Quoted excerpt:

In his classic book “Escape from Freedom,” the psychiatrist and social philosopher Erich Fromm attempted to make sense of the rise of fascism in the early 20th century, and in doing so offered a penetrating analysis of modernity. While the modern world had liberated men and women from social conventions of the past and various restrictions on the individual (i.e., “freedom from”), it had also severed what Fromm called “primary bonds,” which gave security to the individual and provided meaning. Forced from their communities into urban and industrial environments, modern men and women were left alienated and rootless, feeling powerless and purposeless in the new world.

There were two ways that people could respond to this situation, Fromm argued; either they could reject freedom altogether and embrace counter-Enlightenment movements like fascism, or they could progress to a “positive freedom,” where one can relate oneself “spontaneously to the world in love and work.”

“If the economic, social and political conditions on which the whole process of human individuation depends, do not offer a basis for the realization of individuality,” wrote Fromm, “while at the same time people have lost those ties which gave them security, this lag makes freedom an unbearable burden.” Freedom, he continued, “becomes identical with doubt, with a kind of life which lacks meaning and direction. Powerful tendencies arise to escape from this kind of freedom into submission or some kind of relationship to man and the world which promises relief from uncertainty, even if it deprives the individual of his freedom.”

The reactionary impulse would be to “escape from freedom” and restore the conventions and “primary bonds” of the past, while the progressive impulse would be to progress to a more complete and dynamic kind of freedom.

The reader may be wondering where all of this fits in with the current revolt against neoliberalism. Put simply, the neoliberal age has left many people with the same kind of doubts and anxieties that Fromm discussed in his book almost 80 years ago. Numerous articles have been written in recent years about how the policies of neoliberalism have worsened stress and loneliness, exacerbated mental health problems, driven rising rates of suicide and the opioid crisis, and left people feeling desperate and hopeless in general. Globalization, deindustrialization, consumerism and "financialization"; all these economic trends are contributing to the breakdown of our democratic society, leading some to embrace authoritarian alternatives, as many did in Fromm’s day.

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The fundamental basis for the institutions we depend on is the notion of dominion. Based on the western belief that there is order in the universe and we can represent it here on earth. We can model our society on our understanding of the universe. On our understanding of God.

And yet, more than that, on the individual basis, that we can and must orient ourselves in relationship with a creator. We must pray, visualize and worship our God to encourage our faith, strengthen our friendships, and otherwise invite the divine into our daily walk in the world.

It may be that a Zen like simplicity in our mindset will help us all survive. Jesus said in Mark 4 that parables are used to convey truth to the believers and confound the wise; preventing them from seeing the kingdom. For if they would see the kingdom, they would turn from their ways, confess and repent and be restored with their Creator.

There is no need for magical thinking. As a compatriot to reason, faith is sufficient. In fact, faith is more effective than magic. It relies on the rational, while orienting itself beyond it, creating openings for the once irrational. Is it so unreasonable to imagine faith and reason joined together in physical experience? Many lives have been lived as a testament to velocity, direction and location. Heidegger went a great distance in leading us to an essential understanding of faith, love, being, and time.

"Why is love beyond all measure of other human possibilities so rich and such a sweet burden for the one who has been struck by it? Because we change ourselves into that which we love, and yet remain ourselves. Then we would like to thank the beloved, but find nothing that would do it adequately. We can only be thankful to ourselves. Love transforms gratitude into faithfulness to ourselves and into an unconditional faith in the Other. Thus love steadily expands its most intimate secret. Closeness here is existence in the greatest distance from the other- the distance that allows nothing to dissolve - but rather presents the “thou” in the transparent, but “incomprehensible” revelation of the “just there”. That the presence of the other breaks into our own life - this is what no feeling can fully encompass. Human fate gives itself to human fate, and it is the task of pure love to keep this self-surrender as vital as on the first day."

- Martin Heidegger

For all of us on the journey, where do we begin? Simply put, we must have permission to ask an all-knowing creator in the sky if we are heading in the right direction. If there ever was an owner's manual to this experience, it is still a guide.

We are sky writers, each of us. Fear fighters, the lot. Our souls found among the stars. Our spirits, uniting mind and body. We are feet planted on the earth and arms wrapped around this world.

Imagine that all you know began with curiosity, bravery, belonging, and a deeply rooted anchor to love.

Go. Find that place. Seek out that lover. Remember why you fell in love with your friend. Go back to build. Go back to dream. But do not go back to sleep.

Thinking about. Most compatible with those in no hurry, for those in no rush. Slow is fast. To rest, is gain.