From day one we are trained and conditioned to do as others tell us to.
As a toddler, we learn the word “no.” We are taught structure, schedules, how to wear our clothes, and how to act in public. In school we learn how to sit quietly, to be obedient, to fit in, and follow along; and then we are graded on our individuality and compared to our peers.
There, we learn about words like authority, power, directions, and respect… before we learn about compassion, understanding, tolerance, and creativity.
We leave the structured halls of our high schools at the peak of our stifled curiosity and we are told to go discover ourselves.
So we venture out into the Great Grey Blur, not knowing who we are, but having learned how to color inside the lines, how to be uniform, orderly, and numerical. And then, we are expected to burst out into this chaos and make a difference.
Shit, so we get a job. One where we are forced to listen to our boss, to do as they say without question, without hesitation, without insubordination. We are told that this is the only way to make it to the top… to follow their lead. We are told not to be like Jake in the Creative Marketing Department, who wears a loose tie and un-tucked shirt. No, he is wrong. Here we have standards, we are expected to read the employee handbook, from front to back, so that we may know exactly how to conduct ourselves properly in every situation. And then we are reprimanded for stepping outside of those norms.
So why in the hell are you surprised when people do not have the ability to think for themselves and form their own rational decisions? Why are you surprised from the lack of one’s creative ideas, progress, and understanding?
We are formed and created to be subordinate.
Here, we are chastised, ridiculed, and punished for going our own way, for challenging ideas and power.
And we are so weak and impressionable, that we actually believe that THAT is totally acceptable.
Is there not a better system?
You see, we have it so bass-ackwards that we go along believing that power comes from fear. And the way that we teach young impressionable kids about respect is through fear and power, instead of love and compassion.
We say, respect your elders, to do as you are told, follow the directions of your teachers/coaches/adults. Don’t talk back. Don’t ask questions. Don’t get out of line.
And when we defiantly ask why, we are told, “because I said so; because that’s just how it is, because they’re an adult, a teacher, a coach, a person of authority, because that’s life.”
That is the reasoning we get, instead of saying, “because they are a human being who feels, and loves, and hurts just like you. Because they’re a person who struggles like you, who has good days and bad days just like you. Because they are a person and we are all in this together. Because if you treat them poorly, then not only will you be hurting them, but also yourself… because we are a community and a society that functions and breathes through each other’s actions.”
Hell, right from the start, we learn that we should respect a position of power, rather than the person who holds it.
So, instead of learning that we should treat people well simply because we are all in this together, we learn that we should treat them well because they could hurt us, harm us, take away our privileges, and make our lives more difficult.
Isn’t that a crazy perspective on life…
Forcing people to be something or to do something, because if not, there will be pain… teaching more about fear, power, and harm, than about love, compassion, and empathy…
Teaching the consequences of mistakes through pain… forcing people to go one way, instead of allowing them to discover their own path?
I know I’m asking a lot here. I know that I’m stretching a long standing practice about the way that we learn. I know that I am challenging the masses.
But look, why the fuck are we not teaching more though love, admiration, sympathy, and understanding? Why are we not coaching and guiding self-discovery though tolerance, encouragement, and an open mind?
Are we seriously too dull minded to learn what is right and wrong while also learning how to be ourselves? Or, how to set our own standards… how to determine our own limits?
Why are we not teaching kids how to think more critically, logically, rationally, creatively, differently? Why does structure overpower creativity? Why do we trample on individuality, self-identity, and uniqueness?
Can equality and the freedom to be an individual not co-exist? Can we not all be different but fight for the same type of decency?
Listen, I want to be me, not who you want me to be.
I do not need someone to tell me how to live my own life. It is not theirs to own.
Let me step out of line. Let me speak up. Let me be heard. Let me feel, learn, and make mistakes. I want to experience this life in my own creative way, of my own creative ideals. I don’t need someone to tell me who I am. And I don’t want some corrupt mind telling me that MY life is unjust, that my standards are unmoral, that my way is wrong.
Guide us, but let us fail. Encourage us, but don’t force us. Love us, but don’t smother us. We have to grow and strengthen our own way, or we will be nothing more than your subordinate.
Let us figure it out in the backfires and the blowouts of this beautiful thing called, living.
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