My Own Cage

Some days, we question things we shouldn’t question. Some days, we fail to question things that deserve reproach. Some days, we create our own ugly cages from which escape is impossible and, even if it were possible, improper.

I see these concepts play out before me in the newspaper, on television news, and in articles I read online.  People behave in ways not in their own best interests, nor in the interests of anyone else.  They are not necessarily  behaving irrationally, but they are behaving in ways that can only be explained, I suppose, by linking the behavior to their attempts to “self-medicate” their pain.  So they continue, making mistake after mistake, in a futile effort to cover up the pain or eliminate its source.

People around them, people like me, watch them build their own cages and lock themselves inside, helplessly wondering what is happening.  And then, those people who watch them—at least this person who watches them—wonder whether they are being watched.  And they ask themselves, “have I built my own cage?”  You see, the people who have built their own cages often do not realize they have done it; they think they are living free and acting in their own self-interest.  They don’t know they are damaging the world they cherish.  By the time they know it, they know they can’t escape.  Or, if they could, it would serve no end.

So, unless we are completely self-aware (and who is self-aware, really?), we wonder whether we have built our own cages, visible only to people who watch helplessly.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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