Of course, not everyone regards our cosmic home as a prison. There are other metaphors one could employ, for example, the Jewish idea of "exodus" (from slavery to freedom) or the closely related Christian idea of a "journey" (from man to God). There is also the Hindu/Buddhist idea of liberation from ignorance or awakening from illusion, or the SubGenius principle of increasing one's Slack.
Only the Gnostic -- in whatever form -- sees the world as a hopeless prison. Premodern gnostics attempted to escape the prison via radical transcendence, whereas modern politico-religious ones do it via radical immanence.
Looked at this way, one can appreciate the formal identity of, say, the ancient cult of Manichaeism and the modern one of Anthropocentric Global Warming.
In both cases, the cultist leaves his human limitations behind -- for he cannot tolerate the tension of living in the ambiguous transitional space of consciousness and history -- and imposes a definitive form on reality. For him, "The Beginning was a mistake to begin with and the end of the gnostic story will bring it to its End" (Voegelin).
Look how Obama, for example, keeps denouncing the very conditions he has aggravated -- e.g., unemployment, "income disparity," race relations, etc. He does this because he doesn't know any other way to engage the world except to attack it. Critique and denounce, critique and denounce, even if he is implicitly denouncing himself.
Remember a few of weeks ago, when Clinton denounced the Defense of Marriage Act that he had signed into law? Same deal. He also denounced the era of big government before he helped expand it to unprecedented size and intrusiveness by supporting Obama. Doesn't matter. He'll denounce it again when Hillary runs for president and needs to attack the future reality she helped bring into being.
Remember, it's not really the problem they attack, but reality. Who, for example, is naive enough to believe the left actually cares about racial discrimination, or education, or unemployment, or healthcare, or women?
In truth, there is always "ample reason to be dissatisfied with the order of existence" (Voegelin). We all want to improve things, but the Gnostic's "resistance to disorder transforms itself into a revolt against the very process of reality and its structure...."
And "at the extreme end of the revolt in consciousness, 'reality' and the 'Beyond' become two separate entities, two 'things,' to be magically manipulated by suffering man for the purpose of either abolishing 'reality' altogether and escaping into the 'Beyond,' or of forcing the order of the 'Beyond' into 'reality'" (ibid.).
The latter is the preferred method of modern political gnostics, and is their motive for the ceaseless critique of reality, even -- or especially -- when they are responsible for it. For example, the War on Poverty began in what, 1965? During a senate hearing, President Johnson's point man in the war, Sargent Shriver, was asked how long he thought the War would need to go on before eradicating poverty: oh, about ten years.
Instead, they have set up an ineradicable infrastructure for generating and perpetuating poverty, and with it, the assurance that they will always have that reality to attack.
It's the same with racial grievance: as soon as one differentiates group outcomes via statistics, one is assured another permanent reality to attack, for groups will always differ in outcomes.
Likewise, in a free society -- or in the absence of a totalitarian state -- income disparity will be inevitable, and so long as nature has a say in the matter, men and women will differ in fundamental ways.
Speaking of impossible realities, the remodeling pests are here again. I gotta get outta' here. To the park!