Rewatching The Matrix left me with a question:
On the one side is life as we know it, neither good nor evil. This is "slavery."
On the other side is a marginal, hunted existence on a world so blighted that it has no hope of ever recoveringa world with no plants, no animals, nothing but humans and robots. This is "freedom."
Is this freedom worth fighting for?
And the real question:
How many people were shocked when I asked whether freedom was worth fighting for?
The word "freedom" now has the sanctity that "God" or "Mary" had two centuries ago. No one can argue against freedom. The intellectual vocabulary doesn't even exist. Just to say that the word "freedom" is holy and can't be argued against is shocking, because it means that the speaker thought about arguing against freedom. Raging iconoclasts themselves, the people who are supposed to be throwing mud in the eye of the Establishment, would attack me if I tried to make such a statement in public.
Think about that. We've finally found something on which every corner of the American cultural and political landscape agrees. Have you ever read history and torn your hair out over the painful stupidity of the actors, the extent to which everyone was so blinkered by their common assumptions that no one could see the answer which was just three inches to the left of them? "Freedom" is one of those blinkering concepts. We have such a knee-jerk reaction to the word that we rush after it like dogs after a stick, ignoring everything we trample along the way.
Don't throw out the idea of freedom. But think about it, good and hard. What is freedom? What is it worth? Are there times when freedom really isn't better than bondage? Are we defining freedom wrongly? The more your mind resists analysis, the harder you should push, because that's when you're shoving against the brick walls of your culture. That's when you have a chance to truly think originally.
And then remember how to think. You're going to need it in the years to come.