If you can jimmy the cage door, leave it slightly open to climb back in. The sad truth is that imprisonment has its own feeling of security. Debilitating limitations commonly get euphemized as boundaries. Infectious habits as reality.
Let’s say you slip out of the cage and drop down onto the buoyant ground. Feel the bounce with each step on those rolling hills. It’s as if you were walking in a giant womb, the proto-cage. An ancient river flows there. Sit on the banks. Watch inner formations seen as exterior phenomenon float merrily downstream.
Follow along the banks down to the grassy bluffs where the river lets into a great wide sea. It’s the softest grass you’ve ever felt. The way it sways in the wind mesmerizes like a good song. Take a rest here. Look out at the ocean. Forget about the cage. Care not if the door closes and you cannot get back in. This is a good place to be.
If you look down the coastline, there is a cliff there. Look closer at the cliff and its eroding sandstone leaves a bas-relief. A bare chested deity grasps snakes in each hand while the others slither around her holy breasts. As you notice the other snake rising from her crown, she crumbles into pieces. Her breasts turn to sand. Eventually, the whole image gives way and falls into the sea. Whenever you return to these bluffs, the same sight will appear recomposed as before, and will erode again.
Return to the cage and find that you are back in the world. The strange thing is after this journey you will find yourself bumping into your meat-frame box in unexpected places. You might be at a strip mall running errands and suddenly feel the cage’s grating through another person. What was a wide street may suddenly appear remarkably narrow. The sensation of confinement may overcome you while simply waiting in line to check out. Somebody might say the simplest thing that rattles the cage. A common reaction is to ignore it until it seems to go away.
If you do not forget the containment, its torturing dimensions magnify. The more you see the meat-frame box you are trapped in through others, the more it can feel like you are not only caged but bound by imposters. The sensation can feel as if you are stretched out and pinned on the floor. Each invader stretches you more to their purpose. Binding you with whatever they can. If you forget entirely how to escape from the cage, then the binding may seem permanent. If this persecuting position cannot be forgotten, then interactions with anyone else are imbued with the presence of someone who does not belong here.
The only thing that locks you down is the idea of choice – that figment of the imagination, that receipt of a transaction extrapolated from the flow of consciousness (the inseparable separated) to fit a narrative of rationalizations in a futile effort to say “I will not be forgotten.” You must insist that such figments do exist.
Treat estimations as fact. Guesses as intentions. Internal purposes as exterior principles somehow beyond the inner origin merely because others parrot similar sounds. Find a group, any group. Simulate and spread out into other cages. More cages are better than one cage. Do not get caught alone in a single cage. Especially since everything is being recorded somewhere, at the very least now by a Krampus of the Internet counterfeiting lists of naughty users in his sandboxes.
This might work if you could forget that you did not choose this meat-frame box in the first place. That the bars can loosen up and slither back into the sand if you remember that choice is a figment of the imagination hardened by habit into a social cog. That origins are nothing more than hardened markers or heavy evaluations. Remember that nobody chooses a body to live in. Not a single person planned to be born. The pre-embryonic spirit did not choose from a preformed notion of how a body would develop. No family was selected from behind the womb. The yet-to-be-born did not pick a language, culture, or country from a menu.
Released from the non-binding demands of others gets the invaders out of the cage. The invasion was nothing more than them binding themselves and fooling you into binding yourself. And only if you allow them to bind you then you will be bound. It takes courage to commit to remaining tender and vulnerable. To resist reactions beyond the necessary is strength. The only other option is to be bound in your meat-frame box and shake it at others to get them to shake theirs and bind themselves. And that is what people call power. Though it seems as if they bound you, you bound yourself.
Release yourself from what was built unwittingly. Those lifelong reactions overstuffing the box. The clutter that insists it is you but is the junkyard of short term-evaluations. An imposter saying its you by assembling your double out of detritus. If only we could simply kick the clutter out of the can.
Let us slip out of the cage again. Return to that river. Become as flat as the rocks. Let the ancient flow wash over us. Let the water spill across our plates and cleanse them with forgetting. Be absolved of all the foolish things we assumed as our own.
Absolve us from being poor. How could we ever have been convinced that it was our fault? Why did we bind ourselves with feeling inadequate? Why did we blame ourselves for what was out of our control? Think of all the energy wasted on apologizing for not being successful.
Absolve us from not being smart enough. We fooled ourselves into feeling guilty for not knowing the answer another caged-mind wanted to hear. Years wasted on hiding our ignorance of caged sound-sequences. Binding ourselves with the shame of failing to imprint the references another meat-frame box deemed imperative.
Absolve us from not being the children our parents wanted. How foolish of us to blame ourselves for their sake. Let their expectations of us wash back onto them. Let them feel disappointed in themselves and confuse it as us if that is the only way they know to be bound. Let them say “no regrets” and have no apologies. How many generations must pass on the strange habits of self-hatred and false pride in order to construct a family’s sense of its irreality?
Absolve us from others telling us exactly who we are. Let others scream at the top of their lungs about who they think we are. How could they know when we never felt certain ourselves? How do the self-caging know the quality of anyone else’s suffering?
Absolve us from not wanting what others want. The worst thing we ever did was bind ourselves with what others told us to want. What we want has never been as clear to us as what we do not want. Let us be free of the self-imposed mandatory targets and obligatory chases.
Absolve us from being sacrificed. Those meat-framed boxes sacrifice others by getting them to self-cage. Reacting to them in the way they want produces the image they want to make from the material they call “us” but is actually them. And we have bound ourselves through such reactions and been fooled into owning what was not ours. And we too bound others in this quick and dishonest way and for that feel the shame of mindlessness passing on its errors without any concern for what might actually be the case because it might disrupt the way things are.
If we can do this, if I can absolve you and you me, then could we not cease this habit of self-caging with bars wrought by fear? Could we not return the cage to its antecedent form and allow the mind-womb to exist in its glory? Or would we rather ignore consciousness as a womb and treat it as something best caged within other cages like that of the city we think we live in?
The city-cage that sees its citizens as inmates, displaces people for stadiums, serves tourists before locals, promotes and uses provincialism between its communities to divide them while bull horning empty messages about community, leaves the homeless to live in underpasses while pretending it is their choice, lets citizens fight meaningless conflicts as if the caged-city didn’t produce it, and passes the buck on violence as just a hopeless part of human nature rather than a product of its containment.
The city-cage makes you pay and pay some more for every single thing that it can. It tells you who you should be and how you should react. It moves from one failure to another by promoting its next vision while never accepting any blame for the previous defunct developments. It scapegoats its members who it pushes into impossible circumstances. Gotcha! You reacted! Look at you! All the while pretending to really care and promote compassion. It’s hard ball backstage and soft ball front and center. Cynical ambition cloaked as community. As if everyone doesn’t see through it, but we do. We see how we self-caged this projection before realizing it.
Every country knows that we’ve got nowhere else to go on the face of this planet. To move from one to another would only be an exchange of cages. Another mass event of self-caging where audiences swallow irony whole and turn it into the shit of Being. Sarcastic parody becomes the voice of truth. Nationwide cage-plans of “I know you are but what am I?” Do not acknowledge the cage. Call your imprisonment duty. Play the game called wait for the savior who never comes. Join the next doom-cult of personality. Add more bars to the cage so that no light gets in. Welcome to the dark sweat box of self-isolation.
But we did it to ourselves, didn’t we? Not intentionally, of course, but as part of an apparatus. An automatic function self-replicates on lines neither inside nor outside the containers it produces. The outermost exteriorization of the meat-frame box is seen ironically as constructed solely by others. The stories are swallowed as if they were our own. Instead of acknowledging what our minds have constructed, we scream at not being heard. Screaming in the negative space left behind by that maniac deranger with a bullhorn called advertising.
The world’s greatest circuses may have disappeared after reaching their zenith over a century ago. But they did not vanish for good. Rather, they went subterranean until they could reformulate into the largest circus anyone could ever imagine in that place that used to be romantically dubbed the information superhighway. An omnipresent tent accessible to anyone, anywhere at any moment its application is needed. Hundreds of thousands of Big Tops. Millions of rides. Menageries of every necessary fancy. A place where of course any visitor buys a ticket by exchanging their information and enters by choice. Willing captive audiences worldwide gorge on what they’re fed.
Overton carousels rotate wedge issues across multiple platforms to keep the audience separated. Wheels of fortune demarcate the allotted identity-values to land on. Dunk tank forums submerge one scapegoat after another. Mega-Gravitrons of blame stick millions to the walls at once. Human projectiles stuff themselves in cannons for that brief moment where millions of viewers see them flailing in the air as they confuse a self-demeaning act for empowerment. Remember, it’s permissible and thereby suitable for spectacle if the person chooses it.
There’s good clean fun for the family in the Big Tops. Let the circus uplift caged spirits in accordance with sanctioned messaging where controversy is taken as thought provoking news. It’s the old sales tactic of scandal and outrage, sure, sensationalism always finds new names to hide behind, but any bona fide ringmaster is committed to dressing it with narratives any family can swallow. Somebody always plays the pseudo-sacred cow. Someone else, the fake savage. The bumper lanes of thought known as ideology are put in place so that as a self-caging audience, they will feel comfortable in how they take the message in addition to being supplied with the vocabulary to use when posting about it. They’ve heard it all before. It’s predigested so that they know how to consume it. Simply lock into the flying cages of an app and swing away!
Somersaulting baby acrobats of Twitter, posers of Instagram making it rain while doing the layback on rearing motorcycles, synchronized Elephants dancing on Tik Tok, and the endless parade of wannabe ringmasters on Facebook are all grabbing for the user’s bored attention. As they wander through the YouTube menageries of boxing kangaroos and chimpanzees on bicycles, banners direct the flow toward the sideshows. The hot tents where the forbidden can be tasted.
The tattooed fire-breathing sword-swallowing human pincushion DMs consumers to their fetish. A snake-charming strongwoman throws a man like a biscuit before choking him into bliss with her displaced phallus. The backstage glimpsed or maybe joined for a quick game of shame or shameless. After satiating a newfound peculiar desire, they exit into the pseudo-bazaar complete with a town square simulating those that never really existed decades ago. Also, there are plenty of wealth-worship centers that have their glass coffins at the ready for imagining what it would be like to be in a royal cage.
However, this circus is located nowhere. That is why its performers and users insist so hard on taking it so seriously. Once I went to the place where it was supposed to be, but I did not find the big top promised. Instead I came upon a desolate shore and a bridge. So I walked onto the bridge saddled with billboards promising a better future until I soon found myself over a void in the form of a sea. Like another failed infrastructure project, the superhighway bridge abruptly ended. The boundary of the internet-cage overlapped the city-cage. The outermost exteriorizations of my own cage became the inner horizon displaced onto the outer line cut by the dead bridge. The bars of the meat-frame box were doubled by its phantoms. This inmate’s fingers, hundreds of digits now, ran over ghostly sets of rib cages. And my imprisoned eyes stared out at the sun that never set.