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And, yes, I DO take it personally: We've learned how to be helpless
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Sunday, December 13, 2009

We've learned how to be helpless

some pointed questions...
Can people become so broken that truths of how they are being screwed do not "set them free" but instead further demoralize them? Has such a demoralization happened in the United States?

Do some totalitarians actually want us to hear how we have been screwed because they know that humiliating passivity in the face of obvious oppression will demoralize us even further?

a simple answer - yes...

a bit more thoughtful answer and it's something i've posted on before (here)...

we are very carefully schooled in countless ways to see ourselves as helpless... in my professional life, which is the place where i see "learned helplessness" play out on a daily basis the most is today's workplace... it matters not whether we're talking about the private sector, for-profit, non-profit, government, health care, education, or organizations inside or outside the u.s., they're all the same... you quickly learn that there's absolutely NOTHING you can do to change your situation... i'm actually experiencing this right now with a project some colleagues of mine and i are trying to move forward, a project that, imho, would contribute something positive to the mess in afghanistan... and what am i hearing...? the same things i've heard all my life... "that's just the way it is... deal with it..."

what choices are we told we DO have...? what options are we given to exercise our personal power...? you don't have to be a brain surgeon to figure that one out... our options are all focused on how we spend our money, if we're lucky enough to have any... we're given very few options on how we GET that money but zillions of options on how to spend it... the spending and the act of acquiring become synonymous in our minds with exercising our personal power - spend, acquire, appear powerful...

going back to the article quoted above...

[M]ost U.S. citizens are broken by financial fears. There is potential legal debt if we speak out against a powerful authority, and all kinds of other debt if we do not comply on the job. Young people are broken by college-loan debts and fear of having no health insurance.


Schools are routinely places where kids -- through fear -- learn to comply to authorities for whom they often have no respect, and to regurgitate material they often find meaningless. [...]

Today, U.S. colleges and universities have increasingly become places where young people are merely acquiring degree credentials -- badges of compliance for corporate employers -- in exchange for learning to accept bureaucratic domination and enslaving debt.

and then there's television...
[T]elevision helps create all eight conditions for breaking a population. [...]
(1) occupies people so that they don't know themselves -- and what a human being is;
(2) separates people from one another;
(3) creates sensory deprivation;
(4) occupies the mind and fills the brain with prearranged experience and thought;
(5) encourages drug use to dampen dissatisfaction (while TV itself produces a drug-like effect, this was compounded in 1997 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration relaxing the rules of prescription-drug advertising);
(6) centralizes knowledge and information;
(7) eliminates or "museumizes" other cultures to eliminate comparisons; and
(8) redefines happiness and the meaning of life.

i've made many choices in my life, particularly over the past few years, to shake off the common elements of forced compliance imposed on us by our society and our culture... i am not a full-time employee... i have virtually no "assets" - no house, no retirement nest-egg, and very few possessions... my lifestyle is based on interactions with authentic people as opposed to cardboard cutouts and my work is focused on spreading the knowledge and wisdom of how to be authentic in the workplace... nonetheless, i am still subject to these same forces, just a lot less now, thank goodness...

i am, however, at the point of cutting some more cords, not in the "heading off to live in a cave" direction, but rather in the "let's take some bold steps to actually make something HAPPEN" direction...

i'll let you know how that works out for me... HA...!

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