Thursday, May 10, 2007

Thinking For Ourselves

From the moment we arrived on this planet we began (reluctantly) the process of being pushed around and pulled through the wash, built up, torn down, re-built, directed, abandoned and redirected until we are often left without the inclination or motivation to even determine our own destiny, to create our own reality. We have fallen in line, waited in line and been left in line while the keepers of the gate have gone to lunch to chat about their precious investments, or raising the price of admission to the dance.

We have enabled and allowed the guys with all the keys to keep us from our rightful place in life, a place where we belong. A place we can envision and even aspire to. We have found our different ways to cope with the subjugation of an impersonal world. A world we have tolerated for too long. Some of us have indulged ourselves to excess with drugs or alcohol, some of us have withdrawn to lives of sadness, solitude and quiet desperation. Some of us have raged against the machine, and some of us have even joined it. The human spirit always struggles against psychic bondage. The human spirit, but not necessarily the human will.

Sadly, our struggle has often turned inward, taking the form of self-immolation, rather than remaining directed outward towards the source of our repression. If you think about it, the act of getting in line is even in itself an act of rebellion as one determines that co-operation with the status quo ultimately buys more favorable benefits, fewer inconveniences and significantly less hassle along the way. Rebellion against rebellion, is in fact, still rebellion. But it is sad that so many of us have chosen that avenue as a means to disinherit the otherwise endless struggle. It is however, understandable, and is more often than not an unconscious act. But as the Boomtown Rats have so eloquently said, “the only act of revolution left in this collective world is thinking for yourself.” Yet, the very source of original thought is often clouded by callousness, collected from far too many years of having had our wings clipped, having had our burgeoning spirits beaten down like an abused child. And yes, even by having been immersed in a culture of consumption, a way of life that has become Americas opiate of the people. Let each of us begin a personal revolution in our own private lives.

I am by no means comparing the struggle for personal liberty and independent thought to the real life struggles that the physically and socially repressed people of the world contend with on a daily basis. I am, however, suggesting that psychic and intellectual repression is the spiritual equivalent of that, and is also the door through which true subjugation ultimately gains entry. We must be vigilant in determining to what degree we will allow ourselves to be influenced or controlled. We must be resourceful in creating ways to gain and maintain control of our own lives. We must not permit the government, big business, a political party, an educational system, a religion, our peer group or anyone else the position of determining for us our destiny, our preferences, our style, our ethical and moral code of behavior or our rights. That determination must be preserved for the individual to make, but in order for choices to even be available to us we must be conscious of who and what has influenced and governed us up until now.

We MUST be conscious. At the same time we must keep foremost in our mind the obligation we have to one another as fellow travelers through time and circumstance. We must have self respect in order to be respectful of those around us, and in order to be respected by them. We must count others to be equally important as ourselves, otherwise we are no different than those who choose to dominate us. We must consider the good of the whole, the well being of family at large, and the influence we have on those around us. We cannot choose to reject the conditioning of society and then turn around and hope to condition others to our own particular bias.

We must encourage the liberation of the human spirit, but not insist on it. Some people are simply more comfortable following someone else’s lead. We must, however, encourage and support spiritual/psychic health in one another in order to be able to live together as we’re passing through this often very remarkable life.