Since the beginning of our lives we have been conditioned to accept this reality in a certain way, as to always listen to authority, and subject ourselves to systems of control. Conspiracy theories aside, we have entered, through conditioning, contractual agreements between those in power, authority, those who run things, and microscopic us. We do not often recognize our own power because it has been stripped from us in every way possible.
There are too many of them! – Think about kindergarten and first grade, going from a limitless child, a naturally creative one, infinite potential, into one that learns to sit down and shut up at the right time. Most of our creative power has been pulled from underneath us at this young age. Yes, there is a time for drawing and other creative activities but think of this: what if there was an hour-long session, just an hour, where the children could do what they want; whatever they want, within reason. Some could sing, some could dance, some could draw, some could make-believe, and some could pick their nose. Whatever the child wanted to do. This would instill the feeling in the children that they are running their lives; that what they think, how they feel in the moment, actually matters. Here’s the problem: there are too many of them! Therefore everything has to be sanctioned by the commanding authority; the teacher. So from a very young age we are conditioned to accept the way things are. We are conditioned to obey authority, no matter what. We are told to follow the rules, else be reprimanded. Everything is structured, everything sanctioned. I’ll give you an hour to draw what you want but no talking; I’ll give you an hour to read this book that doesn’t interest you. I’ll give you ten minutes to socialize but not too loud. Then we move on to the next activity, and the next, because of course we always have much to do; there is always something we must be doing; never really slowing down, feeling the present moment, and wondering whether any of this ‘structure’ really benefits the individual.
There are too many of them! Adult Version – Now your an adult, and you have accepted how things work. The same thing is going on with governments and corporations. There are simply too many people to have everyone doing what they want to do; and as a result our creative potential, limitless as a child, has been sucked out of us, and turned into something of a machine. Everything is created with a sense of structure, everything a formality. Think of all the ways you can worship God, then think about what we actually do in church. Same thing over and over again, repetition. Sit down, listen to preacher, kneel, recite these verses, take communion, then leave. It is a whole thing. Repetition always becomes normalcy; always. We are regarding time as a sort of task-fitter, instead of what it is; one ecstatic moment to the next. We also must always be busy. We are always running around, with somewhere to go.
Task Oriented Individuals – Another result of this that must be looked at, is that we are creating task oriented individuals. Many, many, adults, possibly most, view life as a series of tasks to be completed. I’ll read this book for ten minutes, then I must take out the trash, prepare for dinner, then do my taxes by the end of the day. The problem with this is that the soul, that has been stunted and severely limited by conditioning, wants to be free. True freedom is therefore nowhere to be found when everything is a task that must be completed. The soul wants to dance, breathe deeply, and soak up the sun all at once. The individual however does not want this, as there are always more than a few stress-inducing, anxiety-causing tasks hanging over their head at all times. We literally do not know how to be free, so we instead go to a party for an hour to have a good time.
There are deep psychological impacts to authority and systems of control. It has been ingrained in us. Questioning authority makes you a ‘bad person’, a ‘rule-breaker’, or simply the ‘other’; the outsider, the one who does not play by the rules. Think about the very word ‘boss’, it has negative connotations to it; the overarching commanding authority that must not be questioned. I for one prefer ‘Light-Suggestion-Maker’, or if I had to choose I guess, manager. There are also beliefs in us, that cannot merely be shook off. Beliefs are a filter to how you view the world. You literally view the world through a lens. What you see bounces off the object, goes through all of that data in your head; experiences, inclinations, aversions, cold-hard-beliefs, and resonates with you accordingly. Do you truly ‘not like that’ or not like ‘those kind of people’, or has it been deeply conditioned within you? The average individual has an operating system with many many programs that they have gathered over the years; the truly enlightened individual, if there is such a person, has literally no beliefs. Everything is left how it is, nothing is labeled, even the Self. “I am such and such an individual, and also this and that.” Social conditioning makes for boring individuals, no beliefs make for free individuals; both outer and inner.
The system is both designed and unintended. The result is we no longer cater to the individual and their needs, we cater to the masses. We also place our misguided faith in those in power. “They must know better than I, they are running this thing, aren’t they?” We place a large amount of faith in therapists, doctors, lawyers, government officials, our yoga teacher, our professors, etc. We often overlook and fail to realize that these people are fallible individuals, and that many of them are “faking it til they make it”. Do they really know more than us? Possibly. Do they know what is best for us though? Probably not. Knowledge does not equal wisdom. The thing is, they hand down, from their perceived authority, the game we must all be playing. They sanction this reality, and hand down their games to the masses. They make rules and even laws, possibly without knowing if it is really best for us, if it benefits the individual. This is why authority must always be questioned, lest it run wild. We must always ask ourselves, “Is this really best for me? Does it resonate, does it benefit me?”
Take a look at the “Neo, late to work” scene, below. His boss is angry that he is late. He says, “you can choose to arrive work on time, or you can find yourself another job”. In other words, adhere to the structure (of this company) and my authority, or take a risk with another job, while you have bills to pay. Neo glances at the window-washers, who are a symbol; high-risk, low paying, insecure job; compared to his secure job that comes with sets of rules and office politics; an entire office-world that many of us are all too familiar with. Many people these days feel exactly like Neo; they are trapped, with seemingly no way out. Yes, you do always have a choice. Is it a choice though? Adhering to a vast amount of rules seems like the lesser of two evils. Besides, its not so bad… or is it? What you can take away from this, is to question yourself, question your beliefs, question exactly how and why things are run, and most of all question authority. If the authority does not stand on shaky ground, questioning it would pose no problem. Take back your life and your power, by placing emphasis on yourself, the individual. Remember that Jesus Himself questioned the power of kings; that is why He was so dangerous, subversive, and real.