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Instinctively, one's first thought of prison brings to mind a corporeal construct, a notion of physical oppression, restraint, and isolation; an idea about the way in which the prisoner is displaced from the masses and subjected to live in the most limited of space, unseen and forgotten by the outside world. In such a place, the prisoner is thought of as unable to escape, unable to detach herself from her present circumstances as she is continuously reminded of her predicament through every facet of her senses. For many, this is a notion that evokes much fear and anxiety. It is hell incarnate and is to be avoided at all cost. Yet, beyond this traditional conception, little attention is paid to the alternative ways in which one could envision the manifestation of such an edifice. What often remains to be seen is the way in which we all already exist, consciously or not, in an immaterial expression of one of our most feared structures. Conventional narratives reinforce the idea that, so long as all physical limitations are eliminated, individuals should feel blissful and free and in control. To be sure, individuals who accept this narrative are both the luckiest and most condemned among us. They are free, yes, but paradoxically so, able to thrive only within the constraints imposed by the dogma of materialism. There are those, however, who experience another reality. They define the most crippling - though less immediate - prison as that which bounds us all and is escapable by none. The shackles of this prison are intangible; they cannot be seen or felt or broken by force. How, after all, can values be seen or prejudices felt? This is a prison of unimaginable breadth, of ubiquitous proportions. In this prison one can spend an eternity trying to dig herself out, to no avail. Yet, through this struggle the most auspicious freedom emerges.
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