What I Learned From Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over A Cuckoo’s Nest
Man is not born perfect. We have good and bad sides, but he who dares not show his bad side isn’t worth his good. Whoever suppresses the evil in him only lives half. But half a man is not a man. And therein lies the cause of modern diseases such as depression: society dictates we should oppress ourselves and be mindful of others, but self-oppression kills our spirit.
In the overpopulated world we live in, we submit ourselves to mandatory adjustment to fellow human beings, rather than finding the right people who respect us for who we are. We lose ourselves in daily routines. We contain ourselves. We fritter away our talents so that others may win a prize too. After all, we are all “equals”: unoriginal, the same, a whitewashed humanity, subjected to ideas we had no say in choosing.
Man is the only animal who tamed himself. But what we need is less self-oppression, less forgiveness, less effacement of who we are and want to be. That scares us. Many of us dare not venture there, into the dangerous world of self-determination. We look for safety among our equals and turn a blind eye to the institutional slavery that runs our lives.
One day we will discover that we have not really lived. Yet we hate the individuals who still dare to live in full, because we recognize something in them that we hid away in ourselves a long time ago: self-love. To love yourself means to deny submission to the lives of others. It means to break the internalized chains of society’s unwritten codes of conduct. It means to demand a place for oneself, precisely when it must come at the expense of our beloved others.
We want to live without permission. We should own the right to stand up for ourselves, simply because we were born human. There should be nothing we need to earn, no price to pay, no sins to atone for to be full again.
But we are not trained to think like that. Rather our leaders, our clergy, our politicians teach us passiveness. They want us to march in step with the rest of the herd, to be considerate to others, and, while we’re at it, bow to the interests of our governing classes. Just sit still, keep quiet, work hard and pay your taxes.
That’s just not a life worth dying for anymore.