Toward True Freedom

By Jin-yeong Yi

“Liberty? Why it doesn’t exist. There is no liberty in this world, just gilded cages.”

—Aldous Huxley

One of the biggest discoveries of my life was the fact that I don’t have free will. Every choice I make is an outcome of the interaction between my mind and my environment, neither of which I created. I am an infinitesimal part of an unfathomably long chain of action/reaction and cause/effect which I did not set into motion. Arthur Schopenhauer summed it up succinctly when he said, “Man is free to do what he wills, but he cannot will what he wills.” I am driven by forces that I had no hand in creating.

Another big discovery for me was the realization that freedom is impossible. I could have all the time and money in the world, but would still be forever bound by the laws of nature.

We want magic in our lives. At least, I do. I respect science and can appreciate the wonders of the natural world it has and continues to reveal, but I do have a longing for more. For all its beauty, the world seems too fixed, too solid, too predictable, too mechanical. I have a deep-seated longing to find a hole within the omnipresent tapestry of unalterable constants, of scientific theories and mathematical equations, a “glitch in the Matrix,”[1] so to speak.

That’s probably not going to happen, unless the universe turns upside down tomorrow. Nevertheless, I think this longing for the magical can be fulfilled, in whole or part, with lucid dreams. It is only within dreams that one can break through the solid barrier of natural laws. It is only within dreams that one can experience the impossible.

Maybe that’s partly why one of the greatest scientists of all time[2] declared, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

[1] See the Animatrix micro-movie “Beyond.” 

[2] Albert Einstein.


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