For those that need independence...

by phil on Saturday Aug 9, 2003 9:09 PM
life lessons, life problems, sub-optimal equilibrium

First, read this Deoxy article titled, "AlieNation: The Map of Despair.

Being stuck and knowing that you're stuck, but not having the will to unstuck oneself. This is the problem we're addressing here. People stuck in unhappy marriages, people in abusive relationships, people at jobs that they can't stand, people locked into a social class...

These people tend to be perpetual whiners and it's hard to have sympathy for these people. Like there will be someone living in NYC railing against how difficult life is, how hard it is to find a job, and how hard it is to obtain happiness. And then you'll want to say, "Just leave New York and it will be fine!" But then they sigh, "It's not that easy." Not that easy?!? The turnpike is that-away!

This is the same problem in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Jack Nicholson, a mentally sane criminal, lands himself into a mental hospital. There he finds the conditions dispicable and tries to rally everybody else to change the institution's policies. The big revelation comes when he finds out that most of the patients are there voluntarily. and THEN, he later finds that he himself is there voluntarily. Time and time again he gets the opportunity to just escape this mental prison, but he just stays stuck.

This was extremely scary and I can think of at least two instances where I became Jack Nicholson. One was when I was dating someone who I couldn't stand but simultaneously couldn't leave--I kept saying to myself, "No Dammit, I can handle this girl!"... another time was when I quit school, I stayed at home for too long, and got too comfortable that I didn't work to make enough money to leave my parents, and instead now I find myself stuck back at school (it'll be over in like 20 weeks, chill).

I'm not sure exactly the way to prevent this, but I think the key is to consantly put your own thinking at the forefront of your consciousness and minimize the influences of your environment. That link to the Deoxy article above makes a compelling stab at just how much command our structure has over us.

Well, the doctor's in town, here are some suggested perscriptions:

== Consistently retreat
- Leave your group often, shut off AIM or stop checking your e-mail for periods of time
- Change your routine up, for example stop visiting those same websites you always visit, or stop watching the same channels
- Travel into nature often, maybe once a week. Get into your car, and hit the mountains, desert, forest..

== Stay grounded
- keep reading/re-reading the books/philosophies that you identify with the most
- try not to get embroiled in the affairs of others, like politics, or local gossip.

They always say "be yourself." Well if your true self can stay constantly in front of your windshield, then hopefully you'll exclusively do things that you endorse.

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