The word encumbered means to be ridden with debt. And we all know the way that people accumulated wealth in the past: sell those who had debt into slavery.
If we study a lot of Christian morality, it’s about “forgiving the debt of others”, literal monetary debt. Because debt is what caused people to be sold into slavery, or would actually cause your children to be sold into slavery. Or often, debt would shackle future generations of children, because of their (sometimes irresponsible, and sometimes innocent) parents.
In today’s world, there’s a notion of the “golden handcuffs”; our stuff that ends up owning us (Fight Club). Or the idea of the “rat race”. This is a concept I explored in my new photography hardcover book, “SUITS“.
What we truly desire is freedom
I rewatched Fight Club on my 20 hour flight from Singapore to Los Angeles and meditated on consumerist culture and capitalism.
The good news is this:
We have the most personal freedom ever in human history.
However many of us are white-collar slaves to the system, because we have debt. Home debt, car debt, credit card debt. This is what keeps us in jobs we hate, and this is how we lose our personal freedom:
If you have debt, you’re a slave. Because you are handcuffed to your job, which gives you a steady salary (to pay off your debts), but then the additional problem is that consumerist society suckers us into desiring more and more material stuff (which just gets us more into debt, and even more enslaved to our jobs).
The simple solution is to get rid of your debt. To either decide to “downgrade” your lifestyle, get rid of stuff you don’t need, or even in extreme cases, declare bankruptcy to start again from scratch; like a fresh reboot.
I still remember the fear of debtors calling my parents on the phone as a child. It was my duty to always lie and tell the debtors on the phone that my parents weren’t home. And of course it didn’t help that my dad got us further into debt by gambling away my mom’s hard earned rent money.
Thus growing up, I thought money was the devil, because it caused so much pain, suffering, and strife in my family. But now I realize it ain’t money which is the devil, it’s debt!
So long story short, my suggestions:
- Avoid accumulating debt at all costs, if you love freedom in your life.
- If you have debt, seek ways to get out of debt as humanly possible.
- Don’t buy new shit if you’re already in debt.