Since birth we were told, we could be anything we wanted, do anything we wanted. Be an astronaut, write books, be a detective etc. As we grew up we rationalized this into: we could do, whatever we can do with limited opportunities and resources- There’s only so much everyone can do. But even after we figured out what we rationally can do and will do, how do you be ‘yourself’? There are factors affecting our lifestyles, thinking, habits, social interactions and expectations- How do you make your own independent choices or are your choices really your own?
Pondering about these intellectual, social and lifestyle barriers; I think as the lives become faster than ever before in the history [in post-modern societies]- Are we just being groomed into joining another assembly line [Fordist theory] that has been perfectly structured to fit us in, which is efficient and productive and so well configured that there isn’t possibly a way out of it? How do you make a choice for the way you work- When you are part of a highly integrated and rigid assembly line? I can relate this to a quote I read earlier that goes: ‘nothing is going to change if I quit being me today, or I quit being yours- You will mold someone else into me like you did to me before’. Is that how our corporations/ systems/ societies work? They have a perfectly configured criteria of how a person should be and everyone tries to meet those criteria- At workplaces we are told of a skill set, ideology and KSA [Knowledge, Skills, Achievements] framework that is expected of you. In societies we are branded by what we wear and carry- Doesn’t this lead to the commodification and devaluation of our people? For this reason I believe in ideal conditions people should be taught HOW to think not WHAT to think.
Influence of technology is without doubt amazing in our lives. We wake up to a blackberry or iphone, travel with a tablet in our hands, in an office where we work on computers to return to homes to enjoy PS3 with our friends. This is not just a choice of lifestyle but the dependability on these gadgets and technology in general that confines us better in the ‘assembly line’. Earlier in my blog post called ‘Did we know what iphone was doing to us’ I mentioned ‘Funny world it is- where loyalty is promised to gadgets and people are addressed to and treated as commodified ‘labor POWER’. The unfortunate devaluation and replacability of people is immense and astonishing if you- for a while- un-habituate from the system and look at it as an external source. Ask yourself how many people today desire for honesty, love and friends? Now compare that to how many people might want iphones or ipods?’
This takes me to the next and last factor of influence on individuals apart from this lifestyle, technology and ‘assembly line’ that control who we are. Its perhaps the one we ‘choose’. So, it is also the one we might directly think about without having to un-habituate from the system. It is the social expectations and acceptance. In our entire lives we see ourselves seeking for approval, acceptance and direction in light of what others want to see in us. Do people approve of what you think? Believe? Do? Like? Or Dislike? We are social beings and this is our nature- But we need to know whose expectation is and is not important. I mentioned earlier in my blog that ‘if you are going to be an aware intellectual, people without direction are going to envy/ disapprove of you. If you are going to be liberal minded, the conservatives are going to dislike you. If you are going to be a feminist, male domination is going to be a resistance for you’. You cannot get everyone’s and every thing’s approval- You cannot have it all! And having ‘it all’ is rather a state of mind and priorities of what is and is not important. This factor is even more important in mutlicultural socieities where values, judgments, cultures and thinking have such wide diversity. Having considered each one of these factors, these words do make such remarkable and relevant meaning: To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment– Ralph Waldo Emerson