It goes without saying that a jail restricts the freedom of the prisoner. In fact it’s not so simple. A jail needs a jailer and a whole infrastructure of administration in order to be effective. The activity of maintaining a prison can itself become a prison.
Sometimes the world is out of control and I have to implement measures to get it back into control, right? If I didn’t create rules, then people would do what they want. Some workers are like children and you have to keep an eye on them all the time. People are incompetent, irresponsible; they don’t care or are simply misguided. If it weren’t for my measures and vigilance, God knows what sort of chaos might take over. Of course, there are so many areas outside of my control, but if I can do my bit in my area, then I feel at least I have accomplished something.
I do this every day. It seems every time I relax, all hell breaks loose. So I am always a bit on edge. At night, I have trouble sleeping. Things often don’t go the way I want them to and I worry about this. People don’t always appreciate my actions, some even avoid me, but I’m not here to run a popularity contest. I know what needs to be done and there is no one but me who can do it. It’s a thankless job and sometimes I wonder, but I pull on.
When we try to control others we make a fundamental error about human nature, that people can be controlled. In this view, good people are those who submit, and bad people are those who are outside our control. In actuality the urge towards freedom is the most powerful urge there is in the human psyche. When we believe we can go against this urge, we end up spawning an endless series of problems. People who are forced to do things either rebel, or they comply and compliance generally leads to passive aggressive behaviour. If we want the cooperation of others, we have to win them over, and we win over others by respecting their freedom.
When we fail to respect the freedom of others, we in effect are disrespecting our own freedom. We believe that the freedom of others is one thing and our freedom is another. But freedom and the urge towards freedom is that same in all. Respect freedom in others because in doing so you are not freeing others but yourself.