Big Leaf Maples

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We hold to the definition that Cognitive Liberty is the absolute sovereignty of one’s own consciousness, with freedom of thought and self-ownership.

We believe a person should never be forced to change his or her consciousness against his or her will, but may retain the right to change his or her mind, or alter his or her mind through any means chosen by the individual, including but not limited to; faith, ritual, dance, music, meditation, yoga, fasting, art, sex, love, plants, solitude, communion, time in nature, or death.

The individual has the right to complete body, spirit, emotional and intellectual self-ownership, free from all forms of violence, including the threat of psychological or physical violence. All forms of individual, institutional, or structural violence impede cognitive liberty.

Some forms of violence which threaten absolute sovereignty of one’s consciousness include, but are not limited to: poverty, racism, sexism, Islamophobia, ableism, bullying, homophobia, capital punishment, torture, political or social repression, occupation, war, narrative or language control , time or space control, , curtailment of creative or intellectual expression, and separation from nature, spirit, family, or community (community defined by individuals not states, nations, or other forms of arbitrarily imposed borders, separating people and impeding dialogue).

We postulate individuals suffer from an increasingly fragmented, militarized society and culture. Evidence of such is found throughout our daily institutional interface with: education, government, employment, medicine and public life. We pose the perpetrator of violence within a fragmented, militarized society is also victimized, losing sovereignty of his or her consciousness when oppressing or violating a fellow human, other living being, or the earth.

Articles posted at CognitiveLiberty.net address one or more hindrances or enhancements of Cognitive Liberty.

If you would like to contribute an article to our site please contact us.

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Szasz consistently pays attention to the power of language in the establishment and maintenance of the social order, both in small interpersonal as well as wider socio-political spheres:
"The struggle for definition is veritably the struggle for life itself. In the typical Western two men fight desperately for the possession of a gun that has been thrown to the ground: whoever reaches the weapon first shoots and lives; his adversary is shot and dies. In ordinary life, the struggle is not for guns but for words; whoever first defines the situation is the victor; his adversary, the victim. For example, in the family, husband and wife, mother and child do not get along; who defines whom as troublesome or mentally sick?...the one who first seizes the word imposes reality on the other; the one who defines thus dominates and lives; and the one who is defined is subjugated and may be killed."

People who have been displaced experience "root shock." Root shock is the traumatic stress reaction to the loss of some or all of one's emotional ecosystem. Root shock can follow natural disaster, development-induced displacement, war, and changes that play out slowly such as those that accompany gentrification. The concept of "root shock" was adapted from gardening by Dr. Mindy Fullilove. She learned about root shock from people who had been displaced by urban renewal in the 1950s and 1960s. Her research was published in the book Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America and What We Can Do About It.

Crisis in Japan, March 2011
The massive destruction in Japan, following the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis, and the massive destruction in the US Gulf Coast area caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, created "root shock" on a grand scale. Dr. Fullilove's team created a list of "Nine Habits of Highly Effective Recovery":
Acknowledge everyone’s suffering, including your own.
Practice democracy-in-diaspora using radios, newspapers and the internet.
Build ecological cities, beautiful, sustainable, human-sized.
Ensure every citizen has the right to return home.
Ensure that local companies and workers rebuild the affected areas.
Give excellent medical care to all.
Support families as they re-establish themselves.
Celebrate the area’s history and culture.
Be generous with the paper clips.

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