Is your life your own?
Have you ever pondered about the fact that there’s a chance that your life is not your own? It’s a product of all the conditioning done by various faculties of society.
A question that you must ask yourself,
“Would I still be doing all the things I am doing if someone else had not told me to?”
From your lifestyle to education, career, job, marriage, family, children. Are you heading towards the same mechanical cycle imposed from the outside?
“Is there not one moment in your life when you can actually think about this?”
I refuse to believe that you don’t have the intelligence to see it. Or the will power to sit and question it. It’s just a matter of priorities. Even if you buy a phone or a vehicle, you take care of it more than your life. But what about life? Is it not precious enough?
I’ll give an example. If you’ve seen a movie called ‘Fight Club’, you’ll understand, and if you haven’t then you must. It’s not about discussing the movie here. But the lessons that this movie teaches us. It has been adapted from the novel of the same name. Look at some of the quotes here
“It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.”
“This is your life and its ending one moment at a time.”
“You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You are not your fucking khakis. You are all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.”
“The things you used to own, now they own you.”
“Only after disaster can we be resurrected. It’s only after you’ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything. Nothing is static, everything is evolving, everything is falling apart.”
“We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.”
“If you don’t know what you want, you end up with a lot you don’t.”
“Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need.”
“Reject the basic assumptions of civilization, especially the importance of material possessions.”
“We don’t have a great war in our generation, or a great depression, but we do, we have a great war of the spirit. We have a great revolution against the culture. The great depression is our lives. We have a spiritual depression.”
This movie gives us a lesson on how we have become toys in the hands of big companies who manipulate us through their advertisements and markets. And we are products of all that.
We think we are living a life of our own choice but think about it. What we call as our choices are not determined by us. They were not invented by us. Someone else installed them into our programming and we go on following that routine.
Ask someone, or rather ask yourself, why are you doing it? And you won’t find an answer other than the fact that your neighbor is doing it, you just saw him doing it.
Did you travel the entire length and breadth of India and try to find some places where you could know about life? Did you read the books, the literature about the highest aspects of life? Did you explore enough to know what is the highest point of life, to what extent it can be expanded and explored? What’s your full potential? If not, then what gives you the right to claim that you’re living well. People often say this, “What else is there, it’s only what we do, that’s all life is?” It’s like saying there’s nothing beyond the number 1-10 in mathematics, that’s all math is about.
One of the greatest mystics Gurdjieff used to tell a parable….
There was a magician who was also a shepherd.
He had thousands of sheep to look after and he was a very miserly man so he
didn’t want many servants and he didn’t want many watchmen. He did not want to
pay anybody and he did not want his sheep to be lost or taken by the wolves.
But it was very difficult for him to take care of all the sheep alone. He was
very rich and he had many sheep.
So he played a trick on the sheep. He
hypnotized them — he was a magician. He hypnotized them and told every sheep,
‘You are not a sheep. Don’t be afraid.’ To some he said, ‘You are a lion.’ To
some he said, ‘You are tigers.’ To some he even said, ‘You are men. Nobody is
going to kill you. Don’t be afraid and don’t try to escape from here.’
The sheep started believing in his hypnosis. Every day he would butcher a few sheep but the others would think, ‘We are not sheep. He is butchering only sheep. We are lions, we are tigers, we are wolves, we are this and that…’ even that they were men. Some were even told that they were magicians — and they believed it. It was always some sheep which was to be butchered. They remained aloof, distant. They were not worried. And by and by they were all butchered.
That’s how we are conditioned. Just like said in the Fight Club,
First, we are told through advertisements that our desires are countless and we need to buy a number of things.
For that, we need to have a lot of money and for money, we need to work in a company or a factory that can squeeze the juice out of us.
And then further resources are required to exploit the environment and deplete the planet. That’s how the entire mechanics works.
Why do you think GDP or the size of the economy is the criterion used by the governments to measure success? So, humans can be kept as marketing robots and not able to think about their lives. A physically and mentally healthy person is not good for the economy. He won’t need medicines or use cosmetics to showcase an artificial face. That’s how it’s advertised. First, a kind of face and skin is shown- that you should look like this. And for that, you need to buy a certain cream (which by the way uses palm oil obtained by cutting down forests), and then the monetary value of the pharma and cosmetics industry goes straight to the GDP value or economy of the nation.
And why you need to adapt to a certain pattern of life given to you by your family or society? So you cannot think about these things, and live as a free individual. Saint Kabir says, “Once a bird is free from the cage, the entire world starts crying.”
You’re not a pig, rabbit, or a dog. Don’t live like that. Question things. You must know the why of everything that you’re doing. Why marriage? Why produce children when the planet is dying of over-population? Why are you doing a job that you’re doing? Why do you want to become a civil servant? Why are you using a particular product? Is it harmful to the environment or animals or not? And the answer should not be just on the surface, it should penetrate deep into your intelligence. Learn life from people who have known it in the first place.