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The Great Guilt Trip

August 16, 2011

 

 

 

Early on, in their war against older religions, the Christian church understood that the way to influence people is to make them feel unworthy.  Make them feel small, guilty, dirty, ashamed.  Royalty and the aristocracy have always used the same tactic.

If you act like you are better than others, the others begin to believe it.

Tyrants and dictators depend on this public mindset, the notion that we are stupid and incompetent, helpless without direction.  We need big daddy or all will fail.  Today in the U.S. the R People (Right, Republican, Racist, Religious, Regressive, Repressive) are the great masters of this with their plank that mankind is evil and a vast prison system and black shirted police are the only ways to preserve society.

Sometimes I think the greatest human failing is how easily we are convinced by our fellows.  We believe, are cajoled, accept, are propagandized until we end up with our heads full of nonsense put there by manipulating people for their own ends.

In most book catalogs the largest section is that listed self help.  People seem desperate to improve themselves by losing weight, gaining weight, becoming more self confident, have a better smile, swim like a shark and so on.  On one hand this is heartening: so many people wanting to be better must be a good thing.  On the other hand it indicates a level of self-loathing that is alarming.

We are told, over and over, how stupid we are and the sad thing is we believe it.  We believe we need ‘law and order’ to live decent lives, that we can’t do it on our own.  That we are like poorly trained dogs who, when left on our own, will poop everywhere, break lamps, chew up the furniture.  This is the attitude of every government I know anything about, right or left but it seems to the R People (Right, Republican, Racist, Religious, Repressive, Regressive) are specialists at it.  They are the ones edging toward a police state, not the tolerant, individual oriented left.  They want to list us, watch us and rage in at any sign of trouble.  I think the gun people are basically wrong about their enemy:  it is the right wing who invented and installed Homeland Security boys who are making lists of gun owners prior to the big snatch.

I don’t know how many people I’ve talked to who have been convinced early on by someone – parents, teachers, preachers, drill instructors – that they aren’t up to snuff and live the rest of lives believing it.  They are defeated and easy to push around.  They do as they’re told.

And this is what – call it the system, the establishment, the man – wants.  Desperate and hopeless folks who will go to work, go home and feel like they deserve little.  Governments want this as do the corporations and all the R People.

Insist on fairness, justice and you’re a radical wanting to throw God out of Heaven.  The church is probably the worst.  He wants obedient children.

In this, the big boy nation on the global block, our educational systems are piteous pushing memorization and rote.  Try some original thinking and you’re shot down, ridiculed, punished.  If you’ve been to university you know you don’t have to be very smart to earn a degree.  You just need a good memory, how to read your professors and some cheat sheets.

We’re told we’re very nearly useless.  We’re told we’re too stupid to think and should let others do it for us.  That if you think or act by your own lights, you’ll screw everything up.

There is no normal.  Even though I use the term, there really is no common man.  If you are true to yourself you’ll probably find you’re a nice guy.  Most of us are.  And if you’re not, you can change.  What you are today does not limit what you can be tomorrow.  To repeat my mantra, live up to yourself, not down to them.

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