FROM THE BOOK: THE SYLLABUS OF MALCOLM X, by Dr. Steven Nur Ahmed

Malcolm X

FREEDOM BY NEGATION

Bimbi operated a machine that stamped a different identification number onto each license plate that rolled down the conveyer belt in the prison factory. Each number was unique even though it was stamped upon the same kind of state plate. Eventually, each number would come to be identified with the characteristics of a car and its owner.

Day after day, as he worked on the conveyer belt line Malcolm would listen to Bimbi. He would wonder to himself about the strange man speaking on “odd subjects.” He was awed by what he described as Bimbi’s mastery of words and the total respect his intelligence commanded from everyone.

The conveyer belt would stop sometimes. Then inmates and even guards would gather around Bimbi’s dimly lighted station. Each would listen intently to Bimbi to discern the words and statements he expressed to them.

Malcolm would listen attentively, too. He watched as others put focused attention upon Bimbi. But while watching he came to understand that each man perceived Bimbi’s speech differently. Though each word Bimbi uttered made identical percussions upon their ears, those same discrete sounds when strung together into statements and then set down side by side to each other became step planks, or were like fine tones fleeing the constraints of their bars and notes. One after the other they would spiral upward to a dizzying height and took each listener on a different trip far away from prison.  Was this simply music he heard? Or was it what thought is?

But Malcolm wondered how could this be? How could Bimbi speak to all and yet at the same time to each man each of whom spoke a different dialect? It was like seeing a bright beam of light refracted through a prism into countless colors. Each color suited to the particular mind it penetrated. Bimbi then turned and looked at Malcolm face to face and spoke to him. He spoke to Malcolm the atheist. Bug-eyed, Malcolm listened.

Bimbi was free in his speech. This was so even though his free speech flowed forth and out of a sequestered body. But there, in prison, it was a true paradox for this man to be so free in his speech yet bound and gagged by society.  Yet, it was not an incomprehensible paradox for it was because Bimbi’s mind was free. Thus what gave his words freedom of flight were the fine unfettered logical threads which wove them together in a mind undaunted by incarceration.  His was a mind in negation. Malcolm must have pondered whether negation was that mysterious power in the mind which like some kind of dark energy levitates consciousness beyond its natural context? A mind in negation is what makes a person free.

There was such clarity of meaning and graphic imagery incased in each sound.  But Bimbi was not religious. He was not a Pagan, a Christian, a Muslim, a Jew, a Buddhist, a Hindu, or an animist. But neither is God religious. God does not pray; God does not seek himself in the confines of a building; God does not do ritual; in fact God is unlisted. But given all that God is not, God is freedom and so too was Bimbi free.  And in that unspoken relation of negation and freedom there was an odd relation to that which Bimbi had.

Malcolm wanted to be free too and if there was a way out of the box he wanted out. He understood that it would have to be by negation not affirmation. He thought then and there that it had to be the way to freedom expounded upon by Bimbi. Malcolm knew that if he could be free there in prison then he could be truly free everywhere and at all times.

Every person is inherently rational and perceives through the agency of their mind and by the exercise of some degree of reason what reality is not.  The problem of knowledge is to eliminate perception and in so doing disappear false assumptions and the shallow frivolous thoughts out of which our perceptions are born. We can see reality as it is in itself by negation so that we can be propelled into the depths of our mind to affirm our true self. That is difficult to do for many reasons. For example, within the context of our human life, we perceive God as a problem to be solved. But what if God is not contextual?  If that be so, then it is not God that is the problem; so, the problem is us.

 

 

FROM THE BOOK: THE SYLLABUS OF MALCOLM X, by Dr. Steven Nur Ahmed

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NUMBERS IN THE MIND’S EYE

The fabric of nature is sewn and held together by numbers.  At night and above the prison yard there must have been times when Malcolm viewed a clear sky revealing to him a majestic display of stars.  And now, and of all places in a prison without any haze to obstruct his view, he must have appreciated the dazzling colorful full spectrum splendor of star light.  He must have understood his infinitesimal smallness in relation to the universe.  How so much less time he had to live when compared to the burning stars and countless planets which litter the night sky.  And even how so much of the star light he saw was but the legacy of stars that had long burned out; yet, though burned out they had been stars which had burned so bright that billions of lights years away they would be known to conscious and sentient creatures to have once existed.

They each had their measured times, distances, velocities, amounts of heat disbursed into cold dark matter, lengths of cycles, and measurable mass. Finally, all of it is intellectually understandable and can be expressed logically in geometrical and numerical form as equations, inequalities, averages, ratios, and proportions on the canvas of the mind’s eye.  A legacy is but a snapshot of an immeasurably short moment.

Malcolm X did not want to die in prison and have his legacy etched as prison graffiti on prison walls. So, to avoid dying in prison and to become the master of his legacy he decided that from thence forward the steps he took would be increasingly measured steps not erratic ones.  He fathomed the meaning of the statement: “to measure is to know”.  While in Charlestown State Prison Malcolm followed the batting average of Jackie Robinson saying that: “…no game ended without my refiguring his average up through his last at bat…” He realized the necessity of arithmetic and its application to solve problems so that he could know where he stood in the moment.

The fact that Malcolm X could refigure Jackie Robinson’s batting average on a daily basis means that Malcolm X knew how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide. To calculate the average of a set of numbers requires the practical application of each arithmetic operation.  His ability to do so is a learned skill driven by the power of logical thinking. He could grasp the theoretical nature of the arithmetic operations and each operations relation to the other.  This leads to another question.

What did Malcolm really know as a result of ‘refiguring?’ Was it simply an average? Or is the implication more fundamental and having to do with the two arithmetical operations adding and subtracting as well as their two sub-alternate operations of multiplying and dividing? In order to get at the answer to that question, let’s go back to his walks around the yard.

Thousands of inmates walking the circuit of the yard for decades must have worn it into a deep trench. It is that beaten path on the yard which shapes their thoughts as the banks of a river give shape to a meandering stream of water. And like the banks of a stream of water it directs the flow of their thinking in relation to their mindscapes. As one walks that beaten path one’s thoughts and conversations pour forth and are molded by it as liquid poured into a mold. Therein some thoughts become heavy and sink while others become lighter and levitate. Such thoughts thus freed from the weight of stress fly free of gravity and then focused downward can see the never ending circle of the yard and the utter futility of those moving around and around it.  Naturally one so freed wants to know the circumference of the circle that held his body and mind and which like a boa constrictor with ever tightening grip around its victim slows the pulse of its victim until the victim dies.

The circumference of a circle, its area, its diameter, and Pi; all are needed to calculate. Those are all characteristics of the yard that one needs to know if one is to escape the never ending route and the deepening trench cut into the circuit of the yard which ties everyone together and which will eventually bury everyone on it.  Along with those figures are methods in the form of equations which are necessary to get precise answers as to why one is going in a circle.

Observing the circular path of the yard Malcolm X must have imagined its composition.  He must have figured out that by use of kite string and a mental compass he could by extending it from one point on the circle to its opposite side draw with a compass four intersecting curves and that by reversing the method he could do the same to the lateral sides of the circle thus drawing four other intersecting curves. And that then he could precisely connect the four intersecting points with straight lines through to the middle of the circle; that would give him the precise center of the circle.  He would have then seen that the radius = ½ D or the diameter divided by 2.

Assuming the yard is a circle, the circumference of the yard is a necessary figure to know. A perfect circle divided by two intersecting lines at its center and creating four quadrants would have been obvious once he imagined the diameter. But how could he measure the length of the diameter and circumference of the yard?  Perhaps he would have measured in feet since he was walking.  There are 5,280 feet in a mile. Assume the yard circuit is a mile. So, the length of the circumference of the yard equals 5,280 feet.  After that he would have needed the diameter.  Let’s say that Malcolm took a short cut by walking across the circuit of the yard instead of around it.  His walk would have described its diameter.  Let’s say that he figured the number of feet as he walked and concluded that it was 1,680.62 feet.  He now had two important figures: the circumference of a circle at 5,280 feet and the diameter at 1,680.62 feet.  Malcolm was now ready to figure something very big. He was about to discover Pi.

First he would have wanted to figure out what percent of the circumference of a circle the diameter is. It would have been a fraction of the circumference: 1680.62/5280 or approximately 32%. So, the decimal .3182 of any circumference is equivalent to its diameter.  Next, he would have noted that the ratio of the circumference of 5,280 feet to the diameter of 1680.62 equals 3.1416. Malcolm had found Pi: 3.1416. He would have simply divided the circumference of a circle by the diameter. Pi is constant. It is always the quotient of the circumference divided by the diameter expressed as a percent of the circumference.

In Egypt it was first calculated as the ratio of 256:81. Pi is the mathematical constant which opens the door to figuring out the circumference and area of any circle. It would help Malcolm understand his inner relation to all things. The core of the earth, planets, sun, other stars, the cells in his body and the magnetic fields which cut through their centers all spoke to him of his inner alignment with the universe. Do you see the patterns?  Malcolm couldn’t and you will not break free from the space which confines your body without first knowing the measurement of the space which occupies you. Yes, ‘the space which occupies you’ because the space which imprisons your thinking is proportional to the space which confines your body. Incarceration is a state of mind.  Malcolm X had crossed the yard; he had gotten off the beaten path.  He smiled. The sky was clear. Malcolm could now see forever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FROM THE BOOK: THE SYLLABUS OF MALCOLM X, by Dr. Steven Nur Ahmed

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Visions in the Darkness of the Hole

At Concord State Prison, Malcolm had what is called an epiphany. An epiphany is a moment of deep insight.  While at Concord State Prison he suddenly realized that he lacked basic academic skills in arts, letters, and science.  While looking at a letter he had written to one of his brothers he decided to compare it to an earlier one he had written and concluded that the latest letter was even more poorly written than the first letter. Malcolm had a sudden realization of truth; he needed to start the learning process. He had accepted the advice from ‘Bimbi’ (Friend), but only Malcolm could go within himself and begin the hard work of self discovery.

The kind of self-criticism which Malcolm experienced is an indicator of personal growth.  He wasn’t fearful of accepting his defects whatever they were and they were many.  It was as though Malcolm stood outside himself and looked at what he saw objectively.  With no denial response, he recognized where he needed to begin work on himself to improve himself.  That is where real lasting change begins. It begins within yourself.

Maybe for a moment Malcolm felt sad. Maybe he even felt depressed because of what he saw. What he saw in himself was a socially disabled person who was unable to live a meaningful life.  What he saw was Malcolm Little, a convict, a loser; dependent upon the state as a criminal for his food, clothing, and shelter. If you’re in prison, then right now you are a loser, too, and if you don’t change you’ll remain a loser; you’ll be dependent for the rest of your life. But despite your present conditions you can become a winner. You can become socially able to be a meaningful contributor to your family and your neighborhood.

If you’ve ever lost any contest be it a track race; a competition for a job; a competition for another person’s love; a contest with yourself to learn a skill; then you know what losing feels like. Nobody feels good after having lost a contest. Loosing is painful; in the extreme it could even result in death. But at the moment you’re feeling the pain of loss you’ve got to also feel something else; you’ve got to feel the urge to live. That urge must be greater than the impulsive fear to quit. Either you’ll never try again by wandering into a crowd never to be heard from again or you’ll find the start line and get on the mark so that you can contest again.

What is it that makes some people seemingly oblivious to the pain of loss and who despite their losses and the pains associated with loss they try and try and try again and again?  Whereas others peel over due to the pain of loss then wander into a crowd and disappear?  The answer is that the one who gets back to the start line has both love and mental calm. That one perceives correctly that one loss does not equal a lost life. Conversely, the quitter is overwhelmed by the anxieties caused by past pains he or she has experienced and looses the enthusiasm and motivation to try and try again.  They perceive their loss as total and conclusive; they run away from the field of contest in fear.

Enthusiasm, motivation, and fearlessness are the forces which drive one’s sentiment for self dignity and the will to succeed. That self dignity makes him or her act in ways which serve their best interests. One who fears will never dare to fight and one who lacks enthusiasm and motivation will lack passion for the fight.  Malcolm had enthusiasm, motivation, and fearlessness but they had been misdirected through his role as ‘Detroit Red’.  As though in a stage play, he was neither the writer of his script nor the director of his actions, but he thought he was. He thought wrong. He was making decisions but he wasn’t making good decisions.  As a consequence of thinking poorly and making poor decisions, Malcolm deteriorated both psychologically and physically. He put himself in the gutters of inner city drama and quagmires. Once there, he could not get himself out.  Malcolm was human waste.  Eventually, he was flushed out of the gutter and into the prison system.

Now, in prison, the moniker of ‘Detroit Red’ was snatched from him. With no direction, the bare naked truth stared back at him off of his cell wall. What he saw was ‘nothing’ reflected back.  He was now to play the role of convict. Instead of being known by a street moniker he would be just another number.  But his inherent fearlessness and passion spewed upward to reinvigorate his sentiment for self dignity. This time, however, he would write his own script and he would direct his actions in ways to serve his best interests. That new role for Malcolm was the role of student and his script would now be written by his own hand.

ARE YOU IN THE HOLE?

Your lives are analogous to the life of Malcolm.  Many of you reading this book have a street moniker or a nick name. It is supposed to characterize your strengths and that your game in ‘the life’ is tight. It is supposed to get respect for you.  But in reality the moniker you have is an oxymoron.  An oxymoron is a self contradictory word. Think about it.  Your moniker doesn’t characterize your true self because you don’t know your true self.  You haven’t begun to develop that which is your true self.  How can a ‘street’ name characterize your strengths as a man or woman? How can it typify your potentials as a human being?  The fact is that it can’t.

You have been acting on a very narrow stage designed by powerful institutions and people who have corralled you into limited psychological, social, and economic spaces.  All that has been made available to you are contrary and contradictory roles which ‘misfit’ you into those limited social and economic spaces.  Those conditions are meant to stunt your inner and outer growth and cause you to feel pain and maybe escape that pain through the use of narcotics, cocaine, or alcohol.

On the famous temple of Luxor in Ipet Resyt, in the country of Kemet, on the continent of Africa (Thebes, presently called Egypt) 1400 years before the birth of Jesus and a thousand years before the rise of Greek philosophy there is written in hieroglyphics: ‘Man Know thyself.’ In order for you to know yourself you must have a master teacher who turns you within and then triggers the process of learning.  True knowledge begins with an inner vision of one’s self. No human being can trigger the inner awakening to such kind of Supernatural knowledge.  Only the master teacher who is a Supernatural being can do it. That entity does it by syncing the student’s mind with the Supernatural Mind.  Was Malcolm’s mind put in synchronicity with the Supernatural Mind?

Malcolm states that he had a vision in prison. He states that when he was in ‘the hole’( solitary confinement) he would picture himself talking to large crowds. He called them pre-visions.  The Master Teacher begins the learning process of the student with inner visions.   It was a vision of the mind’s eye which Malcolm had.  Malcolm’s mind’s eye was opened by the master teacher to his true supernatural nature and thus to the truth. Malcolm thus began his long life process of unfolding his predetermined destiny into space and time by hard intellectual and physical work.  From that point onward, every word he spoke and his every act in relation to others would be a pouring forth of what was designed in the Supernatural to be acted out in a natural context.

THE MASTER TEACHER

Different cultures have had different names for the master teacher.  In Kemet, the master teacher was called Ptah. It was Ptah who opened the mind’s eye of Im-ho-Tep (2650-2600 B.C.) to mathematics, engineering and medicine. In ancient Greece, the same master teacher was called Daemon; that one was the informer of the philosopher, Socrates.  Also, the Greek noun ‘Paraclete’ is the Informing Mind, the ‘mind’ that was in the mind of Jesus of Nazareth as it was said: “Let this mind be in you that was also in Christ, Jesus.” For the Prophet Muhammad Ibn Abdullah that one is called Jabril who ordered him to ‘Read’.

But the name of the Master Teacher in whatever language spoken is not important beyond what is needed to communicate the ideas to others.  Rather what is important is that the very same Informing Mind is active today in the unified human mindscape to inform you, too. For, as the natural worlds of space and time in uncountable dimensions are held in sync by the laws of physics and chemistry, so it is that The One Mindscape is held in sync with all minds by the Laws of Thought.  This is reducible to two simple premises: 1) That Mind is Truth and 2) Participation in Truth is Mindfulness.

The process of learning the truth is both exciting and frustrating. Learning the truth is frustrating because one must work against the gravity of one’s own ignorance multiplied by the ignorance of all those around you who reject the truth. That is like a heavy weight pressing against one’s body, mind, and soul. It was frustrating for Malcolm.  He says that he could not express himself clearly even though on the ‘streets’ he was articulate in slang.  But now, in prison, he realized he was inarticulate and dysfunctional when it came to communicating his ideas in a formal manner.  He was surrounded by those who spoke illogically and in slang.

But learning is also exciting. Despite all the many adversities he faced, Malcolm began to structure his thinking, writing, and speaking skills. He began with the letter ‘A’ and by the time he had finished his study of the dictionary at the last word ‘zygote’ of the letter ‘Z’ he had achieved a milestone in his quest to learn the skills necessary to become a social contributor and icon for his community.  You can do it, too. Wherever you are get a dictionary. Start copying it by hand on tablet paper.  You’ve got to start now!  Open your mind to the Master Teacher.

 

 

From The Book: The Syllabus of Malcolm X, by Dr. Steven Nur Ahmed

Malcolm X (640x480)

PRESENT TENSENESS

     Malcolm X makes an interesting comment about the relation between time and freedom in chapter 11 of his autobiography.  Yes, he is meta-communicating to you again. He states that: “…months passed without my even thinking about being imprisoned.  In fact, up to then, I never had been so truly free in my life.”  He said it was due to spiritual correspondence and the reading of books.  So, what was the nature of his experience?  The nature of Malcolm’s experience was present tenseness. Present tenseness is reality; it is freedom from the constraints of space and motion and thus it is freedom from time. You see prisoner, there is only one motion and it is backward motion; one time and it is a measure of that backward motion. Everything and the molecules and atoms of which they are composed are streaming in past tense motion.  All that we claim to sense and upon which we base our opinions is passé because of what separates us from a present tense participation in reality.  What separates us is a materially unbridgeable conscious gulf.
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In prison and despite its medieval condition, Malcolm got himself into a unique state of mind. He got himself into a state of mind that participates in the reality which up till then he had not experienced because Malcolm had never been free even before his incarceration. He bridged the conscious gulf separating him from freedom. He realized that the idea of freedom he had had was a false idea; it was an illusion. No wonder he was at first expecting a gimmick to get him out of prison. For freedom, Malcolm learned, could not be had by the motions of his impulse; the fears and erotic attachments he and other prisoners had which like a ball and chain about their ankles fettered them and the whole of humanity. It is our opportunity as a human being to become free but only if we have the courage to ‘turn our head’; the courage to ascend in it into the true temple built without hands.  For Malcolm it must have been a joyous discovery. It can be so for you, too.  All one must do is turn one’s head.

Present tenseness cannot be spoken of nor understood by terms of standard syntactical form. Syntax is the way our concepts are ordered in thought and expressed through speech and writing.  The way your speech is ordered makes it impossible for you to know that your reasoning is askew and away from the truth of present tenseness. That is so because of the inclusion of illusory concepts. In so doing it makes what is logical seem illogical and what is illogical seem logical. Many students find this a difficult obstacle to overcome when studying the science of logic. So first, we must break free from the barriers of grammar. Yes, even our grammar is a kind of prison which is a constraint on consciousness and which by social consensus limits the field of our thinking and turns our consciousness away from its opportunity for freedom.  Malcolm X learned and understood that.

One of the major falsehoods of speech is the concept ‘future’. It is a social construction. Think about it.  Had Malcolm decided to wait for his freedom by framing his freedom as a future experience to be given to him by the state prison system he would have never become a free person.  He would have never become free because neither Malcolm then nor you now can have any experience but that of past tenseness. It’s just a simple fact.   Whatever we sense by smell, touch, sight, sound, and taste is passé; it belongs to all things streaming into the past. Our thoughts about those sensations are always late thoughts about experiences of things that have changed and gone on to other forms of existence.  All of the mass in all the universes are streaming energy into the past from a point of present tenseness.  You cannot get free unless you reverse your conscious dependence on past experiences so that you can begin to know present tenseness. Present tenseness is the truth.  If you want to use the concept ‘future’ then the future must be the mind state of present tenseness. Otherwise everything, including you, is passé.

The truth is that Malcolm X set himself free. No other person could free him. His Bimbi could not free him. He could only direct Malcolm. Remember his Bimbi told him that he had a brain if only he would use it. Malcolm X began to free himself by and through his mind and his participation in present tenseness.  Remember in chapter 11 Malcolm X states that he discovered philosophy. He identifies one of them as Socrates, the Greek.  Socrates was a descendant of an Egyptian named Erechtheus.  Malcolm X states that Socrates was initiated into the Egyptian mystery schools. He was by trade a stone-mason or master mason. There is much that is implied in the short comment Malcolm X makes about Socrates.  First of all, Socrates was the teacher of Plato.  Secondly, the major account of the teachings of Socrates is contained in the Dialogues of Plato because Socrates did not write a book.  It is there, in the Dialogues of Plato, that we find the meaning of the meta communiqué of Malcolm X to us concerning present tenseness and its relation to freedom.  Let us now turn to Plato’s Dialogue: ‘The Republic’, Book VII and therein let us examine Plato’s allegory of the cave as told to him by Socrates. Socrates is the speaker.

Socrates described a dark underground den like a walled prison with cell blocks. In the cells are countless human beings moaning in anguish.  There is an opening as it were at the end of a tunnel leading from the prison where there shines a light.  Socrates then says that the human beings have been there since childhood and that their legs and necks are shackled so that they cannot move freely.  There they live in perpetual anguish. They have only a zero to 180 degree field of vision because they are unable to turn their heads around.  The children have known no other experience. He then says that there is a kind of fire. And that it projects onto a flat sheer surface a procession of images some of talkative and silent men, others of animals, wood, stone, and various materials.  He compares the scene to a puppet stage shielded by a white sheer sheet behind which the figures can be seen.  Such shackled men and women can see only those and their own shadows. Socrates interjects, ‘like us’, they have never been ‘allowed’ to move their ‘heads’.  So, what is the mind set of such prisoners?

In this allegory Malcolm must have discerned how Socrates distinguishes between both light and shadow. Those terms are not simply used by him as metaphor but rather are meant to stand for real aspects of our conscious predicament. The nature of light is such that it both penetrates into and reflects off of matter. It is a rare phenomenon in our universe. It moves at a speed of 186,000 miles per second through dark matter. Our eyes like the shutter speed of a camera are unable to simultaneously sense and our brains unable to perceive moments of full spectrum radiation. We are limited in our perception to a small range of the light spectrum as past impressions just as prisoners are limited to the full enjoyment of social freedoms, thus there is much which happens around us that we are oblivious to. Socrates speaks of shadows in the underground den not images; here, shadow is to image what smoke is to fire. The prisoners can see neither light nor imagery in their smoke filled consciousness. They experience the lowest possible degree of consciousness. The shadows stand for the lowest degree of consciousness possible; on the other hand, the opening at the mouth of the cave is a metaphor of separation as well as possible freedom and expanded consciousness in truth.

From the shadows surrounding them, prisoners draw fallacious conclusions about reality which causes a contagious chain of imbalanced thinking. Their opinions are weighted by error and the irreducible error in their reasoning process is reflected in the macabre world they construct. Their mindscape is tilted like a building set on a faulty foundation.  The echoes they hear are muffled sounds which they perceive to be music. Theirs is a world of shadow which they take as reality. Theirs is a pretentious world; they do not know that they are participating in the end. They do not know that their world is passé.

But as the allegory goes someone moves his or her head from zero to 360 degrees; they turn around. They don’t wait for official approval because they rightly intuit that it will never come from ‘officials’. They come to know that ‘officials’ are prisoners, too. Now, unbound by their shackles, they trigger a chain of consequences which expose to them the herd illusion. The freed one now sees the herd to which he or she once belonged as a shadow of huddled masses stifled in utter darkness; they neither move to the left nor the right but each are content to be a link in a chain brownnosing the rear of another in furtherance of each other’s false sense of security. The stench of course they perceive as the scent of a rose.

Malcolm X understood the allegory of the cave.  He was freed from his shackles before he was paroled.  His experience of time was exposed as illusory. He came to understand that by focusing and concentrating his mind on logical arguments above and beyond opinion he could grasp science as the subject worthy of his mental attention. He finally came to understand the passé nature of his old lifestyle. Now he knew that freedom is a state of mind and that if the mind is set free the body will follow.