“Stone walls do not a prison make
nor iron bars a cage”
~ (To Althea, from prison, Richard Lovelace 1618-58)
We love our freedom. All of us – we love knowing that we have freedom of speech, freedom of choice, freedom of movement… basically, freedom of life. And why shouldn’t we? Being free to do what we please is surely a fantastic feeling. No one likes being dictated to, or feeling like they’re under someone’s control (unless that’s what they’re into, but that’s a discussion for another day).
When I sat down to write this little piece, I was stoked to be talking about how unrestricted we are and how we should liberate ourselves and how wonderful it is to be free. But the more I think about it, the more I realize what a paradox our freedom is. We’re never truly free until we stop trying to be free. And that is so alien to our very natures! We are always trying to define who we are, what we do, what we think, and in defining ourselves, we create bars that trap us in. We become caged by the very notion of having no limits.
Some of us fall into the hipster trap, and that’s the cage that keeps us trapped. Some of us define our genre, our muse, our mood, and let that become our walled paradise and sacrifice freedom in exchange for identification. Some of us choose to remain ephemeral transitory entities, passing from one identity to another when the fancy strikes us, and while it all sounds very liberated and ‘free’, those of us are trapped in a loop of fleeting existence, never quite going anywhere.
What I’ve come to believe is that we must accept that the very act of existing, our life, is the cage we cannot be free of. But, what really matters eventually is what we do within the confines of our cage, and how we let it influence us. I suppose the point my convoluted brain is trying to make tonight, is that the greatest sense of liberty comes from knowing that there really is nothing called absolute freedom except what we define for ourselves. To me freedom is taking my thoughts and throwing them against the bars I’ve built, hearing them rattle and learning to turn that into music.
So, my dear reader, tell me: what rattles your cage?