Personal liberty is an elemental, irreducible, ultimately undeniable form of truth. And the truth always wins, whether in a person's life or the life of a nation. This is why the story of Egypt today is the story of every man or woman who has known oppression and lived long enough to bear witness to the fact that it is, ultimately, an unsustainable perversion of the Nature of Man.
A good deal of my work as a psychiatrist involves restoring autonomy to the people who visit me for help. Their lives have drifted, in one way or another, outside of their control.
Some of them are hostage to self-defeating ways of thinking that are legacies of having their best intentions frustrated by controlling, unloving parents.
Some of them are hobbled by so desperately trying to avoid painful memories that they have become enslaved by anesthetics like alcohol or cocaine or heroin or compulsive gambling or compulsive eating.
Some of them have labored for many years to make marriages work in which there is no real intimacy, because their true thoughts and feelings and dreams are not embraced.
Some of them have had such cruelties visited upon them in life, through no choice of their own, that their capacity for empathy has been shattered, and they have themselves committed terrible acts of violence.
Try to live a long time according to the dictates of another, suppressing your reality, at a distance from free will, and you will fall victim to depression, addiction, anxiety, psychosis or disabling rage. It is inescapable. And it is in the inevitable turmoil, the failure of a false center, the instability of a fake foundation, that the hope for Resurrection--for genuine freedom of thought and action--always lies.
So it is today in Egypt. An entire nation is waking up to the fact that there is no substitute for real self-determination, there is no benevolence in any dictatorship. The failure to live or die for autonomy--the ceding of self to a force that opposes freedom of thought and freedom of speech and, therefore, freedom to dream--is a disease state no different than psychosis or heroin dependence. It is a perversion of the true nature of man, mimicking cancer in the way that one cell type in the body fails to respect the boundaries of others, ultimately and inevitably obliterating the very structures necessary for the maintenance of well-being and, ultimately, for life itself.
Certainly, patients of mine lurch from one way to avoid self-determination to another. They may leave an abusive relationship, only to enter another. They may put down alcohol and begin to eat compulsively. They may attempt to use antidepressants or Adderall or any other psychopharmacological solution as a complete answer to restoring their will to live free lives consistent with their God-given potential and path. They may leave homes in which they were subjugated, only to join lock-step groups that are no better. But, ultimately and thankfully, none of these ways of avoiding the self--of avoiding liberty--work for long. Only genuine, individual insight, leading to independent thought and action, is curative.
Egypt may, like other nations have, veer away from a strong man toward the tyranny of extremism. We have seen this before. But that is no different than a body, depleted of its natural immunity, hosting one disease after another. Because the way mankind was intended to live, consistent with his soul, is in freedom. Anything less is illness. Mass psychological disease. A culture-wide psychiatric, neurological, ethical, moral epidemic. And, ultimately, the culture either restores itself to liberty, or it dies. This is the natural order of things. It is as it should be.
Until Egyptians are free, being Egyptian is, by definition, a disease state.
The Constitution of the United States, seen this way, is not a set of ideas, it is a transcribing of truth, consistent with the only healthy, sustainable manner in which human beings can exist--in freedom.
God Bless America.
Dr. Keith Ablow is a psychiatrist and member of the Fox News Medical A-Team. He is a New York Times best-selling author, and co-author, with Glenn Beck, of the upcoming book “The 7: Seven Wonders that Will Change Your Life.” Dr. Ablow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.