Disclaimer: I am in no way trying to diminish the atrocities suffered in actual slavery. It is more of a parody with a point.
Do you suffer from modern day slavery? How would you even know, it is not like it is as blatant as when we enslaved Africans. Modern slave masters hide their faces behind corporations. They entice you to actually sell yourself into slavery. Are you officially confused now? Well then you are likely a victim of modern slavery. I am referring to modern capitalism and democracy. What, you say? No really, do you work hard and never seem to make ends meet? Do you have to skip a bill to put food on the table? Do you feel the pinch ever single day of are you going to make the next payment due?
If you answered yes to any of these, then you, yes you, are in slavery. The task masters are no longer angry men that whip us, but banks and corporations that steal our souls selling us the illusion of happiness. We are slaves to our credit cards, our mortgages and house payments. We have sold our very souls for a tangible piece of happiness. Yet for most of us, that happiness is momentary. We mostly sold our souls into slavery. If you need a second job to pay your bills, or have to work long hours to put food on the table, we are definitely enslaved.
Our modern system of make believe money is nearly killing us. It puts tremendous stress on our lives. It tears families apart. It causes obesity and general bad health. It puts us in a position to make poor choices based systematically on financial shortcomings. We choose to go to work when we are sick, because we cannot afford to not work. We choose to feed ourselves a processed food dinner because not only can we not afford real food, we have no time to prepare it.
Slavery is a vicious cycle of not being able to escape one’s situation. So the general populace of America is enslaved. Funny, we are a free country, yet we willingly allowed ourselves to be enslaved, how does that even happen? Very simply, we bought into it. We allowed ourselves to be sold an unattainable dream. The dream of freedom and ability to move up in life is not attainable. We do not live in a Caste system, but the situations are very similar.
So how does one escape? I will tell you it is not easy. I am still trapped, but I see an exit coming up. First thing you do is realize that credit is a trap. Your dreams are just that dreams. You have to face reality before you can reach dreams. So cut up those cards. No really, cut those bastards up. Cancel all your accounts. Pay off anything you can with your tax refund. Take a second job and focus on paying off those debts. Once you discipline yourself to do this, the noose loosens up.
I also ditched my car. With two kids I got rid of my only form of transportation. We learned the bus system. I cannot suggest this to you if you live in an area that public transit is minimal or dangerous. I do suggest downsizing your car. Maybe learn to walk to the local grocery store for simple trips. Learn to cook in a crockpot. I love mine. I put on a pot of chili when I leave for work and it is ready when I arrive home. Cooking takes a little bit of preparation and thinking ahead. You can train yourself. You could even prepare several dishes ahead of time, like on your days off for weeknight meals. Make extra for lunches the following day. I love taking my own lunch. Screw McDonald’s, I have home made hummus.
Stop seeing what your friends and neighbors have and realize they are probably just as broke as you. We spend far too much time comparing ourselves to others. Our only comparison should be within ourselves. Am I better than I was a year ago? Remember that your kids will appreciate things they purchase for themselves more. If we buy them everything, they grow up expecting that things just happen, and we have essentially sold them into slavery as well. The way we see our situations rubs off onto our children. I have not had a TV in years. I do not miss it. I traded it for my laptop. Not literally, I purchased my laptop to ditch the TV. I find it to be a useful tool, and a source of entertainment.
If we view our lives as being incomplete without things, then our children will see it the same way. I tend to look at my life as not missing things, but gaining freedom. While we sit in cubicles for 40 hours a week, we are robbed of our time and health. Yet we are forced to work, just to survive. I see a better way. One where I can and will work, when I need to and if I need to take days off, I will. If I have a medical emergency it is not the end of the World.
My current dilemma is that I am in an apartment that is too much for me. It was not originally, but in the last year my rent has gone up. My paycheck is also compromised. I now have to pay a portion of my medical insurance. So even a full paycheck is not enough to pay the rent. Sadly my only course of action is to leave my apartment. It is a painful necessity, but it will be a good move for me.
So do you want to be enslaved or are you looking for freedom. Just because there is no painful punishment does not mean that you are not in slavery. Just because the taskmaster has no face does not mean you are free.