In conjunction with this picture, Virginia Woolf has a lot of great quotes, but I think this is my absolute favorite from A Room Of One’s Own:
“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.”
That’s such a powerful message to me because there are always those that are trying to silence you. Whether we’re talking those in a position of authority with the most potential to do so (laws and whatnot) or even personal connections, people do what they can to put you down. It’s not even so much the physical aspect of say, banning a book or other forms of censorship, but the mental games. That is, people do attempt to put “locks on your mind.”
We all know the stories of the successful person that has that one person in their life that said they weren’t going to amount to anything or ever be successful. Then, of course, they were. Those little games can prey on your mind over time, if you allow it because you come to believe its validity.
To the more physical aspect, however, I view writing as my ultimate form of expression. If someone took away my desktop computer, I’d use my laptop to write. If someone took away my laptop, I’d use a typewriter to write. If someone took away my typewriter, I’d used pen and paper or markers, crayons; anything considered a writing utensil to write. If they took away those materials, I’m not sure what I would do at that point. Start etching my thoughts in stone? Perhaps I could paint them into the caves like my forefathers?
The point I’m trying to make is this, as it relates back to the quote and the picture: the mind is the most powerful tool we as humans possess and no amount of legal action, verbal venom or what have you, can take that away. Of course, writers battle the physical degradation of our minds, in which case, then, I’ll just write faster, as my mind withers.
You can’t stop expression. You simply cannot.
The only problem is when the mind has already been gotten at (brainwashing); thereby nullifying any manifestation of expression. I find such a situation unbearably tragic. Without expression, what are we, just vessels of flesh and bones without meaning or purpose other than that derived by its controller?
For me, writing brings forth the liberation of my mind. Without it, I would surely go insane. I don’t mean that hyperbolically. I mean that writing is cathartic; it’s like the sane filter for my insanity potential.
For others, it could be a number of other things used to expressed themselves, but I’d argue, the moment we allow authority to dictate our own freedom, is the most we might as well forfeit our essence as human beings. Authority from any direction or place, ought to always be questioned, guarded against and viewed as hostile to the very liberation we ought to seek.
The seeds of liberation are planted in the mind, lest we forget to water it from time to time, the soil will become infertile. This is my fear and this is what I write for.