The Word Foundation


Harold W. Percival



Slavery or Freedom?

Webster says that slavery is: “The condition of a slave; bondage. Continued and wearisome labor, drudgery.” And also that a slave is: “A person held in bondage. One who has lost control of himself, as to vice, lust, etc.”

Stated plainly, human slavery is the state or condition in which a person is obliged to live in bondage to a master and to nature, who must obey the demands of master and of nature, without regard to his choice as to what he would or would not do.

The word freedom, as used in this book, is the state or condition of the self of desire-and-feeling as the conscious Doer in the body when it has detached itself from nature and remains unattached. Freedom is: To be and will and do and have, without attachment to any object or thing of the four senses. That means, that one is not attached in thought to any object or thing of nature, and that one will not attach oneself to anything. Attachment means bondage. Intentional detachment means freedom from bondage.

Human slavery is specifically concerned with the conscious self in the body. The conscious self is urged and goaded even against its will to yield to the appetites, lusts and passions engendered by the nature of the body in which it is bound. Instead of being the master of the body, the self may become the slave of alcohol, of drugs, of tobacco, as it always is the slave of sex.

This slavery is of the conscious self in the body of the “free man,” as well as in the body of the bond slave to his owner. So it must continue until the self knows that it is not the body in which it is enslaved. Whereas, by finding and freeing oneself from slavery to the body one would thereby immortalize the body and be greater than the learned men and rulers of the world.

In ancient times when the ruler of a people desired to conquer another ruler he would lead his forces to battle into that other’s territory. And if successful he could drag the conquered ruler at the wheels of his chariot if he so willed.

History tells us that Alexander the Great is the most remarkable example of a world conqueror. Born 356 B.C., he gained power over all Greece; conquered Tyre and Gaza; was crowned on the throne of Egypt, as Pharaoh; founded Alexandria; destroyed the Persian power; defeated Porus in India; and then withdrew from India to Persia. As death was near he asked Roxane, his favorite wife, to secretly drown him in the Euphrates River so that people would believe, from his disappearance, that he was a God, as he had claimed, and had returned to the race of Gods. Roxane refused. He died in Babylon, a world conqueror at the age of 33. Just before his death, on being asked to whom he would leave his conquests, he was able to answer only in a whisper: “To the strongest.” He died in slavery to his ambitions—a bond slave to his appetites and outrageous feelings and desires. Alexander conquered kingdoms of the earth, but he was himself conquered by his own baseness.

But, with Alexander as a conspicuous example, why and how is man made a slave to nature by his own feelings and desires? To understand that, it is necessary to see where feeling-and-desire is in the physical body, and how, by its own doing, it is controlled and enslaved by nature. This will be seen from the relation of the physical body to its feeling-and-desire self within the body.

This relation—to briefly recapitulate—is carried on for nature by means of the involuntary nervous system, and for the conscious self by the voluntary nervous system, as follows: The senses are the roots of nature in the breath-form, in the front part of the pituitary body; feeling-and-desire as the conscious self, with the body-mind, feeling-mind and desire-mind, is located in the rear part; these two parts of the pituitary are thus adjoining central stations for nature and for the conscious self; the body-mind cannot think of or for feeling-and-desire; it must, therefore, so to say, reach over from the rear part to the front part of the pituitary to think through the senses for nature in the breath-form; and to think it must have the Conscious Light.

The feelings of feeling, as sensations, are carried into nature. The forms of nature are the typal forms as animal and plant forms in nature. They are furnished by the Doer after death, when it temporarily puts off its sensual desire forms; it takes them on again during the next fetal development, and deals with them after entering the new human body during the youth and growth of the body. The thoughts of the human during life maintain the forms of nature by thinking.

The words feeling and desire, slave, slavery, and freedom, are here given more distinct and specific definitions and meanings than in dictionaries. Here, feeling-and-desire is shown to be oneself. You are feeling-and-desire. When you, as feeling-and-desire, quit the body, the body is dead, but you will go on through the after-death states, and will return to earth to take on another human body that will have been prepared for you, the conscious incorporeal feeling-desire self. But while you are in the physical body you are not free; you are a slave to the body. You are bound to nature by the senses and appetites and cravings stronger than chains ever bound the bond slave as a chattel slave to the master he served. The chattel slave knew he was a slave. But you are more or less a willing slave without knowing that you are a slave.

Therefore you are in a situation worse than was the bond slave. Whereas he knew that he was not the master, you do not distinguish yourself from the physical body through which you are enslaved. But, on the other hand, you are in a situation better than the bond slave, because he could not free himself from the slavery to his master. But there is hope for you, because if you will you can distinguish yourself from the body and its senses, by thinking. By thinking you can understand that you do think, and that the body does not and cannot think. That is the first point. Then you can understand that the body cannot do anything without you, and it compels you to obey its demands as dictated by the senses in all occupations. And further, that you are so occupied and impressed with the thinking about sensuous objects and subjects that you do not distinguish yourself as feeling-desire, and as being different from the sensations of the feelings and desires of or for the senses.

Feelings and desires are not sensations. Sensations are not feelings and desires. What is the difference? Feelings and desires are extensions from feeling-desire in the kidneys and adrenals to the nerves and blood where they meet the impact of the units of nature coming through the senses. Where the units contact the feelings and desires in the nerves and blood, the units are the sensations.

Human slavery has been an institution from immemorial time. That is to say, human beings have owned as their own property the bodies and lives of other human beings—by capture, war, purchase or hereditary rights—in all stages of society, from aboriginal barbarism to cultures of civilizations. The buying and selling of slaves was carried on as a matter of course, without question or dispute. Not until the 17th century did a few people, called abolitionists, publicly begin to condemn it. Then the number of abolitionists increased and so did their activities and condemnation of slavery and the slave trade. In 1787 the abolitionists in England found a real and inspired leader in William Wilberforce. During 20 years he fought for the suppression of the slave trade, and after that for the freedom of the slaves. In 1833 the Emancipation Act was carried. The British Parliament thereby put an end to slavery throughout the British Empire. Thirty-two years later, in the United States, The Emancipation Act for freeing the slaves was proclaimed during the Civil War and became an actual fact in 1865.

But freedom from ownership and slavery of bodies is only the beginning of real human freedom. Now we have to face the astonishing fact that the conscious individuals in the human bodies are slaves to their bodies. The conscious individual is incorporeal, intelligent, beyond nature. Nevertheless, he is a slave. In fact he is a so devoted slave to the body that he identifies himself with and as the body.

The conscious self in the body speaks of itself as the name of its body, and one is known and identified by that name. From the time the body is old enough to be taken care of, one works for it, feeds it, cleanses it, clothes it, exercises it, trains and adorns it, worships it in devotional service throughout its life; and when at the end of its days the self leaves the body, the name of that body is graven on a headstone or tomb erected on the grave. But the unknown conscious self, you, would thereafter be spoken of as the body in the grave.

We, the conscious selves, have re-existed in bodies throughout the ages, and have dreamed of ourselves as the bodies in which we then dreamt. It is time to become conscious that we are slaves to the bodies in which we dream, awake or asleep. As the slaves were conscious as slaves who desired freedom, so must we, the conscious slaves in physical bodies, be conscious of our slavery and desire freedom, emancipation, from our bodies which are our masters.

This is the time to think and work for our real emancipation; for the individual freedom of our conscious selves from the bodies in which we live, so that by our becoming conscious as Doer selves we will have changed and transformed our bodies to be superhuman bodies. It is high time for each conscious self to truly understand that life after life through the ages we have been: desire-feeling in a male body, or, feeling-desire in a female body.

Let us ask ourselves: “What is life?” The answer is: You, I, We, have been and are feeling-and-desire—dreaming of ourselves through nature. Life is that, and nothing more or less than that. Now we can affirm and determine that we will diligently strive to discover and to distinguish ourselves within our bodies, and to free ourselves from slavery to our bodies.

Now is the beginning of the real Emancipation—the emancipation of the conscious self in the human body, unconscious that it is the slave of the sexual body that is its master. This age-old slavery has been going on since the days of the legendary Adam, when each conscious self now in a human body became, first, an Adam, and then an Adam and Eve. (See Part V, “The Story of Adam and Eve.”) Marriage is the oldest institution in the world. It is so old that people say it is natural, but that does not make it right and proper. The slave-self has made itself a slave. But that happened long ago and is forgotten. Scripture is quoted to prove that it is right and proper. And it is written in the law books and justified in all law courts of the land.

There are many who will recognize that this self-slavery is wrong. These will be the new abolitionists who will condemn the practice and try to abolish the self-slavery. But large numbers will in all probability ridicule the thought and offer long established evidence that there is no such thing as self-slavery; that mankind is composed of male and female bodies; that physical slavery was a fact in civilized lands; but that self-slavery is a delusion, an aberration of the mind.

However, it is to be expected that others will see and understand the facts concerning self-slavery and engage in telling about it and work for self-emancipation from our sexual bodies in which all are slaves. Then gradually and in due time the facts will be seen and the subject will be dealt with for the good of all mankind. If we do not learn to know ourselves in this civilization, it will be destroyed. So the opportunity for self-knowledge has been deferred in all past civilizations. And we, our conscious selves will have to await the coming of a future civilization to achieve self-knowledge.