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Instinctively, one's first thought of prison brings to mind a material idea, a notion of physical oppression, constraint, 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 themselves from their present circumstances, as they are continuously reminded of their predicament through every facet of their senses. For many, this is a notion that evokes much fear and anxiety. It is our 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 prison’s manifestation. 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. In this way, mainstream narratives have left most feeling blissful and free and in control, so long as all physical limitations are eliminated. To be sure such people are both the luckiest and most condemned among us. There are those, however, who experience another reality, a reality that defines the most crippling 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 one’s defining values be seen, or one’s assumptions felt? This is a prison of unimaginable breadth, of ubiquitous proportions. In this prison one can spend an eternity trying to dig themselves out, to no avail. Yet, through this process, the most auspicious freedom is created.
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