I have, at times, found myself really left without words to describe the overwhelmed and genuinely disgusted at people’s ability to look a chicken straight in the beak and tell everyone that it’s a hideous dragon and we should all run for terror. Now I wanted to grab the chicken by the neck and have dinner with maybe a generous helping of everyone shut the hell up but I am usually chastised for thinking that.
Now what I’m getting at with my not so great analogy is this. People don’t really care for logic or reason. We run off of gut instincts and groupthink most of the time. Anyone who knows me well or has been in the car with me in a congested area where I’m trying to get a parking spot to get to a restaurant, bar or cigar café that I enjoy will tell you my thoughts on large groups of people. “We need another war to thin the heard,” or “God, when is the next plague coming. Too many people are beating the statistics and still breathing.” I am in no way advocating war, mass killings, diseases or any other horrendous death laced event. I always have and will always hate people in groups. People are not prone to logic thought on a good day, in large groups almost never. They quickly, even in social instances break down to pack mentalities where the group goes together and acts, mostly irrationally together. Now let’s step back from my nature channel references and get down to what I’m trying to say. In his book, Escape from Freedom, Eric Fromm, argues that freedom has made those who know it truly unhappy and afraid. As most people aren’t equipped and mostly don’t care to be, to handle freedom. The ability to think for yourself and do what you want may not seem that scary at first but sit back, take a deep breath and scream for a moment or two and let your mind ponder it. Imagine you had a good paying job, free healthcare, free education, a home you never paid a mortgage on, public transit wherever you’re going and plenty of free trips at least three times a year. Sounds like a good deal right? Well, let’s add on a few conditions. You are not allowed to own private property, you’re allotted a set amount of food, clothing, water, electricity, and alcohol based on the needs that someone says you have or don’t have. That home you live in is a communal area where a dozen other families live. Your job is decided for you based on the skills they say you have or the needs they assign the community. You can never question their decisions or their methods, and your opinions are deterred with violence and retaliation. Welcome to the United Soviet Socialist Republics! To be fair, I am using an extreme example. Fromm uses medieval Europe as an example where he argues the overall happiness of the average person exceeded the average person today because of the lack of freedom of choice. For instance, if your father were a farmer, you would be a farmer with rare exception. You would live in the same town or village your whole life, and you would marry the person your family had made a deal with or a family friend that everyone decided when you were kids would be your perfect match. You would get married in the local church. Immediately have a multitude of children and a couple would hopefully survive to adulthood and then help you on the farm you inherited from your father and so on. You never had to ask yourself certain questions, where will I go? What will I do for a living? Will I find love? Will I be happy? All these questions were answered for you before you had the time to sit and think about it. This is an oversimplification because I’m writing a blog and not a lecture. What am I trying to get at? Too often we let others make decisions for us because it is difficult and unnerving because of life’s uncertainty. But when we do this logic goes out the window because the people in charge like being in charge and like to remind us they’re in charge and like to make decisions. More importantly, if you want to join them and be a “leader,” you have to agree with their logic, or you’ll never make it past the front door.
When you see a glass of water sitting on the table, and an old man who has a higher status or outranks you in the company comes by and tells you to have a sip of his glass of milk what are you going to do? Will you pick it up, take a swig and then ask for a cookie or are you going to throw it in his face and say, “Mushrooms might grow in all that bullshit.” Don’t let someone tell you something is something it isn’t. It’s not easy, and it’s damn sure scary, but the high reward is you get to be you. Philosophy isn’t for the average person. Because they’re not smart enough to use it? No. Because it doesn’t put bread on the table or pay the light bill. Don’t be average because it’s a slow and painful death that others tell you is best for you. Choose something on your own and make it yours. Those are my thoughts exactly; I hope I used my words as exactly.
“The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it”
– Sir Terry Pratchett