A+ for a meaningful quick and thought-provoking read! I am so pleased to have picked up a $10 copy of this book from my local B&N on a whim the other day. I would definitely recommend this book to, well, anybody looking to read a book! Really though, I thought Fromm brought up some fantastic points and his arguments or premises are relevant right now more than ever. As stated in the title, this is my first work I have ever read by Fromm, but certainly will not be the last.
This book, in under 100 pages, covers a heck of a lot – my highlighter died multiple deaths over the course of reading this piece. Essentially, the subtitle does a good job of summing up a key aspect to the notion of freedom in which it states: “Why freedom means saying ‘no’ to power.” Ah, what a beautiful little snippet, and how true as well. I took a few moments just to reflect on these few words, as I find them quite momentous.
So many people claim to “be free” but how many can even somewhat accurately define the very word they so proudly and easily use? And if so, surely they cannot actually think they are truly “free.” After all, I am not sure anyone is truly free, at least nobody I know is. But back to the statement, Fromm raises a great idea that freedom is basically saying “no” to power. And whom does that these days?
Of course, you can but then you will probably find yourself in handcuffs eventually.
Why though, do individuals give so much power to other individuals? I mean, who can tell me how to live my life better, at least in an absolute, omniscient sense than I can? I am by no means negating advice, for words of wisdom from others is crucial, in my eyes, to making life what it is. Are there really so many experts in this world, so many professionals, that I should just relinquish my autonomy to “others?” I think not, surely, I will not. However, I am also quite guilty of this in some respects. Sadly, I am very, very guilty of this, perhaps in the ultimate sense. But I am unsure as to whether I want to get into all of that right now…but if not now when?
Okay fine, lets get personal:
For the past five or so years I have been, what I will call, a victim of psychiatry. Yes, I have been diagnosed with depression, then major depression, throw in some anxiety, and finally my current doctors thinking of bipolar – which I know is completely false, but more on that later. Okay, sigh, relief, I have admitted a HUGE, HUGE part of my personal life to the “blogosphere!” And along with the diagnosis came many prescriptions. And by many, I mean MANY!!! Way too many – if you ask me. Yes I am currently “on” these “medications,” which I tend to prefer to call drugs since that is what they really are, as I am typing this post. Four different ones to be exact. And I am numbed all the way out, but at the same time “doing well.” Hmm, peculiar is it not?
Yes, so the “drugs are working,” according to my doc and parents, and even me to a different degree. I do not feel what should be my emotions – not because they are truly “not there” but because I am (un)comfortably numbed out due to the drugs that I am on. That is the best way I can put it, and I hope you do not truly understand because its so awful its inhumane. More on that later…
But the drugs collectively, and individually, have the general effect on me of blanking my mind and obliterating my ability to feel any sort of emotion. In other words, I am more of a drone than a human being, for are those two factors not key to being human? I sure think so.
So what does this have to do with disobedience? With freedom? How is my experience with psychiatry relevant to Fromm? Well besides the fact that he was a psychiatrist. I am not free, in fact, quite the contrary, I am less free than most people. This is because I am under mind influencing drugs that affect my biochemistry but more importantly affect how I think and feel, or rather how I do not think or feel. But how can you not think? I cannot think on a conscious level, in other words, its going on somewhere, but not anywhere in my awareness. So basically, its all under the radar so to speak. Same deal with my emotions, which are intact somewhere but I am not connected to them. I am disconnected! Completely and utterly disconnected. There is much more to say here, but I am trying to keep this kind of brief for I will be returning to these topics in more depth later, most likely in future posts.
Back to disobedience and freedom – I will need, I MUST disobey my psychiatrist in order to gain much more freedom! (And my parent(s) too). I have concluded this awhile back, but following through on the matter is much more difficult, especially considering I live at home, and dependent on them in a number of ways – financially being the number one. However, I seriously plan to attempt to withdraw myself from these drugs, try number two, but this time successfully.
The time is now, it really is. I am at a point in my life where I am about to close one chapter of my life in the next five months or so and begin authoring a completely new one. I am very much on track to graduate from the community college I have been attending since 2009; finally. And then what? Besides being a good question, I want to start the “rest of my life” so to speak. These drugs are no good, for me anyway. I can no longer depend on them, for they do no good for me. Long term it is only a matter of time before I develop some serious perhaps permanent “side effects.” More on that later as well.
So yes, I believe now, as much as ever, is the right time to begin the long process of a safe, effective withdrawal – in the name of freedom. I long desire to regain autonomy – for the first time in my life actually since I am now an adult – and independence. I have every right to demand freedom for myself in this, as in any, regard. I need freedom, freedom is crucial to happiness, I have not felt happy for years, you do the math, consider the logic, I know something is very wrong with this picture and in many ways I know what I need to do about it: get the hell off these drugs!
I need to be free, I am human, I need to be free!
To be continued…