Every now and then my teachers make us watch documentaries for homework. Most recently it was one about “alternative” religions, where they interviewed some guy who converted to Rastafari. Most of what he said sounded ever so slightly insane to me, except for one thing: mental slavery. Being stuck in the same patterns of thinking, unable to see anything except for what your peers tell you. (if that’s what he meant)
It is a very destructive way of thinking. And I don’t think it’s unusual, at all.
Perhaps it is the cause of that feeling, that everything has been said and done already. It hasn’t, obviously, but it feels as if. I mean, there’s no point for me to make a statement against [insert cruel ideology], because everyone has done that already. Those who don’t believe in it wouldn’t listen anyway. Endless battles – ending slavery, right to vote, legalizing gay marriage and on and on – have already been fought. I’m infinitely thankful to those who fought them, but at the same time it would be nice to have started something new, or contributed to something new. Something that actually matters.
So what do we do when we don’t need to fight? Act to please? Show people that we are so kind and open-minded and smart, as if it made us unique?
Like in elementary school, when we were to discuss moral dilemmas. It was really about making us all agree – “it’s OK to have different opinions, as long as we all agree” or whatever. I do agree with the ideas we were given – don’t hurt people, don’t kill people, don’t be mean to people – and I think I would have agreed with them without being taught to. What bugs me is the learning process, and how we were (are) encouraged to question everything except what they tell us.