Conformity and Conditioning. Manipulating humans.
Are you aware that you are conditioned? That is the first thing to ask yourself, not how to be free of your conditioning. You may never be free of it, and if you say, ‘I must be free of it’, you may fall into another trap of another form of conditioning. So are you aware that you are conditioned? Do you know that even when you look at a tree and say, ‘That is an oak tree’, or ‘that is a banyan tree’, the naming of the tree, which is botanical knowledge, has so conditioned your mind that the word comes between you and actually seeing the tree? To come in contact with the tree you have to put your hand on it and the word will not help you to touch it. –J Krishnamurti
The subject of conformity, of the conditioning that the person undergoes from before birth, has been mainly about what this blog has aimed to outline. It will continue to pursue the fact that we are all not alive, that we, no matter what, by the participation in what is called society, and how our every movement has been forced into a repetitive pattern which makes no use of our alive meaning, will always be dead weight. There can be no half-alive/half-dead, half-in/half-out. It can only be all out. Just what are the many ways we have been programmed/conditioned upon this robotic pre-planned “life.” I wanted to share how I know I have been conditioned. But first let me make this clear: survival, safety, comfort, etc….are not reasons for learning something: they are justifications for making someone perform an action. I do not remember my super younger years, but based upon watching my parents with a baby, I can calmly assert that they conditioned me to feel safe when I was cradled, that soothing voices would have conditioned me to be calm, to know that the world was an ok place. As I grew older conditioning would have fallen on me in the form of being polite, learning words such as “yes maam, please, thank you,” and using behaviors such as not grabbing, not being chaotic by running all over the place, yelling, screaming, or crying to get what I wanted. I was conditioned to conform to what anyone bigger than me told me to do. If they were bigger, well, they were probably older, and the idea of respect embodied the idea that if one was older then I should have to listen to them and to do as they asked. Now, did I respect my elders? Not always, typically never, but my oh my did I pay the price. And I understand the reasons why the “adults” around me tried to force me to do it their way. Because they subscribed to the power ideology they had been conditioned to follow. Conditioning has tools that are used for the purpose of forcing the individual to conform. From Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish:
By way of punishment, a whole series of subtle procedures was used, from light physical punishment to minor deprivations and petty humiliations. It was a question both of making the slightest departures from correct behavior subject to punishment, and of giving a punitive function to the apparently indifferent elements of the disciplinary apparatus: so that, if necessary, everything might serve to punish the slightest thing; each subject finds himself caught in a punishable, punishing universality. ‘By the word punishment, one must understand everything that is capable of making children feel the offense they have committed, everything that is capable of humiliating them, confusing them:….a certain coldness, a certain indifference, a question, a humiliation, a removal from office.
Most of these adults would say they are making us do these actions for our safety, for our own good, or because we must learn how to get along with others, or for the mere fact that we just must do it because they say so, for the sake of their own power-driven egos. So even though it is good to know that power is a reason for conditioning us to behave and think (or lack of) in a certain manner, it is also instructive towards a viewpoint of meaning to constantly see every different step of the way in which we have been turned into robotic, soulless, choiceless, dead beings, for the sole reason that we were created according to someone else’s agenda. We all were created because someone else had a “plan” for us.
It was in words that my conditioning would take its deepest form. Words are taught to be used in a certain manner, in a certain form, to a certain audience, in a certain way. There is a whole theater, a giant production behind schooling the child, whether from a teacher’s or a parent’s standpoint. Certain words are forbidden. Other words must be said before other words. Certain actions, such as hands being raised, must occur before the words in our minds can be spoken. There are certain persons we are not allowed to speak with during certain intervals of the day, such as classmates while the teacher is speaking, because why? Well, I was conditioned to accept that if I spoke to the other children while she was speaking then I would not be able to pay attention to the more conditioning that she was forcing subtly upon me. Other behaviors must have permission asked from adults in order for us to perform them: such as may I go to the bathroom, may I get up from the table, may I get this, may I get that. And yet words have a specific ordering to them as well, a conditioning that overtakes our minds in how we must think. Action must be thought of with an order to it. A subject must do a verb followed by the where, the when, or the object. The mind thinks in a conditioned manner. The rules of the language have been conditioned into our mind as the master of our thought. And it is almost impossible to escape that conditioned system.
It is from this early manner of conditioning, from learning to have the rules of language let go of its tentacles to wrap themselves around our minds, to learning that we must always follow some sort of authority of another, where there is always someone that knows what to do that leads us, me, you to be conditioned further in our lives, have our actions limited even further to an either/or choice. I was conditioned to wait for things, not things that I would necessarily have wanted to do had I not known about them, but rather, I was told that there were actions I should look forward to, must look forward to, but that I could not do them now. Conditioning me to look to tomorrow, to never enjoy today, because there was other stuff that would happen tomorrow. I was conditioned that there would be plenty of stuff I would have to do in this life, stuff I wouldn’t enjoy, but stuff I would have to do anyways. I was conditioned that I must do this, or I could not do that. Homework. I was told that if I didn’t do it then I could not go out. Dinner. If I didn’t eat it, no matter if I didn’t like it, was allergic to it, whatever the case, then I could not leave the table. I was conditioned that the adults in my life knew what was best for me, rather than I to know my best interests. Somehow those not in my body knew better than me? But looking back now, maybe they figured they were in my body, in my mind, since it was their thoughts, their dictates that were meant to control my actions.
Family. Love. The world. History. The weather. Television. Where would the conditioning end. I was conditioned that if someone gave me something, if someone who I saw everyday, who gave birth to me, who spoke kinds words to me, but nevertheless still conditioned me and treated me like a robot, is a person I must respect and use an undefined word like love to. I was conditioned that I must feel stuff, either through a conditioning of fear, through caresses, through restrictions, through rewards and punishments, for others, because it was the right thing to do, or because my insides had been manipulated into reacting a certain way. I was bombarded with conditioning from all angles, forced into a system of bodily and mental and spiritual manipulation, that was molding me into a being with no self-identity, no connection to a world or others of my own devices, my own ingenuity, but only by a defining by and through others of what my life must be. I was conditioned that there was a guy who died for my sins, that he ruled and created the whole universe and that he was the authority over my soul, and that if I wanted to have ever-lasting life I had to bow down and pray to some guy I had never met? I was conditioned to have needs and wants I would have never dreamed in a million years had I not been conditioned by my parents, by my teachers, by my family that money was to be respected, that it bought certain goods, and that dressing well was a part of acting properly and that because the television showed me toys that seemed fun, I wanted them. I was conditioned to be a consumer, not just a consumer of material goods, but of all goods, emotional goods, for if I was going to have all the toys, well then I wanted all the emotions too…the joy, the love, the smiles, the praise. But like the goods that are empty of meaning, so too are the emotions when they are only objects that we are forced to seek in order to fulfill something inside us that has been made empty by the very conditioning we have undergone since our birth. And yet it wasn’t just my family I was conditioned to care for, but all of humanity, people I had never met, the people that had tragic things happen to them that were all over the news.
I have been conditioned to accept my lot. I have been conditioned to think that I can only either do this, or do that, but that I still will always live in the reality that has been constructed for me. This reality has been built up as an inescapable fortress of conformity, where I may be able to climb the fence of money and leave that prison of commercialism forever, but I will still be locked up in the fortress of language, in the systems of attachment that keeps me from knowing the me that I could have been before everyone else got a hold of me.
What does the shark think as it swims through the creatureless waters of night unaware of a world of emotions family friends life death lights cars prisons schools money god heaven hell good evil clothes makeup houses and governments?