Why You Are Not Free, Ch. 11: The Burning-IssuesTrap

by Griffyn

All right, it’s time to move on to the eleventh chapter of the book, “How I found freedom in an unfree world” by Harry Browne

Harry is going to talk about the myth that you must be fix social issues before you can be free.

I will simply be adding the parts of the book that I highlighted.

By no means is this the entire book or even the best way to sum up each chapter, it’s just what I highlighted so that I could review the book quickly later.

Chapter 11: The Burning-Issues Trap.

To be free, you must know what you’re doing and why. Otherwise, slight setbacks can cause you to discard your plans and give up.

The Burning-Issues Trap

THE BURNING-ISSUE TRAP is the belief that there are compelling social issues that require your participation.

You can enslave yourself by assuming a responsibility to observe, judge, and correct any social problems. For the problems will continue indefinitely. They’ll never be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. The demands upon your time, energy, and money can never cease.

Campaigns for social change are excellent examples of the indirect alternative—working through others to get what you want. Your success depends on the responses of literally thousands of people. Your control over the situation is minute.

     The existence of evil isn’t a claim upon you. “Evil” will always exist in the world. To accept as a principle that you must fight something because it’s evil is to believe you must fight anything that’s evil. There’s no end to the number of evils that could command your attention. Is that all your life is for—to spend it fighting evil?


But you can get a better perspective on the issue if you ask yourself a few questions:

1. How much do you really know about the issue in which you’re about to get involved?
2. How do you know the solutions sought will end the problem?
3. Is the issue really of significance to you?
4. Is it possible that you’re responding to social pressure rather than genuine concern over the issue?

Solving Problems

If an issue concerns you, there are both direct and indirect alternatives available to you. The indirect alternative is to try to change the prevailing social trend—which involves changing others. The direct alternatives are the ways by which you can handle the problem so that it doesn’t affect you personally.

Ask yourself what you’d do if you were sure you couldn’t change the attitudes of others. What then would you do by yourself to keep the problem from affecting you? If you approach it on that basis, you usually find that there are many more direct alternatives available than you’d noticed while you were busy trying to change others.

You’re not going to live forever. With the years ahead of you, why not start now to concentrate on making your life as meaningful, free, exciting, and joyous as possible?
You are the most important issue in the world. What happens in the social issues is only incidental; to concentrate on them is to approach the matter much too indirectly. What you do directly for yourself will have a far greater impact on your life than what you do in response to the burning issues of society.

Make your life the issue.


Back: Why You Are Not Free, Ch. 10: The Utopia Trap
Next: Coming Soon

Categories: Harry Browne, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World

Leave a Reply