A slave is someone whose will is subordinated to external circumstances.
We learned in school that slaves wore visible chains and worked on plantations. We were taught about physical slavery, but there is another much more insidious and just as destructive form of slavery known as psychological slavery.
Here again is where philosophy is a priceless guardian of your mind and dreams. Deriving your self worth from the opinions of others, material objects, or from your physical beauty is cataclysmic to financial and personal freedom. The reason is because each is outside of your control. If you build your life upon a shifting and uncertain foundation it will certainly bring pain and distress.
You can’t control what others think of you, the luster of material objects is fleeting, and physical beauty is extremely temporal. My question to all people who indulge in vanity is: what will be left of you when those good looks depart?
For most people, the answer is not much. What’s the use of being beautiful if you lack virtue or wisdom? Being corrupted by your own physical beauty is a shame.
I am always disappointed by beautiful people who haven’t spent 5 minutes on becoming a decent human being. There’s a saying that goes:
“There are two types of people who never hear the truth; powerful people and beautiful people.”
Of course, the meaning is that everyone is courting powerful people and/or beautiful people and no one wants to fall out of their good graces by telling them the truth. Ironically, withholding the truth degrades the person you are attempting to court favor with. Not so ironic at all though, because gaining favor is about gaining some sort of power for yourself and has nothing to do with the welfare of the person with whom you are courting.
People who are married to these ways of gaining self esteem may attempt to prolong the illusion they’ve created with the use of their money. This typically expresses itself by becoming a person everyone mooches off of because you can’t tell people no, becoming addicted to retail therapy to solve personal problems, and buying expensive plastic surgery to preserve the appearance of youth. All three are fundamentally at odds with your own personal freedom as an autonomous human being and as someone seeking financial freedom.
These modes of thinking are poisonous because if you don’t engage in self reflection you’ll never become aware of how you are screwing yourself and how your own actions are 100% responsible for your unhappiness.
How dangerous it is that people can enslave themselves depending on the quality of their thoughts. This again is why a constant pursuit of truth and a sober view of reality is priceless. Once again, this is why having a strong inquisitive philosophical mindset is crucial to creating and building wealth.
You don’t have to be as philosophical as Socrates, but you do need to reflect on everything that flies through your head and ensure you remedy any poisonous thought patterns, which could lead to self destructive actions.
Speaking of poisonous thought patterns, what are they and where do they originate? They are thoughts that contradict your ideals and life purpose. Their origins are diverse, but they are expressed by the ego. The part of our psyche that is unenlightened.
These sort of thoughts more times than not originate in our external world. I know this is hard to accept, but people who do not share your value system are poisonous to your wellbeing. Fitting in with the crowd is too big of a price to pay to lose sight of who you truly are and what you truly desire.
Being philosophical means confronting these uncomfortable and sometimes frightening realities and doing what is in your long term strategic interest. Lies bring short term stability, but long term destruction. Truth brings short term chaos and long term stability. To associate with people who really do not share your values or dreams murders your essence. You cannot hang around poor people and expect to become rich. You cannot hang out with politicians and expect to become honest. Likewise, you cannot succeed if you associate with people who contradict your mission in life.
“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.” – 19th century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.
Once again, a bit of wisdom that ostensibly seems completely unrelated to financial freedom is extremely beneficial to understand and wildly dangerous if you do not.
Don’t be so short sighted to think there aren’t any slaves in America today or anywhere else in the world. Physical slavery has been greatly curtailed, but psychological slavery is alive and well.
What is the root cause of people enslaving themselves to those things in life that are fleeting and temporal? It begins with values. What do you prioritize? What are your deepest desires? What is your philosophy on life? What do you want to accomplish before you die? The answers to these types of questions form a filter for your experiences and thoughts.
Someone with incorruptible convictions in an ideal, or a principle, or an end goal, will know their true north and act accordingly when life tries to compromise them.
What is the master value, the value that precedes excellence and all other values? That would be a love for truth. This one value is extraordinary because it gives you a fierce desire to constantly challenge your own worldview, to follow the evidence wherever it may lead, and to advance towards your end goal in the most efficient and strategic manner.
If a love of truth deters psychological delusions then why are so many people ruled by illusions? 2,500 years ago in Athens men and women were ruled by the shadows and today nothing has changed because that is the natural consequence of rejecting the master value. Even in 21st century America, with every opportunity to gain knowledge, we are swimming in a sea of ignorance because people are still living in Plato’s cave.
They reside in the subterranean caverns of their mental potential because they said no to knowledge, wisdom, and truth. You cannot afford to say no to the master value.
Freedom demands a love of truth.