Sunday, October 18, 2009

Socialization of the Mind...


I have some new friends in my life...young entrepreneurs in their 20s from the USA who are in Panama examining global business opportunities in Latin America. I have to say I have been stimulated and encouraged by them to be more hopeful that change is possible and there is still hope for the human race even in light of the dark clouds of current world affairs.

One of these new friends, Stephen (not actual name), is a good looking young man of 19 years...who graduated college at age 17, has been in business with his father since age 15, and already wise and better read than most people of any age. To find a person like this in this day and age is like a refreshing drink of cold water after spending years in a scorched desert. I am going to start referring to Stephen as "John Galt", the hero and mastermind character in Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" who in the story caused the "...withdrawing (of) the "minds" that drive society's growth and productivity; with their strike these creative minds hope to demonstrate that the economy and society would collapse without the profit motive and the efforts of the rational and productive." If you haven't read "Atlas Shrugged", you can get a short synopsis of it at this wikipedia link...though I highly recommend reading the whole book.

Anyways, from my conversation with Stephen, I was reminded of a few previous thoughts I have had about the socialization of the mind and how modern media and culture is so effectively keeping the collective consciousness in a retarded state of being. This collective morass continues to grovel in subservience to the existing global powers and medias...most of which emanate rumors and innuendos into such a frothy state that we consume lies and misdirection like we would our favorite dessert...we like ours "a la mode". We consume this drivel until we actually believe many of the lies ourselves...or fall victim to focusing our attention on trivialities or the blood and gore of "others" so we don't have to look at the devastation of our own realities.

When I asked Stephen what was the backdrop for his advanced state of education, understanding and individuality at such an early age, his answer was astoundingly simple. (I paraphrase) "I grew up in a town of 20 people in the USA, home schooled until I went to college, and basically didn't have anybody telling me what "grade level" I should be reading or doing math at. My natural mind and curiosity never repressed had me doing college algebra at 8 years of age and instead of watching TV or other common wastes of time, I was a voracious reader".

The key for this young man as I perceived him was that he had no "controls" on his mind, time or capacities. Even though he has lived most of his life in a very remote part of America, through books and objective observation of the media he developed a very wide grasp of society, various civilizations, governments and religions. While he was raised in a mainstream protestant religious tradition...he also seems quite objective and ambivalent about religion as he has put his background in perspective with other religious and philosophical studies. This is a young man who has keen observations and reasons for his positions...and he is quite sure of what he thinks...and at least as far as I'm concerned...he is spot on in so many regards. To sum this up...he has learned "TO THINK".

He told me that his first real "socialization" took place at a major state university at age 15. It was there that he realized...and continues to portend...that mass or public "education" is very limited and futile. It is more about "programming" than educating. Grades and other rewards go to those who "conform", please the teacher/professor, and go with the flow. Those who question too much...or even "know more than the teacher"...are reprimanded, sometimes taunted, but usually just ignored. He also said "Most students don't take responsibility for their own educations. With good teachers students just perform up to the standards laid out for them to "get the grade", and if its a bad teacher and they get a bad grade, they just blame and accept the limitations of the teacher/professor." The macro for me on this is most humans simply accept the limitations placed on them...their status in life, the authorities in their lives, and never question what they are taught. This is what makes the growing tide of humanity good little "robots" instead of free thinking, free living individuals without limits.

I am reminded of the effective ad I saw over the years in the USA of "the mind is a terrible thing to waste"...which basically is used to support the idea of bettering public education. Unfortunately I think it has come down to the fact that if someone really wants to enhance their or their child's educations, they are better off to school them at home or not at all. Encourage/teach a child to read and write and then let them go. If they don't have fast foods, fast video games and 2000 TV channels to fill up their time and minds...they just might reach their potential intellectually and otherwise. They might have to use their imaginations. Unfortunately, our society from parents, to teachers, to institutional leaders are more interested in uniform behavior and thinking..."behavior modification" if you want to put it in psychological terms. Creativity is out the window. Even those foreign students in the world who are arguably surpassing the accomplishments of USA students overall are only learning to copy ideas and functionality versus learning creativity or originality. Individuals in very controlled environments generally will NOT learn to think creatively. There is a huge difference between tasks performed by "rote" versus originality of thought and action.

Just like economics where the world is seeing things going in polar directions...the rich are richer and the poor are poorer...you are seeing the same in the battle for the mind in my estimation. There are fewer really excelling or ALLOWED to excel in the world, while the general global mindset falls further behind the curve. Just this reality could be the key factor why our world leaders cannot sort out the simplest of conflicts and must uncomprehendingly resort to brute force and mortal solutions to "control" the world. Reason and thought are out the window at most levels of global leadership. The focus is on maintaining power and equilibrium of the status quo or requiring acceptance of religious factions and dogma as the underpinnings for major peace agreements or from which to establish borders and sovereignty. The failed leaders do not want to give up their power and influence...and those that have the knowledge and/or wisdom are afraid to exercise it because they realize they will soon be overpowered and out-voiced...in many cases thrown into prisons...because of their words, ideas or "contrariness" to popular opinion or religious dogma.

Another interesting illustration of these changes in the world came out in our conversations yesterday. In one short lifetime, my friends and I have seen actual DNA changes based on human meddling in the animal kingdom. Mankind is caught up in "trophy hunting"...which primarily is about hunting for the strongest and fittest example of a species, and then killing it and placing it on our wall as an example of our prowess and strength as "hunters". In the animal kingdoms of North America, and now Africa and other continents, you are seeing the complete obliteration of certain species and the "taming" of what were once independent and wild species into domesticated, more subservient lineages serving the needs of the masses for either menial labor or food supply. The brunt of the matter is that when you breed formerly savage or wild animals...whether it be bison, horses, deer, or even bear or lions...in captivity and a sedated state of being...that species of animal will weaken and they will continue to morph or evolve into some form of domesticated, broken spirited animal...no different than a dog or a cat. They will evolve into being BORN in that condition.

I believe we are seeing this phenomenon within the human race. Most humans live and operate in an oppressive, subservient state of existence. Their purpose is to serve the greater good. They are rewarded for being "role model citizens" who obey all the rules. They are rewarded for being a "team player". It is rude and punishable behavior to disagree or have a strong opinion contrary to the majority. To be self sacrificing for "God", country or your fellow man is held up as the highest honor and purpose in life. And while bravery, sacrifice for freedom, or coming to the aid of your fellow man can be noble and good...even these greatest of qualities are manipulated and misused by man's institutions who perpetuate the circumstances which demand or legislate those human sacrifices. True life and freedom is NOT sacred to those governments or religions who perpetuate war and conflict...yet they purport to positions over our lives as "protectors" and "advocates" of our individual rights and freedoms. What a preposterous lie and cover up of the reality!

I don't know where the reader of this stands related to how socialized your thinking has become. I would only call into question an honest evaluation of what your potential was, is or will be...and challenge each of us to reprogram our minds from any influence or activity that keeps us from reaching our individual potential. The key is not who or what will HELP US achieve...but ridding ourselves of any influences that would KEEP US from achieving or have us compromise who we are or what we think..."for the greater good". When every individual is free like my young friend to grow at their own pace, free and unfettered by the "social effect", only then will we truly see all of humanity rise to its potential and control of its future level of existence.

Freedom of the mind is more important than freedom of the body.

2 comments:

Hank Robinson said...

Ed,

Nice post. I have also been thinking about this lately. I have been thinking of it as "drawing between the lines". As many people have very defined edges of their lives. They often do not "think outside the box".

Society will often reward people to work hard and stay within the bounds. An example of this is a friend of mine who is a medical doctor. She is highly rewarded financially for working hard and studying. As she has told me what she has learned and done is rather "cookbook".

For me as an entrepreneur I have to think outside of the lines. It is often a struggle to find support or understanding or success from others. As most will stay within the lines. I recognize others will draw outside the lines but if they take it to far they will be punished. Some may take it so far as to be put in jail if it is taken too far of for the wrong purposes. Therefore I find it is important to first understand what it is you are good at that provides a contribution. Then focus your efforts to find ways to be different.

Jeff said...
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