want to be when you grow-up?

What do you want to be when you grow up is a difficult question and needs thinking about carefully. Being a doctor, a vet, an engineer, a lawyer, or a scientist are all great options after graduating from high school but what if I said you should consider all of those, but also being a writer? The writer of the story of your life.

People live the story they want to tell. Your life is your story, and your mission is to write the best story you can and have lots of adventures along the way. You are both on a journey to find your own purpose and unleash your full potential.

Becoming successful at what you do should be part of your long-term plans. But how do you define success? It is a fluid concept. Success means different thing to different people. But for me, success comprises three key things:

  1. Success is an Iceberg. When you look at successful people what you see is often only the surface; confidence, wealth, beauty, relationships, seniority. Often, what you don’t see is what took them there: persistence, failure, sacrifice, disappointment, hard work and dedication. Thomas Edison said: “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration,” don’t forget and don’t be afraid to perspire.
  2. Success is a garden. Everything starts with an idea. “Your mind is a garden, your thoughts are the seeds, you can grow flowers, or you can grow seeds.” Plant a seed in your mind and care for it, work steadily towards your goal and be strong enough not to let setbacks defeat you in the accomplishment of your purpose.
  3. Success is about overcoming adversity. No journey will ever be perfectly smooth or proceed exactly as planned. There will be ups and down and unexpected turns, you will encounter difficulties. What do you do when things get a little rough? Well, I suggest that you take advice from Maya Angelou.

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
– Maya Angelou

Story telling Time

Once upon a time, there was a Chinese farmer; the farmer was struggling to provide for his family. His hope and vision for a better future for his family was placed in a few bamboo seeds. He decided to dig hole after hole to plant the seeds then he began to take care of those seeds day after day by watering the seeds and fertilizing the ground.

The farmer decided to plant other crops around the bamboo in order to feed his family; but his real hope for prosperity remained with the bamboo. A whole year passes by … and nothing. Still the farmer continued to water the seeds and fertilize the ground every day. Another year goes by … and still nothing. His neighbors laugh at him, they mock his vision and his dreams. He begins to question himself, doubt creeps into his mind, will the bamboo ever grow?

Another year goes by … and still nothing. Three years of pouring water, energy and hope into his bamboo dream and he has nothing to show for it. One day he stands over the spot and cries in frustration. The barren ground seems to mock him yet the wind whispers hope into his ear so the farmer picks himself up and continues to water the seeds and fertilize the ground. Another year goes by … but still nothing.

Five Years have passed, and our farmer is tired. He is tired of hauling buckets of water and feeding the seeds. He is tired of seeing no results day after day. Despair rocks his soul and tears fill his eyes and he arrives home feeling defeated. But, the farmer’s darkest hour is just before his dawn as the next day, a miracle happens. The farmer sees green sprouts coming out of the ground; he cannot contain his joy and runs through the village to share the news with his family. In 6 weeks, the bamboo trees grow to 90 feet tall!

Bamboo forest -5 years in the making – Photo by @freepik via

The Moral of the story

If the farmer had stopped watering the seeds and fertilizing the ground during those 5 years, the bamboo would have died in the ground without seeing the light of day.

If you have a vision and a dream you need the discipline to take care of your dream day after day after day even if you don’t see the result straight away.

Ignore people that tell you it cannot be done.
Learned to push back on your own doubts and fears.
Learn to have faith when there is no reason to believe.
Good things take time. To face adversity you need patience, dedication, perseverance and courage.

Life Can Be a Struggle

The journey to achieve your dream will not be perfect. You will encounter setbacks, disappointment, hurdles, and hardship. In those moments, don’t despair but try to look for solutions to your problems and a clear path to follow. Being in a state of confusion adds unnecessary pain and suffering, but being in a state of clarity, brings hope, joy, and happiness.

Clarity, see things as they are, not how you want them to be – Photo by @freepik via

How do you find Clarity?

  1. The first thing is to know yourself. According to the Ancient Greeks, the source of all wisdom and clarity is to know yourself. You need to know where your strengths and weaknesses are so that you can exploit your strengths and improve on your weaknesses.
  2. The second thing is to understand human nature and why people do the things they do. Being able to make good decisions will require you to predict the future, accurately perceive your present situation and have insights into the mind of the people around you.
  3. The third thing is to practice the art of being still. You won’t know who you are if your mind is in constant state of agitation and occupied by mindless distractions. Moments of solitude allow you to be more tuned-in to your intuition. Stillness means to be steady while the world spins around you. Stillness can inspire new ideas, sharpen perspective and illuminate the mind.

If you do those 3 things you will find Clarity. Remember Your mind is like water. When it gets agitated, it becomes difficult to see. But if you allow it to settle, the answers will become clear.

What Makes a Great Story?

So, what you want to be when you grow up? If you want your life to be a magnificent story, you will need clarity because clarity will make your thoughts, your emotions and your actions congruent with each other. Good stories include fun, joy and laughter, but also some drama, tears and sorrow. People like stories where a superhero does wonderful deeds. Try to be your own hero, not by wearing a cape, jumping from building to building trying to save the world, but by becoming a better person everyday shining your own light into the world. So, my dear daughters, I wish you good luck and fortune on your journeys, and hope that you write the best stories that have ever been told.

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For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on

The audio version of my book “This Is your Quest ” is available. Feel free to check it out and use this special Promotion code