The Liberation of Lambs

‘Liberty for wolves is death to the lambs.’

            -Isiah Berlin

People often speak in similes and metaphors. We find comfort in symbolism and allegories, creating a sense of spatial separation in our minds from that which we desire and those that haunt us. Business men refer to themselves as lions when they wish to appear dominant or king-like; school children degrade one another by calling their peers a chicken, a dog, or a pussy. And a person of low morals can often be labelled as a rat or a snake.

Even free thinkers are not exempt from this kind of hackneyed pigeonholing of their peers; labelling those that they consider to be mindless drones suckling on the bosom of society as lambs or sheep.

It’s no coincidence that we choose animals to explain or understand our behaviours either. After all, we are merely another creature that rose from the primordial depths and evolved into the beings we are today. Though we may try to deny it, we are primitive creatures trying valiantly to adapt to a world that is developing at an ever-increasing rate before our very eyes.

In today’s modern society, with its abundance of threats (both perceived and legitimate), relating how we feel about ourselves, or how we perceive others to animals recognised as being courageous, dastardly, or cowardly, allows our brains to easily establish opinions about who to fear, and who to trust.

This act of association allows us to pursue other ventures such as art, education, business, and romance. While this may can seem like an intelligent concept; free your mind of primitive tasks to focus on modern obsessions, it is in fact fraught with risk. Why you ask? Because that thing you call an imagination; that beautiful part of the brain that allows us to dream, also causes us to fear.

Hmm. Now that there’s a little perspective around what I’m about to say next; it’s time to hit them with the sucker punch. Let me shake out my hands for a second and stretch out my wrists. Here it comes…

You’re not a lion. You’re not a dog, or a rat, a pussy, or a fucking snake. But you are a lamb. And you are surrounded by sheep. Whether you want to admit it or not, you are afraid to be the best version of you that you could possibly be. Why? Because you have been conditioned to see the weakness where there is strength, and convinced that the art of survival lies in finding safety in numbers. The great shepherds of society have created an illusion of fear that keeps you suppressed and afraid to be an individual, rather than one of many.

It’s not difficult to do this either. It’s been happening since the birth of mankind. Society is defined as an aggregate of people who function in an orderly community. What better example is there of societal order than a shepherd controlling a flock? What greater illustration of mental suppression and conditioning than a small few influencing the actions of the many? Moving them through a mundane existence and uniformity before they are finally led to the slaughter.

Controversial? Maybe. Reality? You better believe it. But we’re not quite done yet. 

Here’s the kicker: You are the shepherd of those around you; just as much as they are the shepherds that keep your own thoughts, feelings and actions in check. Our desire to be socially accepted and valued means that we are consistently watching over one another to ensure that we are subduing those that threaten to move incongruously to the flock, whilst simultaneously striving to do so ourselves.


We look at those who are strong and independent as threats: wolves at the door that should be feared. And we look at those beneath us as lambs who long to be led. Lambs and sheep are instinctively fearful creatures who thrive off of social awareness. They are placated when they can see the rest of their flock and are afraid when they are forced to stand alone. When we view one another in such a way, anxiety plucks at our heartstrings and inhibits us from being all that we can be. We condition ourselves to feel discontented if we lose sight of our peers, so we shepherd and we suppress.

Inversely, a wolf is a highly intelligent, fiercely loyal beast with a desire for freedom and faith in its own instincts. They roam in packs, but are comfortable in their ability to hunt alone. These are characteristics that any collective of individuals should aspire to, not quash. And yet our imaginations; the very thing that affords us the opportunity to think, feel and act, convinces us to fear a strength that we fail to acknowledge is within all of us.

Imagine if you will, a society where individuals didn’t feel the need to play shepherd over their peers. Where instead of devoting attention to watching over one another in fear of the successes of friends and strangers, we instead focused on developing and inspiring the characteristics of loyalty, intelligence, and the desire to be free within ourselves. Imagine the emancipation from an anxiety-fuelled societal philosophy as we celebrate the successes and positive attributes of others, rather than focusing on reigning them in so that we can feel a sense of control and security as we watch over our flock.

For some readers this idea is going to sound like a bunch of contrived bullshit. They’ll screw up their nose and say that a society of wolves is dangerous. They’ll argue that we equate the wolf with fear for a reason, and that we are better off as lambs and sheep. But they are wrong. They really, really, are.

I opened this post with the quote liberty for wolves is death to the lambs, and I pray with all my heart that the mindset of lambs does die within our society. It needs to. There are so many brilliantly talented people living out their lives denying themselves of the opportunity to be great because they are fearful of standing out from the flock. We have created a bizarre culture where fitting in is more important than embracing oneself.

And yet, just as sheep and lambs move in flocks, so to do wolves move in packs. The difference between the two is that the latter move according to their own whim, not at the direction of others. They move with a pride and a purpose that the lambs of the world will never understand.

Our minds are faculties of consciousness and thought that enable us to experience the world around us. But the imagination can play tricks on us. It can convince us that we are small when we are powerful beyond all measure. And it can allow us to believe that we wish to be lambs, when we would be so much stronger as a pack of wolves. Intelligence, loyalty, and a desire to be free are traits to be revered, not abhorred.

Author: Chris Nicholas

Chris Nicholas is an author from Brisbane, Australia. He has published two novels, and is currently working on his third.

38 thoughts on “The Liberation of Lambs”

  1. Such a thought provoking post Chris and I think that ultimately you’re right, society has conditioned us to be mostly lambs though we’re all so capable of becoming part of the wolf pack.

  2. Sign me in. 🙂 I want to, and feel ready to live in such a society. I believe each of us has to dare walk our first steps in that direction, if we want it to happen.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Your words are a delight to read.

  3. Sometimes, it’s just, too difficult, to SNAP ourselves out of the normal ways of interacting with the world we are used to, and it usually takes something like getting shocked (not literally, of course), to finally be able to, SNAP out of our old ways!!!

  4. I think this is a vast generalization. I have never been a lamb and yet I am not (nor do I aspire to be) a wolf. I am an individual, creative, with a voice of my own. I don’t live in fear but neither am I a predator. The world is large enough for all kinds of opinions. You see it as a choice of two, as sheep or wolf. How is that different from seeing everything in black or white?

  5. You’re assuming my interpretation of lamb is the same as yours.
    I see the lamb as something innocent, sacrificed and martyred for a greater cause than itself, typically, that sacrifice is often made by ignorant people—not by wolves.
    The lamb doesn’t choose to be a sacrifice—stupid people chose that—The lamb was just off frolicking doing “lamb stuff” and had no choice.

    1. Sacrifice was done and stupid negels tried to deplete the Living Love of Life itself. I agree. . .the Lamb was just doing “frolicking stuff.” Life could be better if those green eyed snakes would drop their forking tongue 🙂

  6. Thought provoking, no doubt. I do believe we are governed by fear. But what animal am I that when I feel that fear, I move into it because I know that is exactly what I should do? Certainly not a lamb or a wolf. Maybe a baby bird learning to fly?

  7. I agree and being the wife of an infantryman I see this play out time and time again in his daily life and those of his brothers. Which coincidently often refer to others as ‘the wolf’ in introductions. Both wolf and lamb have a place. Great post!

  8. Hi Chris. I respectfully disagree with this thought. For me, in order to standout, we need a good Shepherd. I remember this thought by Abraham Lincoln : The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep’s for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as his liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty. Plainly, the sheep and the wolf are not agreed upon a definition of liberty.

    1. Agreed Kayceelojera. And so, to take this to a literal interpretation, have you ever met a lamb and told it, “Chillax lamb, stop thinking of yourself as a lamb, think of yourself as a wolf and the wolves won’t get you. All you have to do is think you’re a wolf, and POOF! You’re a wolf!”

      Is it that simple?

      The only person who could pull that magic trick off is Crowley and I don’t think Crowley is a wolf.

  9. I totally agree with this post. I have often thought along these lines and disliked the idea of people conforming to others expectations rather than being their own person. Well written and thought-provoking, thanks.

  10. You never fail to amaze me with your writing Chris. Another thought-provoking post. I do agree that in order for us to showcase our powers is to leave the pack of lambs and sheep and be the wolf that we are.

  11. Dear Chris, I found this to be deeply inspirational as I have taken the decision to leave the safety of the flock and strike out on my own. I believe that I can be a wolf and hope that I will be awesome.

    I have just resigned from a cushy job at the ripe age of 51 as my family’s breadwinner, to take time off and live on our savings while I reinvent myself. It is a bold and scary move.

    Thank you for inspiring me when I have been feeling a little wobbly, with thoughts of “oh dear, what have I done?”

    I have written about my leap into the great unknown on my blog if you’d like to read it.


  12. Well stated. My most recent post attempts to accomplish the meaning behind your ideas. I called out for assistance and will see how responsive our community truly is. The call to action is NOT for me; but rather those unable and unaware to help themselves.
    Thank you for sharing this post. If you are interested in participating please feel free to re-read my post which you already “Liked.” It can be found at:

  13. Tall Poppy Syndrome-The death of excellence and achievement. I do believe though, that the Australian culture is particularly bad when it comes to this. South Africa and the US certainly admire talent and recognise excellence substantially more than we do. It’s a terrible shame. Very real article that highlights our inability as a society to accept and applaud individualism, thanks for the insight, Cheers Nicole

  14. Your analogy isn’t unique, although it’s definitely pleasant to see it again. The accepting movement of the 1960s is much the same idea: don’t follow like sheep, be brave enough to go your own way, don’t expect others to be just like you, reach out for the unknown instead of being so afraid of it.

    It would be marvelous to see this type of philosophy come back into the forefront again.

  15. In some way your thoughts on the led and the leaders are descriptive of the 2016 electorate in the US as more if the general public are becoming aware they are being herded and have been for centuries.
    You write so beautifully.

  16. I don’t think any of it was contrived bullshit. I am at a stage in my life where I am having to question whether I am a lamb or a wolf. This piece forced me to think harder. Thanks for stopping by my blog and bringing me to yours. Really looking forward to reading your previous posts.

  17. This is a really beautiful and well written article, Chris. I’m happy I discovered your blog.

  18. Damn. There is so much packed into this post. A gut punch indeed. An inspirational call to arms, to shut the hell up and get busy, to stop living in the shadows of fear. Brilliantly worded. Where’s my staff?

  19. I have a painting of a handsome wolf by artist Bob Quick. It’s titled “Born to be Free.” I think you’d love it. The visual of your word pictures. Love your imagery👍🏽.

  20. Being a wolf is a triumph of individuality. One ought to be creative and different from the flock. Yes, if one is a lamb, one has to guard oneself from being slaughtered,. The concept of the lamb is very Christian in ideology and makes one mediocre. In a creative society one has to act like the wolf in subversion.

  21. I have always thought of large groups of people as Lemmings. The ability of the group to be blinded by a “leader” into doing stupid things is a lot like the idea of Lemmings diving off of a cliff. Stupid but thought of as a great act of survival.

  22. I am just gonna say you have been touched by the muse gods!!! Wow! Thanks for sharing you should share your thoughts in YouTube channel get that word out. Great job! 👌👍👍

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