The Suburban Captive
The main task, effort, lesson, understanding or goal (whatever you want to call it) for the suburban captive is to learn how to be completely content and happy within their captivity. No easy undertaking and often one must go through years of hating and denying their captivity in order to get to a place where they are able to embrace and make friends with it.
These years of denying and hating captivity and the experiences that a person has when in this stage or state (depression, emptiness, self-destruction, addiction and excessive boredom) can be the subject matter for volumes upon volumes of books. Outside of a few novels and essays, this subject matter has yet to be undertaken or covered by writers.
Everyone who lives in the suburbs experiences suburban captivity. There is just no way around it when living in the suburbs. Avoiding captivity when living in the suburbs is like avoiding getting wet when swimming in the ocean. Cannot happen.
Captivity is occurring when there is no place for a person to go where they can feel permanently freed. A person in suburban captivity can’t go anywhere and be authentically free. They are held captive in and by their homes. Even though a home and garden can be incredibly beautiful, comfortable and filled with all kinds of delights- a person is still captive there because they really have no place to go.
The vast majority of people who live in the suburbs are continually trying to escape from their captivity. Their lives are a continual effort to escape. They travel, they go out to restaurants, they go to movies, they go hiking, they go to work, they go to friend’s homes, they go to bars, they go to parties, they watch television, they are obsessed with the cell phones- always trying to escape captivity. But this way of life is very draining and often they embrace their captivity when they have no energy left.
The suburban captive who has fully embraced his captivity is full of energy but does not use this energy to go anywhere. Instead, he uses the energy to successfully live a life while embracing suburban captivity.
Those who are preoccupied with trying to escape their captivity, deep down know that there is no place to go. Even though they often think about all the things they have to do and all the places they want to go- they often know that this doing and going and consuming never really delivers them the escape they are searching for. The reason for this is because this constant doing, going and consuming is what causes much of the captivity in the first place. One is wrong in thinking that escape equals freedom. What kind of prisoner escapes and experiences more freedom as a result? Very few.
Most suburban captives search for escape their entire lives. Some finally realize that there is actually no place to go, no place to escape to. They then stop needing to leave their homes (unless necessary) and begin learning how to enjoy captivity. How to really settle in. This is not a surrender but instead it is an embrace. It is a way of life that can bring a person great fulfillment when done correctly.
The suburban captive is held captive by their homes, their expenses, their banks, their garden, their television, their dogs, their furniture, their books, their records, their appliances, their electricity, their water- all the things which make up a suburban life. These things erect an invisible wall around a person which shelters them from the chaos of the outside world. But in order to maintain this shelter a person must work, and the unpleasantness of this work for money often causes the suburban captive to long for escape.
More escape just builds bigger walls that a person will never be able to climb over or break through.
The true suburban captive has stopped needing to go out. They go to work and go out for a few things (occasional meals, trips to the market and social situations) but they no longer need to go out into the world. They once went out into the world to do things, to buy things, to have experiences- but they eventually realized that this does not work. They reach a point where they realize they are living in captivity and that there is no escape from it. Like any skilled captive in any situation, at this point the suburban captive embraces their captivity. They learn to build a fulfilling life within the walls (which is actually how to get rid of the walls) that can never be seen from the outside. Suburban walls exist within.
Once the suburban captive has reached the stage of embracing their captivity, realizing that escape cannot be found in buying things, going out, spending money, promiscuous sex, alcohol, socializing and even working- this is the stage when the suburban captive begins to deepen their relationship within themselves. The successful suburban captive is at home within. A fully realized person. Self-actualized. Nothing any longer stresses him out. He is completely fulfilled and at peace within himself, therefore nothing outside himself can cause much distress. Most suburban captives are continually getting stressed out because they are avoiding settling in to themselves. They are still look for escape on the outside.
The suburban captive who has embraced their captivity knows that they exist in captivity. They have accepted their captivity even though no one can see the walls. From the outside everything looks affluent, privileged, free, calm and beautiful so no one imagines that captivity could occur. How could you be held captive when living within such beauty? But it is exactly the act of owning and sustaining these things which creates the suburban captive. The only way that the suburban captive can truly be free and happy within this kind of affluent captivity (the worst kind of captivity is the kind of captivity which everyone is experiencing, but no one talks about because they think their captivity is their freedom) is to acknowledge and embrace the captivity which they have taken suburban residence in.
Once a suburban captive has done this, once they have had enough of the pain involved in trying to escape, they can get down to the real business of cultivating a truly fulfilling life from within, at home.