Our civilization, as we have progressed towards an ambiguous perfection, has lost some of the dirt along the way.
I don’t mean bad dirt. I mean good dirt.
Near total freedom and independence is almost impossible to achieve in an interconnected, bureaucratic, streamlined world. You really start to wonder if the Luddites saw something of an actual prophecy in the steam-powered machines they sabotaged.
There used to be a frontier. Wherever you were in the world, you could go a little bit further and find total independence. You might have had to raise your own cattle and shoot your own deer with a flintlock, maybe fend off a few wild bears, but you would have been pretty damn free.
The value of this free state has been largely lost. My house, tied in to the grid, fiber internet, and automated everything spoils our desire for independence. I can’t even drive down the interstate without Lane Assist telling me that I’m drifting towards the median.
In a world where I can drive a 400-hp car that intelligently keeps me within the lines, I don’t have much freedom. I’m highly dependent upon the system, the system that brought me the shackles that I happily adorn in order to live in air conditioning.
I believe we’ve been suppressing urges that are buried deep within our genes.
The urges that drove Alexander to the Far East, that drove Leif Eriksson to the shores of America, that drove men to build cabins in the uninhabited wilds and set foot on empty atolls — how does my air conditioning play into this?
I dutifully pay a heavy toll for plunging ahead.
My wife and I pay property tax every year, cutting a check to the government for the privilege to live on the land we purchased. We pay sales tax with every purchase, for the privilege of spending the money we already paid income tax on. I even pay a franchise tax for the privilege of owning the very company that provides income for me to pay income tax in the first place. When I die, I will pay an estate tax that takes away some of the assets I accumulated over a lifetime, and already paid a hefty percentage upon.
I cannot even go from one place to another without paying a registration tax upon the car I drive, and annual fees for the privilege of having a number plate that proves I did, indeed, pay for the privilege of movement.
This isn’t a diatribe against taxes. I recognize that it is the price I pay for living my life.
It’s a diatribe against our own minds. My own mind.
Because the reality is, we have created an artificial wall around our own being that inhibits us from living our own life. The most passionate, principled, tax-evading activist out there has created an artificial wall around himself that in the end has turned his life into the same prison he wants to escape. He is no more free than the dutiful citizen who cuts a check every year. Because in the end, time is ticking away, he is growing old, and he must either resist or comply. No other option.
There is a lost art of doing whatever you want — in the manner that gives you the most independence and freedom.
The art of extending a middle finger while staying fully compliant.
The art of developing a lifestyle that is entirely legitimate — legally, financially, morally — while still doing whatever the hell you want.
The art of being so good at what you do that the tepid fools at the revenue department cower before your success. The art of adapting to the system so well that the assaults thrown against you by jealous cowards bounce off and melt like shaved ice.
I have not become this good at doing whatever the hell I want.
I don’t even know how to do it.
But I do know that it’s the closest thing a modern man can do in the pursuit of total freedom and independence, short of moving to a jungle in the middle of nowhere and living in a bamboo hut.