Tag Archives: slavery

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave

Haydn James just wrote the following to me after he read  one of the books from the recommended reading section of this blog, A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass,  an American Slave.  I’m posting Haydn’s communication to suggest other people read that book as well as consider reading some of the other books there too. 

Marty,

I am sometimes slow on the uptake but I get there eventually. For  some years now you have recommended reading the account by Fredrick
Douglas of his life as a slave. To be honest, I thought: “Slavery is an abomination and shouldn’t be allowed, but that’s the long and the short of it so what’s to be gained by reading an account on the subject?”

Having just finished reading it I believe there is everything to be
gained.

There is no shift, mechanism, trick or means of domination used by
the slave master of old that isn’t used by David Miscavige. There
is no feeling, thought or emotion experienced by a slave that isn’t
felt by a Sea Org member, staff member or Scientologist under
Miscavige’s savage rule. There was no rationale, mind-set,
compromise or acceptance made by a slave that isn’t made by
Scientologists that are still trapped.

Some may say: “Sure but slaves were born to slavery whereas
Scientologists and Sea Org members volunteered for servitude.”
Well, I would say this: “In addition to the fact that I know of no
one that signed up for servitude, it was thrust upon them by
ambush, check out the accounts of children and youth that were born
into Scientology.”

I would much prefer to find differentiation rather than association
but between Mr. Douglas’ account of slavery and my experiences as a
Scientologist, staff and Sea Org member under Miscavige in the last
thirty years, as hard as I tried, I could only find association.

I have long sought the answer to the question of why do some shake
off Miscavige’s suppressive chains while others accept them,
reluctantly resolve to go along with the status quo and do nothing,
and some even go so far as to slavishly support their master? .

I finally found the answer in Mr. Douglas’ book — a very important
work.

Freedom is the senior datum, always was, always will be. Those left
in the “church” are enslaved because they have relegated freedom to
a junior level. They continue to make freedom less important than
the “Church” of Scientology and so are able to be enslaved by its
self appointed ruler. It’s an alteration of truth and natural law
that will persist until the matter is rectified. Until resolved
they will continue to feel all the sufferings that slaves of old
did.

Though it is 2011, I now consider myself an abolitionist. Slavery
is masquerading as religion and in a perverse twist of fate is
using a movement that had total freedom as its goal.

Total freedom is still the goal.

Haydn James

A couple of observations.  While Douglass writes of being a slave, more importantly the narrative recounts his metamorphosis from that beingness  into that of a free man.  I recommended the book because I believe there is no difference in the evolution he navigated and that which must be negotiated by anyone living with a slave-like mentality, whether that state was enforced from birth physically or mentally or was self imposed. Here is a man who was born into slavery but recognized he remained in that state first and foremost because he agreed to continue to do so on some level.  If Frederick Douglass could escape that prison mentally, then physically, then continue to work on his freedom and get there spiritually in the mid 1800s – all on his lonesome – then not a single one of us has any excuse to continue to walk about with shackled minds.  It is about removing the shackles of other-determinism and walking the walk of self-determinism.