Incite Change Essay Contest #3: Freedom

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No one is born free from the trap of culture.

Far from being merely comprised by “institutions” and abstract “systems,” the cultures that bind us are made up of the living, breathing human beings we grew up around — our parents, friends, school officials, etc.

This means that we never could have avoided falling into the trap. The trap was a necessary prerequisite to getting us started in the game of life — even if we wish to be free of it later.

Everyone starts out being a child — unless you’ve witnessed a case of someone Benjamin Buttoning their…


I’m becoming less interested in being ‘right,’ and more interested in becoming less wrong.

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… almost no one is creative in fields in which they are pessimistic.

… the desirable future is one where we progress from misconception to ever better (less mistaken) misconception.

— David Deutsch, The Beginning of Infinity

It’s hard to get a handle on the truth these days. No matter where you look, a battle rages, and neither side seems interested in laying down their arms.

For writers struggling to stay afloat in these turbulent waters, insecurity sets in.

Few people — if any — set out to be intentionally wrong.

And yet, how could it be otherwise that each…


But do you have the courage to stand up to the crowd?

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Right now, standing up to the elites and critiquing society’s institutions and “power structures” is the easy thing to do.

That’s why it seems as if everyone is doing it. And this is why it seems as if most of our cultural institutions (academia, and even corporate entities) are bending over backward to appease their critics.

But I’m much more afraid of crowds than I am of elites or any of these other “institutions” everyone is racing to “decolonize.”

No, crowds are what truly terrify me. And this is why elites always fight each other for control of the mob.


I want to write every day, but I also want to avoid becoming a charlatan.

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There’s something I almost got swept up with that I’m glad I became self-aware of before getting dragged away by the current.

It has to do with parroting advice and wisdom before I’ve made the attempt to implement it in my own life to see if… well… it actually delivers results.

Because let’s be honest, dear reader.

A lot of us are here struggling on Medium or other writing platforms because we’re feeling heavy and like we’re out of gas, at least when it comes to “mainstream” society and the way it constantly strips away your freedoms.

We’re feeling like…


Timeless art communicates something beyond the constantly shifting panorama of society’s politics.

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I’ll start by voicing my bias.

Art that explicitly carries an ideological message always loses me — even if I agree with the message.

When an artist goes out of their way to tell a story that fails to grapple with the complexity of moral and spiritual themes, I feel like I’m being sermonized to by a priest rather than having my soul awakened by an artist.

And who enjoys being sermonized to by anyone outside of relevant religious contexts?

Apparently, anyone and everyone who thinks that winning the culture war means sterilizing the artistic atmosphere until everyone is in…


No one said you HAVE to publish them right away.

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You’ve heard it a million times. “The best writing is the kind that exposes your vulnerabilities and opens you up to your readers.”

Alongside such other notable pieces of wisdom like, “Don’t hold back, the more afraid you are to write it, the more it should be written.”

Put another way, the best writing is the kind that would embarrass you if it was shared prematurely or without your knowledge. …


You can’t fool yourself, even if you manage to fool others.

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No one escapes being a virtue signaler at some point in their lives, least of all myself.

It’s normal for human beings to want to clue others into who we are by talking about what we’re attracted to — what strikes us as virtuous — versus what we’re repulsed by — what strikes us as shameful, immoral, or unacceptable.

Doing so helps solidify social bonds as well as continue humanity’s moral discourse into the future, helping us to create a more just and compassionate society as time goes on.

Virtue signaling alone isn’t enough, however.

In fact, if one only…


I want my posts to feel like glimpses into my soul, not digital commodities.

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Before I begin, allow me to say that aspiring writers should write every day, at which point they can ditch the descriptor “aspiring” and instead refer to themselves confidently as a writer — without or without the vanity metrics to “prove it.”

Like any other skill, we improve best with committed daily practice, even if we can only squeeze in thirty minutes or so here and there.

Writing is a craft that requires us to laser-hone our thinking as well as develop our own personal, artistic self-expression. …


Microdosing is the safer route, even though it’s not as good for the industry’s bottom line.

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I have a love-hate relationship with marijuana.

First came hate, then came love, then came love-hate, which I suppose at this point is more akin to a detached indifference to the whole thing.

No doubt, I believe there are medical benefits to marijuana. I’ve experienced enough of these benefits myself (more on this later).

At the same time, however, I have found my relationship with the drug to be in complete contrast with how THC’s vocal advocates have talked about it.

I’ve been experimenting on-and-off with THC for a few years now, and have collected what I regard to be…


Intelligent people say less, yet the internet rewards those who say more. Uh-oh?

Image made in Canva.

“Be more like Keanu Reeves,” says a particular top man here on Medium, if for no other reason than to learn how to be quiet in a world in which silence is increasingly being overtaken by noise.

This is great advice.

Stellar, actually.

Since learning how to scroll less and engage with real-life more, I’ve noticed a substantial uptick in my mental health and general wellbeing in life.

Furthermore, I’ve made a real effort to have fewer opinions because I realize how limited my own subjective experience of life is, and therefore am forced to admit that I don’t know…

Colton Tanner Casados-Medve

“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” — Joseph Campbell

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