Prisons are the biggest headlines nowadays in the Philippines. Not that any big shot criminal escaped, just the opposite. There are big shot notable politicians turned criminal suspects who are about to face incarceration for their crimes. Just check any news headlines and you can find the details.
The funny part is that public opinion seemed to center on what their prison cells look like, what “amenities” it has and if it is enough for men of their stature. Some say it looks like a hotel room. Maybe. Probably.
Detention centers come in various shapes and sizes. One notable center is the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles California. It is also one of the biggest and probably the tallest since it’s also a skyscraper. Imagine being imprisoned in a tower that looks like a business office.
Another one of the biggest is also one of the hardest to break out of. Riker’s Island in New York is actually a penitentiary and a detention center that sits on a 400+ acre island. You need superpowers to break out of this prison.
We don’t have those kinds of facilities in this country, but what we do have is a prison without walls. The Iwahig Prison and Penal farm is a 45, 000 hectare land in Palawan. Though it does not have any walls or armed guards, escape has been rare. This was because the inmates have been given the chance to govern and police themselves. The prisoners are also given jobs, livelihood in the form of agriculture like fishing and farming. Imagine going in prison to facilitate the prison.
Do you want to be imprisoned?
The irony of all ironies is that the largest prison has no guards, has no fences, and has never recorded any escapes. Paroles maybe but those are often rare in this prison.
The largest prison has no other inmates. There’s only a warden and one prisoner.
The largest prison is made by you.
In your head. In your mind.
No scientist or philosopher has ever measured how much information or how much imagination our mind could create. No one has ever fathomed how many realities he could think of or how vast his own universe could be. For all we know it, we’ve got a whole community if not a country inside your skull. What’s bothersome is that every role is played by you.
How then is it impossible for us to create our own prisons?
We often times imprison ourselves with what people say or think about us. We often become overly conscious of who we are, where we are right now and what other people might think of us. Our self image, our egos, our self esteems, all seem to box us in a frame of mind that often is fed by others. We allow ourselves to be imprisoned by what others think about us or say about us. We hide our true selves in order to allow the world to see our robotic selves.
Our sadness, our fears, our emotions, our tears, all of those come from our own prisons. Emotions and embracing those feelings tend to cage us and transform us into something we are not. Whenever we experience failure in any or all aspects of life, we tend to have this desire to embrace the loneliness, the pain or the grief. We cling on to it and tightly. We remove ourselves away from any human contact like some hoodlum placed in an isolation cell.
You imprison yourself in more ways than you could possibly imagine.
Don’t worry I also have one. I’m chained and under lock and key.
Enjoy your stay.