Human bondage

It’s obvious that every day we wake up we are not reborn; each day is a continuation of yesterday, a progression from what has been. Like a car driving through the winding lanes of life, you are bound to accumulate dirt, it can be the kind of fine dirt that you only see if you look closely, or it can be the kind of thick mud, which is obvious for all to see. But unlike a car, where the accumulated mud is simply superficial, the mud we accumulate as human beings goes much deeper, so deep that we may not even realise what is in the background driving our desires, pleasures and pains – this is our human bondage.

It may stick to us but it’s not permanent, so the question is are you freeing yourself from bondage or reinforcing it?

Spinoza, a continental philosopher of the 17th century states that we wrongly believe ourselves to be making free, undetermined choices and it is only when we make ourselves conscious of hidden causes that we can begin to really get in the driving seat, we are a vehicle, a muddy one; that we recognise our mud is what counts for Spinoza. Emotions play a large role in the accumulation of human bondage and being aware of this is vital to the cessation of accumulated pain and suffering affecting our intentions, interactions and behaviours.

Take fear and anger, which are passive emotions that are generated by external forces we encounter in our daily lives, and active emotions, which are those that arise out of our understanding of self-awareness and reflective nature – the human condition; by replacing our passive emotions by active ones, we can liberate ourselves.

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It is impossible to discuss human bondage without talking about our passions. “Human bondage is slavery to our passions” (Kenny, 2006, p.242). These are what tie us up in a knot until we’re so tight we can’t see clearly anymore. Our passions blind us and the bondage can cause us to feel hatred for others, but it’s only when we realise individuals as acting in a determined way will we cease to buy into passive emotions like fear and anger; responding with love is the only way to overcome hatred.

What human bondage are you carrying around? How does it influence the way you live your life? What are your passions, do they motivate you to a purposeful existence or do they enslave you? The opposite of human bondage is freedom and for me, like many others, the only route to freedom is through our own intellect.

Come think with me!

Photo credits

Bondage bear: Ulleskelf

Passion fruit: Stefan Van der Straeten

KENNY, A. (2006). An Illustrated Brief History of Western Philosophy. 2nd Ed. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.

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