Mark 5:4

for, though he had many times been left secured with fetters and chains, he had snapped the chains and broken the fetters to pieces, and no one could master him.


external control brings revolutionary fervor
freedom is a foretaste of heaven
until freedom tries to control freedom
in which case it is hell for all

no one is strong enough to avoid revolt
against their strongest strength
no one is wise enough to avoid questions
of their most cogent and beautiful aphorism

from coaxing day and clay forward
to forcibly exiling a step out of line
to invincibly guarding life’s sustainability
journeys need joining not ending


Binding another, hand and foot, means they are an official “nobody”. We do that with official slavery by violence. We also do it in more subtle ways such as wages. People are enslaved by way of whips and fountain pens.

In addition to our usual expectation of someone needing a straitjacket because they are “mad”, be sure to factor in sheer anger at being dismissed. “Control”, here, may be read as “Silence”. Given the ways in which Jesus has asked for those healed to be silent about their new life situation, Jesus, here, is about to unsilence someone. With references to both military and industrial/economic (mega-swinery) oppressions, we might wonder if we need an up-dated loosing of complaints about structural slavery in our time and place.

It is labels like “mad”, “crazy”, “liberal”, “unrealistic”, and the like that are used to control/silence whistle-blowers and others recognizing pain and waste. Those, like Socrates and Jesus, who use questions and parables are always open to charges of corrupting the young and vulnerable when we are obviously in the best of all possible systems—for those in charge.

At some point “toughness” runs out of toughness. The falsity of violence and its avoidance becomes evident enough that sufficient mini-resistances are accumulated and Empires, Institutions, Corporations crack and eventually crumble. This is a potential transition from the way power works to the way mercy gambols within and between lives. A faint unchained melody reaches the edges of consciousness through a variety of Ways and clarifies through actual experiences beyond creedal expressions—good news worth a changed life.

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