Our thoughts give way to our destinies — everything we will ever do in this universe begins in our minds. Sadly, many humans fail to achieve certain goals, damning themselves to a mediocre quality of life, because they do not harness their thoughts to plan effectively. To have a monumental impact in this world, it’s compulsory to begin with an amazing idea.
To dream of a greater reality than others may see, a strong mental fortitude is mandatory. Several prominent popular culture and historical figures have contributed powerful messages that push society forward. Throughout your quest for enlightenment, consider the paradigm of revolutionary thinkers who overcame fear for progress and subsequently changed the world.
Marley fervently believed music would be a tool to change the world through enlightening minds. While representing freedom, Marley once urged others to “emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our mind.” Sure, he may be most commonly associated with hair dreads and meditation, but upon analyzing his music and advocacy more deeply, Marley’s disdain for mental slavery is abundantly clear.
Harriet Tubman once remarked, “I freed a thousand slaves, I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” While Tubman’s reference to slavery was obviously literal (she led thousands of slaves to freedom), she very much understood the deep societal, political and economic factors that psychologically weighed on slaves as well. Beyond being a physical state, enslavement was a dehumanizing practice that fostered deep mental trauma. Many of the people whom Tubman sought to help were abused into complacency regarding their statuses of perpetual servitude.
In the 1999 film, “The Matrix,” Morpheus instructed Neo simply to free his mind. The Matrix (society, as seen from the human eye) is actually a prison that you cannot see or touch — a world of bondage with artificial choices and infinitesimal freedoms. Neo only attains liberation and accepts his purpose in life when he believes in himself and finds the only limits to his greatness are those that he imposes on himself through his limited thinking. Neo’s wisdom empowers him to save the world alongside other free minds.
When Kanye raps “New Slaves,” perhaps he is pointing out how deeply enslaved society has become — slaves to self-interest, material desires and an internally created sense of self. Lately, Kanye has been deriding powerful corporations and societal institutions that dictate trends of spending, preference and general culture.
Maybe we are all slaves to materialism, but Kanye has taken it to the extreme by ranting and raving to highlight the prevalence of these forms of enslavement present in our supposedly egalitarian society. Above other iconic pop superstars, Kanye daringly uses his reach to encourage humanity to progress past a legacy of oppression and ignorance.
In his legendary 2005 commencement speech at Stanford, Jobs, the Apple entrepreneur, urged young people to “stay hungry, stay foolish.” Jobs’ personal story is rife with experiences that don’t traditionally lead to success. By living his life in a way that prioritized creativity and innovation, and that rejected adhering to social norms, Jobs became a leading pioneer of the value of mental liberation.
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