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I have long had this theory that we are the company we keep, that those around us will shape us, that every day of our lives we are being indoctrinated and brainwashed.

So choose wisely. You are what you eat.

I’ve written a few dozen posts on the subject of culture, indoctrination, and brainwashing, from a  variety of different personal perspectives.

My interest was brought about by all the  usual questions like, What the heck is wrong with all you sheeple?? Has common sense just died?? Has critical thinking gone the way of gluten intolerance? Are we just de-evolving and getting dumber??

I am notorious for falling down philosophical rabbit holes. On one such quest I realized those are not actually the questions at all, or rather those are all far too superficial. We must go deeper still to get to the real question. That question is actually two fold, how am I ever supposed to survive alone trapped on a planet full of stupid people, and whose fault is it that they are all so stupid?

men in black and red cade hats and military uniform

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I very much want to blame human failings and human foolishness on well, Russians. Mediated Reality. The Illuminati. Patriarchy. Fake news. Public schools. Mental health disorders.  Poor socialization. Inadequate vitamin A. Zombies. Brainwashing.  Donald Trump.

Writing about these things tends to get me into a great deal of trouble because believe it or not, all those excuses listed above are politically correct and what all good and decent people accept as the full cause and explanation for various forms of human stupidity.

You can even blame God for all the evils of the world, just don’t ever blame people themselves. That’s called “victim blaming.”

I’m not really a  shamer and a blamer, I simply wanted to know “why” we so often chose to be indoctrinated. Because we do choose to be passive subjects. Non active recipients. We do choose to be half asleep. We do choose what we are going to be  brainwashed into. There’s always a payoff. There is an emotional or a spiritual bliss hit involved.

Like, you’ll pry my hatred of all things Donald Trump out of my cold, dead hands. That’s fine with me, I’m quite cheerful about that opinion, I’m just curious about what the personal payoff is? What do you get out of that obsession? Why are you willing to die on this hill?

And why do you constantly feed you need for outrage by brainwashing yourself with every imaginable article, blog, and tweet? Like, you aren’t just a hater, you’re a glutinous hater.

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I’m sure I’ve ticked off a few people by now, but we needn’t use The Donald as an example. Most of us engage in some form of this kind of brainwashing. Absolutely nobody reads a newspaper searching for the goodness of humanity. Dirty laundry sells papers, (back when paper was still a  thing.) The whole purpose of news, books, blogs, groups, is to get you all riled up and caring about the things others care about. And that’s okay! It’s often even good. We are designed to seek out some like mindedness, some common interests.

We really just brainwash our own selves. We are already invested in believing what is being offered and sold, long before we even reach out for it.

Absolutely nobody ever read Richard Dawkins with a pure, unvarnished, open mind and suddenly became an atheist. Nobody ever commits adultery simply because they forgot to look where they were walking. I could go on and on, but the point being, we all make a series of choices, of critical thought (self denied perhaps,) but critical thought just the same, long before we ever find our self there.

I was not pleased to discover any of these truths. It’s a bit funny to flat out declare this to be “truth” too, especially in light of the fact that I have just watched a few hundred thousand people on FB submit all their photos to a Russian app that simply promises to show them what they will look like when they are 90!

Ai yi yi. Hey man, it’s free and everyone else is doing it…..

I was not pleased to discover any of these truths, not just because now I know I am 100% responsible for what goes into me and how I react to it all, because I’ve always sort of known that. The hard part came in realizing that others have a choice too, and many deliberately chose poorly. Many who I happen to care a great deal about.

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People are not simply brainwashed by religion, by politics, or by public schools, they seek out what validates the perception of reality they actually want to embrace. That can be a very painful truth to confront when the perception they chose to embrace in the here and now is actually a hellish one. That’s illogical, it just doesn’t compute, but I forget, we’re people, we’re not ruled by logic, but rather by strongholds, by emotions, by our own scripts. I have a lot of survivor’s guilt sometimes, and I believe that love should conquer all, and it does, it can, just not my love. His love, not mine.

You cannot love people into wholeness and you cannot teach them how to think.