People in the West feel proud of being given the freedom of speech, when at the same time people in other parts of the world don’t have this basic human right — who, living under dictatorships, cannot openly express their ideas and opinions without being censored or punished.
Although freedom of speech is certainly a human achievement, I would like to argue here that it’s not so big of a deal as the majority of people believe it to be, and that in part it’s just another illusion that they’ve fallen into and are blinded by.
How free is your freedom of speech?
You have the freedom to speak your mind, right? Well, not really. Let me explain.
The way you speak is the result of the way you think. That is, your thought process is reflected in how you express and communicate yourself through the means of language. Therefore, the more of a freethinking person you are, the more your speech will reflect your mind. On the contrary, the more manipulated your thinking is, the less you will be able to speak out your mind — because, in a sense, it is not yours.
How much of a freethinker do you think you actually are? The majority of people aren’t much: Their ideas and opinions on the most important issues in life don’t sprout from their own personal experience and understanding, but are just a result of the conditioning they had to undergo during their upbringing. In other words, they have been brainwashed to accept and follow dogmas that were forced upon them by tradition through — just to name a few examples — school, religion, and the mainstream media.
Give this a thought: If your thinking is actually controlled and bounded within a tiny mental box, how much freedom of speech and expression do you actually possess?
Freedom of speech is meaningless without freedom of thought
Everybody might be free to utter whatever comes to their mind, but what is so good about it if all that comes is utter nonsense arising from blind belief created by social programming? To put it differently, what is the point of freedom of speech when there’s no freedom of thought?
Freedom of speech is meaningless if speech is not powered by free, creative thought.
We have been fooled into believing in the idea that we have freedom of speech by those who desire to manipulate us for their own personal benefit, such as politicians, priests, and the economic elite, who are ready to do anything in order to stay in positions of power. And what is their best way to manipulate us? To keep us dumb and passive, while we actually believe that we possess knowledge and freedom. And the more we believe that we are free, the more we stay confined in a prison that we can’t even see — a mental prison with invisible bars.
Unaware of our slavery, how can we seek freedom?
Many of us like to think that we’re entirely free, as if we were completely autonomous beings, not influenced by the environmental conditions we find ourselves in. In reality, we are all bound by the laws of nature and the influence of countless environmental forces that shape who we are since the day we were born — or, in fact, even before that, since the very moment we were conceived in our mother’s womb.
Therefore, our opinions and ideas cannot be entirely original, since they are largely shaped by the cultural environment we exist in. Even Newton, one of the greatest thinkers of his time, is said to have uttered the following words: “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” But, although our way of thinking is heavily influenced by our culture, the question is how dogmatic it has become. Is it open to change, ready to adapt to emerging information, or is it rigid, confined to a belief system, preventing us from growing into more conscious, intelligent beings?
The truth is that the mind of most people is not open to challenge, and hence to change. It is rigid, ready to believe in authority figures and follow orders, a victim to its habits and social conditioning, insecure and passive, unable to think critically and solve problems.
Of course, as I mentioned before, the establishment likes this kind of mind because it can be easily fooled and manipulated by the former so that it can serve its vested interests. The establishment doesn’t like thoughtful people and tries its best to suppress their intelligence, because freethinking is the most revolutionary act, having the power to turn the world upside down and transform the entire social order as we know it.
Only once we become freethinking individuals, will we be able to possess true freedom of speech, and unless we learn to think for ourselves, our voices will have no power to make a positive change in our world that is in dire need of it.