How To Escape From Mental Cages

I imagine as if whatever social conditioning I received, created a mental cage for me.

What divides the inside of the cage and the outside of the cage is what you are conditioned to think is possible and what you are conditioned to think is impossible. You might think that you have actually thought you can do something or you can’t do something, but it’s possible that you haven’t and that social conditioning is making you think that you have thought about those things without actually thinking about them thoroughly.

This can be harmful in many cases, especially when you automatically feel that you can’t do something, which you could do.

I also imagine that the cage’s gate is widely open or that you have the key to open that gate, but you are conditioned not to escape from the cage even though you can do that easily if you want. I don’t know why the cage is designed that way, but that’s how it is done.

So, imagine that you are in a mental cage of your own. What would you do?

1. Do nothing. Let’s say the mental cage is rather comfortable. You might notice you could escape from the case, or you might not. But you are more inclined towards staying there, because you’re safe in the cage. So, you might as well stay there and live a peaceful life.

2. Do something. You’re not happy that you’re captured in the cage. Why would you stay when you could be outside the cage and do more? Good news: Once you choose to get out of the cage, it’s easy to do so. The gate is pretty much non-existent. Bad news: You’re conditioned to stay away from that gate. So, you are scared shitless to go through the gate. What would you do?

2.1. Do nothing. OK, back to 1, really. You’ve entertained the thought of being free from the mental cage, but you eventually decide to stay in the cage. Social conditioning won. But hey, it’s not a bad place after all… or so they say.

2.2. Do something. You’re scared shitless, but you realize you were conditioned to feel that way and nothing terrible happens even if you go through the gate. So, you do go through the gate. Nothing terrible happens. Congratulations, you are free from the mental cage.

But then what happens?

Maybe the mental cage was in a bigger mental cage, though the gate for this bigger cage is widely open as well. Maybe you’ll have to go through a few more gates in order to be free from mental cages.

I think of my own mental cage situation this way. I realized I was in a mental cage, and I managed to escape from a few, but I’m sure I’ll find more gates to go through. The keys to the gates seem to be 1) realizing you’re in a mental cage, 2) questioning assumptions you have, and 3) choosing what works for you and knowing why you choose it that way.

For example, I tend to be polite in a Japanese way (whatever that means). I realize this tendency of mine is something I got through social conditioning. It’s a mental cage. I ask myself about the idea of politeness in this cultural specific way. It might work in other cultural contexts or it might not.

Let’s say I consider pros and cons and I reach the conclusion that I want to be polite as much as possible in any circumstance. That’s what works for me, and I want to be polite, because I think that’s a good way to show respect to others in any context. OK, why do I think that’s a good way? I could keep asking questions like this and dig deeper.

The point here is that the idea of being polite turned from something that was shoved to me by social conditioning to something I chose by going through these steps above.

This is how you escape from your mental cages.

One of the stories that inspired me and keep inspiring me most is Franz Kafka’s short story called Before The Law. The idea of mental cage as I wrote above was inspired by this story as well. I highly recommend you to read it.

Let me ask again. Imagine you are in a mental cage. What would you do?

I refuse to live in a mental cage that society shoved to me. I choose to get out and I choose mental freedom.

Open Relationships, Honesty, Jealousy, and Freedom

I enjoyed reading Colin Wright’s book “Iceland India Interstate”, because…

1) Colin intrigues me as a person. He is a serial entrepreneur and a full time traveler. His readers vote for his destinations and he lives in chosen countries for 4 months.

2) I like his writing style. It’s calm and unpretentious.

3) This book is based on his experiences. It’s essentially about how Colin met Jóna and about their trip.

4) Colin talks about the topics I’m interested in. If you are interested in long term travels, freedom, personal growth, open relationships, and the like, you will enjoy reading it, I believe.

Colin’s book made me think of the following topics: open relationships, honesty, jealousy, and freedom. I want to share my thoughts with you.

Open relationships
I don’t think I have specifically mentioned this before, but I’m an open relationship type of guy. The reason why I choose to be this way is a conclusion derived from some of the beliefs I have.

Being open means that being in a relationship with one person doesn’t exclude being in a relationship with another person.

Likewise, I believe that there’s no end to a relationship unless you completely forget about that relationship. Whether you are physically with someone doesn’t matter, but whether you have great memories with that person matters more to me. I want to continue my relationships with people in this sense. I don’t close them. I leave them open.

The rest of the topics I mentioned above are, in fact, relevant to open relationships very much.

Honesty is important in any kind of relationship. Being honest doesn’t necessarily mean being hurtful or violent.

Being honesty is also about being open. Sharing your thoughts and feelings as honestly as possible is, I believe, essential in any kind of relationship, not just in open relationships. So, note that I’m not saying being in an exclusive relationship entails some kind of dishonesty.

How honest are you? I’m working on being more and more honest.

Somehow, I became one of the world’s least jealous guys in the last few years, though I wasn’t that jealous to begin with. In the context of relationship, I believe it’s probably because I let go of the possessive thinking.

Colin makes a good point about jealousy.

Getting rid of jealousy opens all kinds of doors, and what do you give up in the tradeoff? Feeling like crap, and the desire to make others feel like crap. Bitterness. The feeling that you are less than someone else, when in reality you’re only comparing your inside with someone else’s outside (which is never a fair comparison).

If you get jealous easily… why? Just like worrying won’t solve any problems and it will give you some extra stress, jealousy won’t give you what you want either. You can train yourself to be less jealous. Do you think it would be better for you if you were less jealous?

Freedom is one of my core values. There may be a number of constraints around you, but you can still be free. In fact, I believe you are already free in one sense, because you can be aware of choices you have and make your own decisions. I believe this is the most important kind of freedom as well.

And it’s great when you can give that freedom… or rather, when you don’t restrict that freedom by binding others. Again, it doesn’t matter whether you are in an open relationship or in an exclusive relationship.

There’s a King Arthur story that Colin’s book reminded me of. You can read it here. In short, it’s about giving someone sovereignty… freedom of choice… allowing someone (a woman, in this story) to choose on his/her own.

You’re giving a gift when you can let others be who they are and even who they want to be.


If what I wrote above made you think, there’s a great chance you’ll enjoy Colin’s book. You can read the first chapter of the book from his site.

I’m curious to know what your thoughts are on these topics as well. Let’s talk.