All of our ideas about identity, culture, religion, nationality, and beliefs about the world are merely mental constructs we choose to believe. Opinions. Like assholes, everyone has one, and most of them stink.
We are far less rational than we think.
We take these beliefs and construct rules to live by. We create these rules to comport with our understanding of the universe and to make life easier. Our minds create thousands of rules we know we should follow.
For example, one rule that was imbedded in my brain was that I would go to college and earn a degree to guarantee success in life. A high school diploma meant nothing. School did not end until at least a B.A. degree, and maybe even graduate or law school.
The value of those degrees are fading fast. You still hear people talk about how college graduates earn more than high school graduates, but dropouts like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are the richest people in the country.
Marriage is another of those concepts we may need to question. Society tells us we should marry a person within a certain religion and a defined age range. Maybe even the same race.
I violated all of these rules and have 3 divorces to prove it. I’m not good at being married. Married folks demand rules be followed that you never would agree to before you say “I do”.
“The greatest restrictions upon many people are those imposed by marriage and
~ Harry Browne
How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World
No argument here.
What Harry advocated was relationships without marriage (although he did marry again before his death). Marriage gets the state and church involved in what should be an agreement between two sovereign individuals.
He suggested that people get together for common interests and don’t force the other to compromise.
If I like football, and she likes opera, I won’t expect her fanny in the stadium seat if she doesn’t expect me to be there when the fat lady sings.
Religion and government puts out hundreds of rules and “shoulds” for married couples. You should have children. You should attend church and turn those children over to us for religious indoctrination.
You can’t get married without the permission of the state. You can’t get divorced without permission of the state. Who is really in charge of your marriage?
Another rule pushed by society is that you must work hard to succeed in life. I don’t know about you, but some of the laziest people I know seem pretty happy.
So many of us work like dogs to buy stuff we don’t need to impress people we don’t like.
I think of boat owners. Every young man thinks about buying a boat. My friends will be impressed. And boats in Key Biscayne are definitely pussy magnets.
But, it is said that the two happiest days of a boat owners life are the day he buys a boat and the day he sells it. Notice I didn’t say she. Women are too smart for all of that expense and work.
Why do we buy into this bullshit?
It starts when we are children. We are dependent on our parents, teachers, and ministers for every thought and belief.
“Do it because I say so.”
“Do it because that’s the way it is.”
“Do it because God wants it that way.”
If you resist, you pay a price. As a child, you suffer.
But it’s time as adults that we no longer bow to these “authority” figures. We want to belong, which makes us susceptible to everything from mainstream media bashing to giving in to fear-based politics.
Taken to the extreme, this need for belonging is what makes people join cults. Cults are a form of groupthink leading to blind tribalism.
Social proof to back up these lies can come through advertising, especially television advertising. As a major part of my current Gong, I am abstaining from TV for 100 days.