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Cultural Prison

Posted on Sunday, December 20, 2009 in Theories

Just finished reading Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. It was a good read and he presents some interesting ideas. One of which is that we’re all living in a cultural prison. It’s an idea I have spent sometime thinking about in the past – how we are all enslaved by the current system: work or don’t be fed. Quinn presents the idea that one of the driving forces behind our prison is the destruction of our planet – which all of modern man is taking part in. The only way our planet will be saved is if we stop being prisoners to the current system and change our path. He suggests that we need to destroy the prison – not work within it because that won’t bring about real change.

Most people aren’t even aware of being in a system since that’s where they’ve been their entire life. It’s like trying to explain breathing to a fish – something completely outside the scope of their personal knowledge. People usually accept it was being, “The way things have always been.” when it isn’t true. The current system we have has been in the works for the last ten thousand years but humans have been alive for three million years before that and we were doing just find until we decided to rule the world. The system is composed of almost everyone and has been drilled into our heads since we were children. “Work or don’t eat.” seems to be the strongest motivation that keeps the system in place.

The foundation of the system is that it is possible for humans to have certain knowledge of good and evil. We have thousands of laws enforcing this agenda. We have priests and rabbis mimicking this in their sermons. We have our family, friends, news, and media repeating this rhetoric and judging others constantly. When in reality, there is no certain knowledge about this. It is all man-made and people fall into the fairy tale that works best for them. We justify our actions with the reasoning “We know this is good.” when in reality no one knows.

Let me point out that the “sinner” verses “saint” mentality is a mirror of the “us” verses “them”. Separate the people and keep them divided by imaginary lines makes people easier to control. They won’t want to get to know the other because of beliefs. You can’t argue logic with beliefs.

So, maybe you fall for some dogma which enslaves your mind or maybe you reject it. That still doesn’t mean you are free because money controls our society. Those who have it have power within the system but by no means are free from it. Those who don’t have money are forever at the mercy of their fellow inmates who have it. The distribution of wealth and power has nothing to do with justice. It is just luck of the draw which wasn’t the way things used to be because we made this system of the “have’s” and the “have nots.” The system is inherently flawed because it depends on people not having. Global wealth makes global poverty.

The only way this system is going to be teared down is if we have a revolution of ideas and change our ways. Repeating the same mistakes over and over again aren’t going to get us anywhere. The hardest part with this is that those who have their wealth due to exploiting of others will have to part with some of their wealth and privileged so that everyone can have some. Those with any wealth and privileged don’t want to give it up willing which is what is necessary for the division of power to be changed and the playing field be even. A golden example of this is gay marriage, heterosexuals don’t want to give up their heterosexual privileges and share with everyone. Humanity needs to learn to share with other humans and species else it will be our own end.

Bring on the comments

  1. Pythos says:

    Wow, this has echos of what the deep story line of the Matrix was about.

    “being in a prison, which we support”.

    “What is the Matrix? Control”.

    These lines could easily fit into this post.

    I find myself having to hide aspects of myself for fear of losing things that I have worked hard on. I find it absolute none-sense that my ability to do my job will be based on what my appearance is.

    But this is another prison we “creative” humans find ourselves in. The “go along to get along, heard mentalilty”. It is both sad, and stupid.

    It perpetuates that which is negative and destructive in our society.

    It puts un needed bonds on people that some people violently break out of, at times with a loss of life.

    To suppliment your gay marriage statement (which is very cogent), I must also say that the sexual revolution was very one sided. Women got freedoms and rights, and the ability to do a job and drive, and many other things reserved for men only, but both men and women did not give ground in their exclusive areas. How so? Well, why is a guy in a skirt still mocked? One, because for men, the guy is lowering himself down to that level of a woman, and two, women for the most part hang on to the outdated “real man” image. Both sides are guilty, and restrict people. Yet another cultural prison.

    Thanks you for posting this. I hope more people read this, and get a clue.

  2. Jess Five says:

    There’s several layers to the different hierarchies we established in society. The sexual revolution really didn’t do that much – girls are still considered “sluts” if they sleep around while guy’s are considered “studs”. Men didn’t need a sexual revolution because society already gave them rights and privileges – it wasn’t that it was one sided it just that men weren’t nearly as opposed as women. True, the hierarchies still oppress men to have to maintain the manly image and all that nonsense. I wrote about in my other posts how the gender binary is a form of oppression. There was an equal rights amendment up for vote about 15 years ago and what shot it down was the possibility that men and women would share bathrooms if equal. Some conservatives think that unisex bathrooms would encourage rape – which isn’t true as there are other places in the world were bathrooms are unisex and they don’t have problems. That’s what kept the amendment from being passed. Women still are being paid seventy-five cents to the dollar a man gets. It’s not just creative people – it’s anyone who thinks differently than the status-quo. Lots of people are alienated by mainstream society.

  3. Pythos says:

    Some conservatives think that health care is a privilege, not a right. They also think it is fair the CEO of Blue Cross is making nearly a 1000 times more than anyone in the company he runs.

    Conservatives for the most part are greedy S.O.B.s that need to go away.

    As far as women getting lower wages is concerned, in my life I have yet to encounter this. My sister in law is making far more than my brother, is in a higher position (they work in the same job….the stock market, I know, I hate it too), and in my area of work the women make just as much as the men.

    The status quo, is status crap, and perpetuates the inequities of our lives. I personally hate it. “That’s just the way it is” with no clear reason why, is no answer to me.

  4. Jess Five says:

    I could go on a rant about how women are treated as second class citizens instead – I will direct you to this book –

  5. Pythos says:

    Well, my view has been. If men can do it, then so can women, and vice versa. There is not one compelling reason a woman cannot play baseball, drive a car, run a business. Conversely there is not one compelling reason a man cannot enjoy fashion, perform Ballet, take care of the kids.

    True equality is the key, and there are forces in our culture and government that do everything they can to not let that happen. Often times without even knowing it. Others happily and knowingly support it, some being women.

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