The Prisoner’s Dilemma


Foreword: Hi there! It’s me, Rybo. Welcome and thank you for clicking on this article. It’s been a while since my last article. I’d like to tell you a story today. Before I begin, I have a small ask. Please stop whatever you’re doing, whatever you’re thinking, and pay full attention to this article. I would require your full undivided attention to immersive yourself in this story. I had much pleasure writing it, and I hope you will have pleasure enjoying it as well.

There is a prisoner, living his life in the prison, without knowing that he lives inside a prison.

The prisoner mood swings throughout the day, he felt angry, sad, anxious, stressed, and happy. He doesn’t know why.

Until one day a wise man came to visit.

The wise man told him that the outside world is beautiful, full of tranquility, and free of negativity.

The prisoner asks, “Wise man, how can I break out of prison then?”

The wise man says, “It’s easy, you have the power to break free yourself, you need to practice, and practice hard at something to master it.”

The prisoner is puzzled, “What is it that I have to practice?”

The wise man, “Practice being in the moment.”

Any idea who that prisoner is?


We are all prisoners.

Whether we know it or not.

We did not commit any crimes.

We are not locked up behind bars.

We are not physically contained.

We are all prisoners.

Then, how are we, prisoners?

We are contained by our belief systems.

We are bounded by others’ expectations.

We are locked in by cultural norms.

We are confined by social norms.

We are trapped by our ego.

We are behind bars that we cannot see.

We are in a mental prison.

A mind jail.

We are not alone.

There are many, many of us together as prison mates.

We are all confined by the belief systems that we are raised with.

By the mental models taught in schools.

By the standards and norms we see in public media.

We suffer because we compare.

We need at least two things to make a comparison.

One thing with respect to another.

We compare our past to now. That’s why we’re sad.

We compare now to the future. That’s why we’re anxious.

We compare now to the social norms.

We compare ourselves to others.

The list goes on and on and on.

By practicing being in the present moment, we will eliminate a respective point to compare to.

When that respective point is no longer there, how else can we compare?

That’s when we break free from our mental jails.

That’s when we are freed from our ego.

Once we break out, we are no longer part of the ‘normal’ group. We will be a social outcast, we will be outliers, and we might not even be accepted.

But, why do we care? We don’t care anymore. We are living in the present moment.

Sounds very nice, right?
Where’s the dilemma?

In the process of breaking free, we might have to challenge existing status quo, and maybe even hurt others who cared about us with great intentions because we are not willing to comply with their belief systems, their social norms, their mental barriers, which from their perspectives, is the right one, and is safe for us to remain within.

To stay in, or to break free?

That’s the dilemma.

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