I really like this quotation. I do not believe that it refers to a real steel bondage; but rather, a mental bondage. It is a pattern that I have seen all of my life. This is particularly true when people receive a label in school: smart, dumb, athletic, artistic, mean, etc. Once labeled, it seems that they can never break free from that label.
I had a friend who was placed in special education back in the 60’s. All of his life he could never break free from that label. He was always a poor student, always placed in decelerated classes, and it took him 8 years to graduate from college. Once he graduated from college, his first job was working as a manual laborer in a lumber yard. What struck me as odd was that he was from a wealthy family and had opportunities that I could only dream of.
Sometimes people ask me if I am Hispanic. Of course, I say “yes”. Their next question is usually, “why do you not act like it?”. I do not really know what that means. Am I supposed to know who Selena is? Am I supposed to speak with an accent? Wear a sombrero? All the same, I refuse to conform to that label simply because it is expected and matches the expectations of others.
In the quotation below, the narrator says that Richard Kimble is a hostage and “now there can be no freedom”. I do not believe that. Over the years, I have been many things: athlete, musician, science major, engineer, college professor, and now journalist. I do not walk around in athletic clothes. My hair is short and not long like a rock star. I do not go around using terms like quasi-static, isentropic, nor dynamic equilibrium. The labels that people would like to attach are the things that i do – not who I am.
I have found that the chains that bind us are in our mind. The labels are things that you can accept or fight. Remember, however, although you choose your own label, you may get labels that you do not want anyway. For instance, I am a slow reader – about 10 – 20 pages per hour. Some say that is a learning disability. Well, I say, “how many people can spend their whole life reading statistical quantum mechanics and never understand a single thing about it?”. I judge myself by results. If people have labels for me, that is their problem.
All men run the risk of being chained to their pasts. For Richard Kimble, that bondage is stronger than the steel that hangs from his wrist. And so, he moves on, searching, knowing that for him, now there can be no freedom – The Fugitive, 1966