Thing is, once we start buying things, we don’t stop. We become addicted to the chase. We have goals we must reach – at work and at home, in order to become “successful”. We become successful in relation to the goals we set. We set them against coworkers (getting the promotion or the biggest bonus) and against ourselves (lose pounds).
Becoming successful never means accepting the status quo. Goals are only reached by changing the status quo. Companies know that and companies must always be changing. They must always be growing. If they don’t, they lose and they die. Companies we work for are always telling us we must achieve more. Investors can always leave to the competition. Companies we don’t work for are always telling us to get more. Contentment is the enemy of success.
Success in the dating world is similarly competitive. It takes the “right” appearance and attitude to attract someone sexy. We must be in a certain stage in life to think about having a family or getting married or “being serious”. We must reach that level in our careers or in our personal lives before we can be seen as “suitable” by potential mates. At least, that’s what we’re told.
Striving for something gives us meaning. When we don’t find that meaning in ourselves, we look outward for something to provide us that meaning. And everywhere we look, we are promised an answer to that. Our company wants us to work harder and longer. Other companies want us to get more stuff. They tell us we will be fulfilled if we do these things.
The church tells us if we say our prayers, go to Mass, and behave like Jesus that we will be rewarded in the afterlife and on Earth.
Teachers and companies tell us to get good grades so we can set ourselves up to work and pay for things.
Hobbies give us something to work towards – a new song we can play or a new dance to learn or a new mountain to get up and down.
We seek meaning in all the things we do because we are told to find meaning externally. And all these external things have their own motivations for wanting us to continue. Their motivation is rarely our freedom. The hobbies are industries. They want us to buy and to return. Our companies want us to make them more money. Our schools and governments rely on attendance and taxes and endowments so they want to maximize that. They don’t want us to be free.
We seek freedom from all these sources that are built to not give us freedom. But we do it anyway because it is an answer.
Thing two is, it’s scary to not do what we’re told. Doing what we’re told provides us with an answer. The answer may come with some glory attached to it if we achieve our status and reach our goals. We are told we will have the beautiful house and beautiful partner and then we will be happy. And sometimes that works out. At least, it can. Our boss seems happier than us because he makes more money and has a hotter car and wife. So we want to be the boss to find happiness in those things. Women aren’t things yeah yeah…
To challenge this takes courage. It requires saying “no” to, potentially, everyone in our lives. Our teachers, our friends, our politicians, our priests (sometimes), and our boss who is responsible for our next paycheck.
To say no requires us to find meaning in contentment. To reject the motivations of everyone else and to find meaning in our own lives. And that’s a mysterious place to look. What is success if no one tells us what success is? What is freedom if it’s not at the top of the next mountain, or after a race to the bottom? Will someone love me if I don’t have things? Or status?
It doesn’t matter. Would you rather love someone because they love the things you have or because they value you, without all those things? What if she’s less hot than the boss’ wife?
If you can find freedom without relying on someone else telling you how to be free – someone who has ulterior motivation for telling you what to do, then you can truly be free.
This freedom is more meaningful than reaching any goal will ever provide. This freedom cannot be given to you by someone. You have to take it. You take it by rejecting the things that promise freedom and don’t deliver.
If you reject all the things that promised freedom, you may find freedom. You may also end up poor and alone. And maybe it’s only in poverty and aloneness that true freedom really exists. And that’s frightening to many people.
But anyone can be free. And anyone can be free now.
Most people want to be herded through the world by systems created by sociopaths. To go against the sociopathic systems means to risk loss of employment, status, and attraction from the other sex. Many people claim they want freedom, but all their actions remind the sociopathic systems that what the individuals actually want are employment, status, and attraction. The systems are happy to sell those things.