Thank you to Gary Null, a survival activist for getting me to look at conditioning as often automatically enacted but not for our own good. Why in the world do we adults do this? Why do allow minor mishaps or major destructive changes enter the world like fracking or oil trains as if we have no choice? Feeling helpless, we turn away from the problem. Feeling frightened of the problem as well as of those who call the outcome of doing it totally wonderful and harmless, the outcome of not doing it a loss, we turn away from the problem and turn off our minds. Some go so far as to deny that the problem exists. They say that global warming is only a theory, not a scientifically supported fact. If enough naysayers raise their voiced together it becomes more believable, at least to them.
In going along with things via a conditioning response, are we like children clinging to our parents who say don’t worry and I am taking care of you? This tendency begins in childhood with protective parents but why does it remain in adulthood? Is it an on/off reaction depending on the perceived danger? The more dangerous the more conditioned the response.
Fear can make us retreat to childhood. When we are afraid of something we turn to those who claim to know better than we do like children seeking their parent’s protection. We do it even though we actually know a lot of information and have observations that differ. We let our frightened emotions rule us. We also have a scary history about murder being inflicted on those who break the mold and stand alone. Often, the murderer is presented by the press as a solitary and deranged killer although history shows that often, the murderer is a “front man” for a person or organization that wants the to-be-murdered person removed.
Lincoln who freed the slaves was shot by John Wilkes Booth; Martin Luther King, Jr. who supported a successful bus strike in Montgomery Alabama was shot on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel. People heard multiple shots but only one gunman was reported. The scene of the crime was dismantled overnight so that no investigation could occur. Malcolm X who told blacks to own their own businesses, their homes, their land, was shot.
Citizen’s power comes from where they spend their money. A population totally dissatisfied with losing their jobs to countries whose workers accept pitiful wages, still buy the garments, TV, cars, stuff made there. They see the label Made in China/Bangladesh and buy it anyway. They guiltily smile when they notice it. Laughter helps us ease even deny our pain. Humor helps us deal with unavoidable tragedy but is not properly used to go along with negative events which are imposed upon us. We who buy stuff made in other countries support the loss of our jobs. We need to look at labels and choose what is made here for our own sake.
TV floods us with advertisements to make us feel that we are sorely lacking something, the very thing they are selling. Advertising encourages us to compete with the Joneses. Looking at what others have makes us feel inadequate. President Bush’s response to 9/11 was to say, “Go shopping” to quiet our minds. It seems he also was confused about what to say and do.
The problem of our going along with what we are told to do but shouldn’t is one of conditioning. We are first conditioned by our parents who direct us to protect us and then by “leaders” who applaud a lock-step reaction to their plans. Rare individuals see the necessity of doing it their own way whether or not others agree. You cannot stop falling in line until you see that you automatically do it. There needs to be an internal assessment before you decide. By thinking and feeling first, your conditioning stops being a natural response. There is a struggle between being part of a group and standing in your own space. You may feel less alone if you join the world of living things as members of a family. What is good for that larger world is good for us all.