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Thursday, April 22, 2010

How to avoid being controlled and find true freedom

To control an optimist sell him on a false idea and take all his energy and resources.

To control a pessimist tell him how dangerous it is to do all the things you don't want him to do.

Are you an optimist or pessimist ?

Both forms of control involve manipulating someones perception. In Australia we have a lot of what's called shock ads created by the government to stop people doing things, for example drinking and smoking both have strong shock advertisements. This appeals to peoples pessimistic nature to convince them something is more dangerous that it probably is so they will stop doing it. However the vast majority of commercial advertisements appeal to peoples optimism. For example clothing will make you more attractive, tampons bring fun into your life and expensive cars make you more powerful.

This attempt to control us through perception includes institutions, governments, schools, family and work. In fact it can be pretty much everyone we interact with because most people are just projecting their own controls onto others.

To develop freedom from perception based control we need to work on our perception skills. One method I've found to be really effective is to look at things deeply both from an optimistic and pessimistic point of view. This duality lets us more clearly percieve things that don't add up and gives us a much richer understanding of things. This is a pretty common method used to assess something important, people say draw up a list of pros and cons. But with practice it can become second nature and is an invaluable skill especially when presented with a situation that is attempting to control us through our perceptions.

So that's all pretty straight forward and I'm sure a lot of you do this all the time when presented with someone wanting your money for something. But lets take this concept a step further and use our perception to challenge some beliefs we may have picked up unconsciously or when we were too young to look at things carefully. Things like the value of friendship, the value of family, religious beliefs, patriotism, breaking the law, violence, relationships, marriage, love, sexuality and the benefits of tragedy or failure.

Did you know there are positives to violence or did you just believe violence is always wrong? I was brought up to believe it was always wrong however after learning how to perceive things more deeply I'm no longer so sure.

Imagine you are in a small tribe trying to survive in the wilderness, now one member of your tibe does something stupid like eats all the tribe's food store or burns down someone's house. You need every member of your tribe for it to be stronger and you certainly can't afford the resources to lock anyone up in prison. A quick punishment, a beating, is a very efficient solution. It's quick and makes the point clearly to the offender and once it's over the tribe can simply get back to it's daily business.

If there is even one use of violence that can be positive, protecting someone you care about for example, then it can't be always wrong.

Are your beliefs just a form of ingrained control that was instilled in you when you were too young to question them? I dare you to look carefully and deeply at each of these concepts and see how it changes your outlook on life. That is true freedom. Freedom to rebuild our beliefs free from control.

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