Once, I read about a man in a concentration camp, who simply refused to agree that he was a slave. He not only accepted extreme torture in return for his refusal everyday, but also taught his son to do the same.
I also studied saints who turned warriors when challenged by abusive rulers. These humans didn’t fight for life, power, or vengeance. They accepted being skinned, burned, and nailed alive. They chose death and torture instead of giving up the one main thing— the freedom to think. Mental slavery was non-negotiable to them.
The entire globe is sprinkled with similar stories of oppression. They are still evident in families, corporations, religions, and politics. Life continues to raise oppressors to show us what we keep missing. More than the physical body, oppressors felt threatened by another human’s mind. It wasn’t so much our “ability” to think (memorizing), but our “freedom” to think (learn) that scared them.
Many saintly beings gave up their lives for this liberty, implying that our lives were worthless without it. Naturally, one with a free mind would wonder what they saw in it. They saw our only portal to the future. Only a mind free to reflect upon itself, could raise its understanding to the next level. In other words, it would evolve us as a species. They were right. Without the possibility of evolving, we were as good as dead.
Today, most of us have the ability and the freedom to think, but rarely do we take the “liberty” to think. Our own mind keeps us too busy to pay attention to us. Perhaps, it is afraid of going against authority, or what lies beyond it.