We tend to think that we write and live out our own stories, but the reality is that as soon as we are born into this world we are thrust into a world of programs — some of which have existed and evolved with us throughout human history.
From an ancestral, cultural, societal, and collective level, our psychological and spirituals ‘programs’ that we operate from were not always adopted into our personal consciousness through praxis or careful consideration.
In fact, it was likely the opposite: we just absorbed the stories around us as our own.
As children, we did not have the opportunity to tease out life concepts and perceptions through experience, or assess them based on deep understanding. We took them in without much of a filter. How could we do anything else? The brain development wasn’t there yet, and we had not yet ‘stepped into ourselves’ to be able to select what aligned with our own inner system of operation.
With the weight of not only our generations of ancestors on our shoulders, but the collective mode of operation of humanity and its predecessors, how could we possibly hope to achieve anything close to a ‘clean slate’ to build from as fantasized by Locke.
Are we not, through birth, immediately thrust into an already existing story and forced to live contextually based on what was collectively decided as ‘acceptable’?
How Our Stories Are Written Without Us
As long as we are living a life based on what we are told we must become, or what we are afraid we must avoid, we are living a contextualized story based on the beliefs and perceptions of others – or perhaps the great ‘other’ that is the external world that we have personified and given a voice in our own psyches in order to try and become ‘good enough’ to be accepted by it.
Our current version of the modern story says we ‘must‘ attain a certain level of academic success, we must achieve a certain job title, dress and look a certain way, speak a certain way, and if we fail at this then we are not worthy of inclusion in the collective story; we will never be contemporary ‘heroes’ in our societal tale.
And this structure of what is ‘good enough’ is always changing throughout history. The most cherished styles of dress and presentation vary throughout each generation just as the personification of myths and heroes. As we search individually from inclusion, society continues to ‘move the target’ of what is closest to perfection. With the addition of cosmetic surgery and graphic edits in photos, the strive for perfection reached a new-mythic level.
It’s interesting that Terrence McKenna said in order to be true to yourself you must alienate to some degree from society, proclaiming “so the cost of sanity in this society is a certain level of alienation.”
If we are to analyze our ‘human blueprint’ that we operate from, certainly the goal would be to go beyond what ‘likely worked somewhat well for the means of extreme survival’ or vain societal outcome and look towards a healthier holistic method of living. It seems necessary now more than ever to begin the individual and collective process of consciously reviewing the perceptions and programs we unconsciously subscribe to.
For the record, I don’t think shunning society is the right path here; these systems were put in place for various reasons including survival. If you did not achieve a certain level of success then you would face dire circumstances for 99% of human existence beyond social concerns or economic hardship of modern times. We attained and empowered these programs throughout our experience.
So here we are living this story based on data points from thousands of years of human ancestry and societal systems and when do we stop and assess what’s working? It’s our own responsibility to consider what Carl Jung said, that we are not what happened to us, but what we choose to become.
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