I was recently driving home from work and there was a lot of traffic. Out of boredom, I turned my head to the side of the road. There, I saw a primary school. Then, I looked to the other side of the road and saw a graveyard. I drove a little further and saw a church. Then I got to thinking about the cycle of life and “the system”.
It is all very simple, actually. We are born, we go to school, we work, we do all the things “the system” wants us to do and then we die. This may seem a little extreme, because in the meantime, a lot can happen, but essentially this is the pattern we all follow.
When we are babies and toddlers, we have many unique ideas. As a baby, we can’t express these, because we can’t talk (well) yet. As a toddler, we express (almost) every thought but are often not taken seriously. Then the programming starts and we stop expressing our thoughts and feelings because we adjust to the system. We are taught how to eat “correctly”, how to address older people, etcetera. This all falls under “good manners” and “respect”. But often, our elders are confusing us, without even knowing they are doing this.
Take a student for example. We are all taught to fight for our rights and not to let ourselves get pushed around. Yet, if the teacher says the answer to a difficult mathematical problem is zero for example and we can see that this is wrong, the teacher might get angry at us for correcting him/her. Granted, not all teachers are like that. However, there are also other times when “respect” is the reason why we do not come up for our rights. We are programmed to respect elders, which is essentially not a bad thing. Nevertheless, when this “respect” comes in the way of our rights, we do have a problem, in my opinion.
If you look at it, every person and every animal is programmed to think and behave in a certain way that is natural to us. Take an animal and its young for example. When there is danger near the cub, the mother (and sometimes father as well) will get rid of the threat to protect her young.
The programming in humans does not differ that much from that in animals, because from the time we are young we see what happens around us and adjust to what seems normal. Many women who are born in a western society might get chills (in a bad way) if they were asked to live a life of polygyny (a man marrying multiple women). This is actually very normal in some countries. The even stranger version of this kind of lifestyle is polyandry, where a woman may marry multiple men.
It actually doesn’t even matter how we are programmed, the fact of the matter is, we all are.
Whether we like it or not, we are born into a system that teaches us how to think and behave. Yet, we all have free will, which means that we can decide to get out of that lifestyle and choose a different path. As we have seen, there is a cycle of life. So whichever path we choose for ourselves, at some point we will all just go through the motions and die.
Live your life how you think will make you the happiest and if you want to get out of the system you were born in take the step and do so. Life is too short to live it the way someone else wants you to.