I wrote this post in pieces. Some of it early in the day, some of it later in the day. I've been struggling with these ideas because they are so new to me. Just two months ago I did not believe these things. I have undergone some sort of transformation since the beginning of May. Something shut off, something else turned on.

I believe there are three main reasons for this sudden transformation. I once believed that we needed war to maintain peace, that it was necessary for prosperity: I embraced the military-industrial complex. But this changed literally overnight when I stopped watching the news, began studying war from another angle, and began meditating more deeply than I had ever done before.

Without the news I was no longer fed negativity on a daily basis.

I studied the role America has played in its wars. I began to see holes in the logic that these wars were necessary. I began to see a dangerous trend. Morality was, time and time again, used as a motivator for action. America was portrayed as the great defender, the good superhero battling evil. Anyone who disagreed, anyone who challenged this belief was portrayed as a traitor, as unpatriotic. But like the super hero fights in film, the battles between Great America and evil Confederates and Nazis led to far more death and destruction than the enemy alone could have caused. I discovered that the price of war was greater than the reward. This was lost in the static of millions of well-meaning Americans falling for the morally based propaganda fed to them by the government. Even today I see good people, people who would do no harm to anyone, express faith in the flawed ideology that war, and the tragedy it causes people, is necessary to keep us safe. I hope to show below why this is flawed.

Through meditation, I was able to approach my true passions, and decide consciously where I wished to put my time and energy. Because of this, I am no longer concerned with politics, am quickly becoming a pacifist, and am struggling to find a sure footing atop my new worldview. I understand now that many millions of people are living out of fear, acting out of fear, and I realize, most importantly, that I was one of them.

There is no more fitting day than the Fourth of July to express these conclusions. My Independence Day.


I'm celebrating my Independence from Anger, Hate, and Violence.

The only way to freedom is to embrace uncertainty. You cannot be secure and free, because freedom means the ability to stay still, to fly, or to fall as one sees fit, as one finds necessary. Tethered to ideals, we are unable to maneuver. Especially ideals borne of fear.

Fighting for peace is like fucking for chastity. It can be a hell of a lot of fun, but don't lie to yourself that it will work. It hasn't, and it never will. We are free not because of the wars we have fought, but because of the wars we have not fought; with ourselves, with each other, with the world.

Freedom doesn't come from the soldier on the battle field willing to kill, or die trying, but from the man or woman willing to die to avoid killing another human being. Freedom comes from men and women like Martin Luther King Jr., not from those like General Patton.

Anything short of that begs the question: Are we really free?

If it's not live and let live, it's not freedom, it's not independence. It's dependence. If we cannot trust others, we are only victims. If we cannot love, we are only slaves.


I believe American freedom is largely a product of intelligence and the creativity of its people. Through our technology we have been able to build a world with abundant resources, freeing us (mostly) from long hours in farm fields and in factories. It hasn't been a perfect evolution, but for the most part the average First World citizen has more free time than our ancestors (not just in America, but even more so in countries like France and Italy).

This has been both a blessing and a curse. A blessing for those who have been able to take advantage of this, whether it be with an appreciation (realizing the ease of life), or using the extra time to exercise their creativity, furthering our resource capacity. It is the curse of those who are bored and cannot find a way to appreciate what they have, or passionate enough about something to add to the progress meter.

After all, freedom really is time. With abundant resources we no longer need to work 12-16 hours a day just to survive (to avoid starvation), but can work a 40 hour workweek and still cultivate our goals. For over a century many Americans toiled as poor farmers, in brutal slavery, and as share croppers (slavery except in name, a modern form of feudalism). Until the 20th century, most Americans were not really free. Even today, some aren't (for poverty is not freedom), but many more are than ever before, and despite our current economic trouble, the trend will continue to push upward as more technology leads to greater efficiency, and even more time.

We can use this time to enrich our lives, and the lives of those around us, or we can waste it through negativity and idleness. It's up to us, and that is also a freedom.

This type of freedom transcends political ideologies. It is not based on who won what war (it cannot be bought with a bullet). It does not depend on laws to protect us (it cannot be legislated into existence). It has arisen not from protectors, but from the ingenuity of the common man, their desire, not for power and control, but for what people seek throughout all the world, in America, in China, in Iraq, in Uganda, in Britain and Brazil.



There is an argument made for war that, at first, makes sense to me. It is that many (a great many, in fact) of our technologies were created for the war effort. U.S. and German scientists, in an attempt to win World War II, made great strides in inventing things that would later find vital civilian uses.

I believe that civilian scientists would have eventually invented all of these things (be it the jet engine or splitting the atom). We may have had to wait a little longer, but war did not suddenly make us intelligent enough to discover something we would have been incapable of discovering without conflict.

Despite the technological advancements made during the World Wars, most of our greatest inventions came in times of peace, by private inventors. The telephone, the light bulb, the airplane, the automobile, the engine, the theory of relativity, and so many more.

I have a great faith in human ingenuity. I do not think people need any more motivation to do great things than simple inquisitiveness and passion, and a hope to make the world easier for our fellow humans.

We have prosperity and freedom despite war. Not because of it.

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3 Responses to Independence

  1. Interesting post! I do agree that peace and freedom come from many great civil rights movers and many people who sacrificed. And really war is more about destruction than peace; however, there do arise occasions when people are forced to defend themselves. I don't think this can be avoided when necessary, but violence should be the last resort in any case. People need to do more communicating, cooperating, accepting or at least tolerating others. If we would look to negotiate or to discuss rather than to turn to violence the world would indeed be a much better place. The hardest battle is against one's own bad habits and one's self control. Take care, JR!

    1. I absolutely agree, Lena.

      About war: I just don't see an instance in our history where we were _forced_ to defend ourselves. I'm using "forced" in its strictest sense, not in a preemptive "they may have attacked us" sense. Mainland America was attacked only once in our history, in 1812, and it was a half-hearted attempt by the British and they soon gave up. We courted the attacks on Pearl Harbor and 9/11 through our insistence in policing the world. Both would have been prevented with a softer touch in foreign policy. World War I, Korea, and Vietnam were illogical wars of empire building. The Spanish American war was based on a lie. The Civil War was a travesty, again, avoidable by a softer, more giving federal government. But power doesn't give. It takes, and what it takes, it aims to keep. No matter what.

  2. That is a GREAT Post. Thank you!!
    I lived in a country of war and nothing is more alienating than violence and anger!


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