Several years ago, on July 4th I celebrated my ‘independence’ from employment, otherwise known as selling my time to others to help them fulfil their goals and ambitions.
Now I’m celebrating independence from something else.
Something rather more sinister.
Something that has been going on since I was in my mother’s womb, and for lifetimes before that.
Something so powerful that it inhibits everything you and I do and everything we are.
Something that causes us, and everyone else, to behave in ways, that if we ‘thought’ about it, we would never dream of behaving.
Have you guessed what it is yet?
It’s a dark web in which we are all enmeshed – until we realise where we are and start to extricate ourselves.
But that’s not easy.
Because it’s so embedded in our psyche, so embedded in the societies in which we live, and so embedded in ‘everything’ that we are involved in doing and being.
“A fine mess” as Oliver Hardy might have said to Stan Laurel.
A fine mess that we’ve got ourselves into.
Like a quicksand that drags us down. Like a maze in which there is no centre and no way out. Like a ‘yellow brick road’ where there is no ‘Emerald City’, no alternative routes, and no way back.
Where, as Ben Franklin said, “Nothing is certain but death and taxes”.
(Both of which are illusions by the way.)
And even when you and I declare our own ‘independence’, there are so many of these things, so interwoven and so interdependent are they, that we can only escape from them one at a time.
But, you and I can escape, we can become ‘independent’ of them – but only if we do two things.
Become aware and take action.
Taking action means making the decision to think differently, reject the ‘controls’ and do whatever it takes to escape.
But action isn’t possible unless we are aware of what it is that we need to reject.
What we need to escape from, what we must escape from and reject if you and I are to ‘progress’ is our paradigms.
A paradigm is a framework, a way of thinking, a set of ‘rules’ (or as Vishen Lakhiani put it in “The Code of the Extraordinary Mind” – ‘brules’).
They are like a program, or an App, that runs in your mind (usually the subconscious mind) which is set off by some sort of ‘input’ or stimulus from outside.
Could be the weather, could be someone’s driving behaviour, could be something someone said, could be something you read, and so on.
There is a paradigm for everything, everything that happens around us, no exceptions.
You and I react to situations of every kind according to our paradigms.
We couldn’t function as corporeal human beings without them.
That’s how the brain works (just like any computer) – input : process : output – but far faster and far more efficiently that any man-made artificial computer.
The time the brain takes to receive an input or stimulus, locate the ‘appropriate’ paradigm, and generate an output or reaction is unmeasurable – a gazillionth of a nanosecond – or less.
The thing is that up to the age of somewhere between 8 and 12 years old we take on all these ‘outside’ paradigms and add them to those we’ve inherited from our ancestors.
When around that age, you and I suddenly realise our individuality we start to make decisions and act according to those ‘brules’.
Unaware that we’re only executing a program that has been fed into us in all sorts of ways before then.
So what do we do then?
We take on more and more paradigms that we find on the TV, on the ‘News’, around us, from our peers at school or college, from our co-workers.
We just go along with all the stuff that’s around us and feed it into the unlimited storage space in our ‘operating system’.
Until we suddenly become aware of what’s going on.
Until we suddenly become aware that we are not, and haven’t been, thinking for ourselves at all.
We’ve just been letting the paradigms do all the ‘thinking’ for us – ‘computer says yes – computer says no’ to paraphrase David Walliams line from ‘Little Britain’.
Only when you and I become aware that a particular paradigm is ‘wrong’ (nothing is actually ‘wrong’ but I’ll discuss that another time) – once we become aware that a particular paradigm does not ‘fit’ for us then we take action to escape it.
How do we do that?
We replace it with a ‘good’ paradigm of our own.
Our own way of thinking, our own program, our own App to use when we encounter that situation again.
Because the only way we can ‘delete’ a paradigm is to replace it with another one.
Sounds simple, but that isn’t necessarily so.
You see some paradigms are so, so, deeply embedded in our psyche that they are often hard to find, hard to grab hold of, and we may even need some psychic help to do it.
The trick is though, to think clearly when constructing our new frameworks, our own positive rules (prules?), what exactly is, from our own point of view, the best way of dealing with the situation concerned.
And we have to be sure, we have to have a clear vision of how we deal with whatever it is – and that sometimes takes a bit of ‘work’, remembering all the time that while we are envisaging this ‘new way’ the ‘old’ paradigm is fighting back.
“You can’t do that!” and so on.
But – it’s worth it.
It’s worth declaring independence, albeit one by one, from your preconditioning, from the Apps you installed before you realised that’s what you were doing.
If you’ve not discovered how to do this then start now, if you have already reprogrammed some of your ‘stuff, then hit another one today, and why not make it one of the ‘big’ ones?
Have fun with this, knowing that it’s really important.
It’s your future – make it your own.