An individual can be ruled by external masters, or internal masters. A sovereign individual submits to neither internal masters nor external masters or bondage. Genuine freedom or free will is impossible without self-sovereignty.
Humans are programmable. If you operate from a program installed by
someone other than your Self, you are not free, even if the people who
programmed you allow you apparent freedom to choose from among the
alternatives they allow you to choose from.
You can be ruled by ignorance, passions, appetites, habits, and false beliefs implanted in your mind by unconscious programming from life experience and authority figures including parents, teachers, entertainers, politicians, and others.
In fact, external masters typically use internal masters to control those they wish to enslave. They implant false beliefs and they find the internal weakness and exploit that. They get you hooked on debilitating habits so they can easily manipulate you. Debilitating habits include alcohol, drugs, pornography, entertainment, and generally easy living.
Once you are addicted they can mold you to their needs. For example, gangsters will use blackmail to control someone who has a secret vice, threatening to expose the individual’s depravity if he/she acts contrary to the demands of the gangsters. Or, they threaten the loss of your addictions or comforts if you don’t comply with their demands. In this way they turn you super powers to their benefit.
Comfort puts you to sleep and makes you weak. Adversity develops personal power.
By Natural Law, everything social starts with the individual. People who are ignorant and in bondage to false beliefs and internal tyrants can’t produce external freedom.
Setting yourself free from internal masters such as ignorance, false beliefs and other internal limiters is an inside job. It is more important than any other task.
This is why Socrates said that an unexamined life is not worth living. Slavery is slavery, whether you are a slave to an internal or external master.
To become a truly free person you must examine yourself thoroughly and discard or refuse allegiance to thoughts, beliefs, attitudes and desires that would mislead you to take actions that produce outcomes you do not want. You must question everything: not just what outer authorities say, but also your own beliefs.
Remember, Truth fears no investigation. If your beliefs do not stand up to investigation, if they are not True, they do not align with Nature. They will lead you astray.
Freedom is not for the faint of heart. If you desire freedom, you must accept responsibility for the consequences of action. Tremendous power is at your fingertips. To access it, you only need to accept full responsibility for your life, and figure out how your beliefs, thoughts, self-contradictions, words and deeds have created your circumstances.
Since you are in fact a manifestation of Nature, study of your inner Nature leads you to understand Natural Moral Law. Only people who understand and live in accord with Natural Moral Law can create a truly free society, in both senses of the word “free”: free to speak and act, and yet also free from unnecessary, self-imposed suffering.
Before the invention of religion (which is a social control mechanism), humans discovered and understood that there exists an inner, spiritual world, populated by various entities, which you can access through specific types of psychophysical practices, rituals and disciplines —such as meditations, visualizations, fasting, chanting, drumming, and dancing – that collectively comprise what we now call shamanism.
Shamans believe(d) that entering this spirit world through various meditation and visualization practices has profound positive effects on both mental and physical health. Some research has provided preliminary support for the use of shamanic practices to improve mental and physical health.
Since shamanic practices are found in all native cultures, it is reasonable to believe that they contribute(d) to human success. If they had been harmful or neutral, Natural Selection would have favored the survival of individuals and tribes that did not engage in shamanism, and shamanic peoples would have died out.
Modern States and religions have always regarded the so-called “witch doctors” of native people to be the greatest threat to their hegemony. The reason is likely that shamanism teaches people that they have a direct connection to spiritual resources and guidance that are not controlled by central authorities.
If you are interested in learning some meditation and visualization
practices that can help you break free from internal and external
masters, consider picking up a copy of Tracy’s book The Strong Spirit