Delving into the Intangibles

   Of Human Bondage  

The Dutch philosopher Spinoza(1632-1677) wrote in his Ethics :
“ Human infirmity in moderating and checking the emotions I name bondage: for, when a man is prey to his emotions, he is not his own master, but lies at the mercy of fortune: so much so, that he is often compelled, while seeing that which is better for him, to follow that which is worse.”

Spinoza achieved a keen insight into the nature of “bondage,”one of the negative Intangible Powers that deforms human beings and makes them feel stressed. It not only destroys a person, it steals  freedom from others, restricts their actions, and eventually ruins them, since “bondage” is a power issuing from the ego.

If you are tied down, but still feel happy, either you are in love or some kind of pervert. The tether that holds lovers should be made from soft-on-the-skin, flexible silk. Otherwise it will bind the body and mind too tightly, and spoil the precious relationship.

Breaking free from parents or children, for example, is often difficult.
If you say to your children, “Don’t do this,” “Don’t do that,” “It’s wrong,” “It’s for your own good,” your words may lead them astray, by taking away their self-reliance. Trying to be a “good boy” or “good girl,” they gradually forget their true selves. Once go out in the world, the same will be true. The present day educational system tends to make everyone conform, forcing them to lead a stereotyped life to the end, like others.

I remember a foreign professor of piano once commented that “Japanese should play the piano, with more originality ---their own piano---and not be tied down to the music score.” Don’t be tied down to the Tangible; open your heart to the Intangibles: that must be what the professor intended to say.

If you feel yourself being tied down, coming under a spell, recognize that is a kind of self-poisoning. It is you yourself who, binds your hands and feet, bundling yourself  into a state of mind in which you struggle in agony. Things that restrict your freedom may include: a strongly opinionated mind, a preconceived idea, biased information, a fixed idea you have, or third-party evaluation you worry about.

We all have some of these to a greater or lesser extent. Many people take the following ideas to be self-evident: “women cannot be leaders” ; “quoted companies are safe” ; or “honesty doesn’t pay.” How can they be so sure, without experiencing the real world? They are under the spell of their own preconceptions and delusions. And a lot of people believe that “money talks.”  We see so many people who are tied down by greed or fame. You must agree.

Aren’t you at the mercy of a negative Intangible Power?
With cool eyes, you are sure to find the invisible rope.

Cut it off now, once and for all.
It’s only you, nobody but you, who can do it.