Humans Enslaved

By “humans enslaved” I mean not so much physical ownership and physical slavery imposed on you by others, the form of slavery that has been and often still is practiced in the world, but often self imposed mental slavery. You are a slave and what is enslaving you is in fact you. But if you want a scapegoat, you can pin the blame on society for brainwashing you in the first place since none of what follows is hardwired or innately carved into your little grey cells.

TIME: The basic premise here is that when the clock ticks, you jump. How often do we say “Can’t talk now”; “I’m late”; “Gotta run”; “Its kick-off time” or its time for (the meeting, catching the train, the dinner party, etc.). It never ends. Alarm clocks, the factory siren, the referee’s whistle, your life is regulated by the clock from the moment you get up in the morning till the moment you lie down at night. You are indeed a slave to Father Time!

MONEY: Money is not always of root of all evil. Some people are just born nasty! Still, the average person worships the great dollar bill (or equivalent), and for good reason – you avoid getting a “go to jail” card since you can pay your bills. But quite apart from the necessities – bills, the rent/mortgage, food, clothing, heat, education and medicine – we tend to be slaves in not just needing, but wanting, more and more and more, and more and more and more requires more and more and more money. And thus, a major part of our existence and purpose is to acquire wealth – and that’s hardly something that’s modern to the here and now. It’s been that way since Methuselah was a brat in diapers (and even before that when you consider those Ancient Egyptian tomb robbers). If your bank account is bigger than anyone else’s, well it’s the golden rule – them who has the gold makes the rules. Be it gold or the dollar bill, you’re a slave in pursuit.

POSSESSIONS: Be it gold or the dollar bill, you’re a slave in pursuit. Why? You want things, stuff, possessions. You get bragging rights if your (fill in the blank) is bigger, more expensive, and/or larger in quantity, than that of your peers. You are a slave to obtaining stuff way above and beyond the basic necessities for all sorts of psychological reasons. Instead of the application of “enough is enough”, you let the concept of “shop till you drop” rule your mental roost.

FADS & FASHIONS – THE LATEST MUST-HAVES: You are blitzed with hundreds of ads per day, in print, on TV, on the radio, on the Internet, even non-promotional ‘ads’ in the form of news stories, articles, etc. that note and log trends in society. You are told, via these ads and ‘ads’ what’s hot and what’s not. What’s the latest style in ladies shoes? What are the latest in-colours? Should you get carpet or tiles? What’s the newest kitchen gadget? What’s the newest toy? What’s all the latest rage in laptops? What’s the hottest new TV show either on TV or on DVD? The list of fads and fashions that you MUST HAVE are as lengthy as a telephone book! From the hula hoop to the whitewall tire; from the microwave to the convertible; from the espresso coffeemaker to the miniskirt (or hotpants); now what’s the latest bestseller in books? Who’s the latest artist with a top ten hit? Of course multi-millions part with their $$$ all in pursuit of owning the latest MUST HAVE – actually it’s MUST HAVES, hundreds of MUST HAVES. And so we are slaves to Madison Avenue and equivalents around the county and around the world. And it must work. The ads have enslaved us (though the buck stops with you) otherwise there’d be no new fads and MUST HAVE fashions. But of course today’s MUST HAVE is next week’s BORING, to be replaced of course with a newer version of MUST HAVES! It never ends.

MARKETING: Even if you apparently don’t want unnecessary possessions and don’t partake of the latest fads and fashions, there’s a whole marketing enterprise out there designed to make you reconsider and dance to their tune; grab you by the privates and make your heart, mind and wallet follow to the beat of their drum. You’re hopelessly outnumbered and outgunned. There are numerous ploys or tricks into making you cough up your money, often slogans and buzz phrases. See if you recognize a few: “Last chance”; “Never to be repeated”; “Our pain is your gain”; “Below cost”; “No extra cost to you”; “Hurry, last days”; “On sale”; “Exclusive to”; “Limited offer”; “Limited edition”; “Once in a lifetime offer”; “Sale ends…”; “Limited time only”; “Buy two get one free”, and hundreds more buzz phrases. There are many variations on the theme. I mean this type of strategy works; otherwise the strategy would have been abandoned eons ago. You may think you’re immune, but the odds are your enslaved just the same.

APPEARANCES: If there ever was an obsession, this is it. From time immemorial, anyone and everyone has been a slave to how they appear to anyone and everyone else. But if you stop and think about it, what counts is the real you, what you represent; your characteristics; your personality. How you dress, your hairstyle, your makeup, your adornments, your house, your car; your social smarts and etiquette are really irrelevant. If you go to work in a smart suit and tie, or in your birthday suit, neither has anything whatever to do with how competent you are to do the job you are paid to do. A Nobel Prize winner is still a Nobel Prize winner even if he plays the bongo drums, likes to visit strip clubs, womanise, and lists safecracking as a hobby! Without naming names, the late Nobel Prize winning theoretical quantum physicist Richard P. Feynman’s book “What Do You Care What Other People Think?” should sum up the concept that superficial appearances are just that – superficial. Would you sooner go down in history as a snappy dresser without a hair out of place, or as an Einstein, notorious for having a rather poor sense of adornments or dress sense?


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