We all want security and we all want freedom. It’s not going to happen. Security and freedom sit at opposite ends of a scale, and to have one means abandoning the other. This manifests in many areas of life. Most people want a stable relationship, typically marriage, but they also want the freedom to engage with other sexual partners. This often causes problems, as is testified by very high divorce rates in most developed countries. Another example is the need for a secure belief system. Many people seek a dogmatic set of beliefs that answer all their questions. The price that is paid is the inability to entertain other ideas that might contradict existing beliefs, even though the dogma doesn’t make sense any more.
The key to unwinding this duality is to realize there is no such thing as security. When people make their marriage vows they are often said with good intent. Things change however, and what seemed like a good idea five years ago might not seem so attractive any more. And there is no set of beliefs that is wholly watertight. Even logicians and mathematicians have to bow before Gödel’s incompleteness theorem, which says that all conceptual structures rest on notions that cannot be proved.
To crave security is to seek the impossible. Death is always waiting, along with a long list of financial, emotional, intellectual, social and physical conditions that might be quite devastating. In fact the craving for security causes us to make suboptimal decisions that are quite harmful – the old mantra of nothing ventured, nothing gained comes to mind. But someone who is frightened by the world will cleave to things that are inadequate rather than risk an investment in something that may or may not deliver a better situation.
This is not an invitation to reckless living, but simply a statement that a balance has to be found to live a viable life. The powers that be have a vested interest in the masses feeling insecure and grateful for the crumbs that drop from the table. That way we are not going to demand more, even though it might risk our current situation. People complain about their lot, but almost no one is prepared to do anything about it, and those that do are often resented. The only freedom worth having however is inner freedom. This comes about through denial of dogma, understanding our own emotional nature, and the real knowledge that we never have anything to lose. We are all dead men walking.