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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Are we taught not to care, or do we really actually not care?

When it comes to trying to change our lives, to truly affect the worlds we live in, why is it that we really take and ask for so little power?  We claim to live in a democracy, a free society, but so few of us really ever use it.  Only half of us really vote, and even in that case it is usually just once a year and though we can write our representatives, rarely do.  Why is it that we are so thoroughly disinterested as a populace?  There are all sorts of theories put forth by academics, and even formulas to predict what leads to democratic participation.  But regardless of each theory, my question comes not in 'what' or 'why', but 'how'.  I wonder, if we don't care, is it because society shows us so many distractions and overloads us with the rest of our lives 'priorities', that we are simply taught to make other things more important and that our voice is just to small to make much of a difference.  This line of thinking would imply that we really actually do care about how the world affects us, and that it is society that teaches us to prioritize ourselves and our time in other more 'docile' directions. 

The alternative to our apathy being taught is that we actually don't really care.  That it is not someone or something else teaching us what we are or should be, but that we simply inherently content living a life with someone else controlling the big things - someone else 'representing' us and making decisions for us.  In democracy this 'other' would be an elected offical, or in another context it could be god or similar 'profound' power.  But this is the true question, whether we actually want to control our lives or are happy to allow it to happen for us (for the most part).

What do you think?  Are you content to let politicans, corporations, supernaturals and/or the like make your life happen?  Or are you more interested in taking control of the way the world interacts with you?  This may seem like a stupid question as most people think they control their lives.  Yet this is exactly the point.  We think we control our lives because we get up as we do, we eat what we do, we go places as we do, etc.  But why do we do these things?  What happens when we get there?  If we buy things like food, is it due to someone else's marketing campaign?  Is when we get up in the morning dictated by when our employer says we need to be somewhere?  Who is it that actually dictates whether there are even jobs out there to have?  We follow the 'rules' and 'laws' of society that someone else has designated for us to follow, and they vary by locale, country, culture, whatever.  We basically do not really make the things around us happen as we want them to, but rather work within the confines of the things that are dictated to us. 

So my question really is this, why?  Why do we not take more initiative?  Is it because the system puts us in positions that don't really reward this type of behavior or maybe just don't promote it?  Is it because certain individual actors keep us without truly knowing or understanding the amount of power we actually could have?  Or, is it the other side.  Is it that we just don't really want to control things?  Is it easier to use politics or religion and allow others or 'god' to control our lives?  To leave it in 'his' hands. 

I must admit that I have always thought that this is/was a taught thing.  That the system/people that run things don't want us to actually rise up and voice things as we would like them because this would disrupt their balance/position of power.  But of late I am begining to see that even given proding and an inkling of awareness, that most people are not really that motivated to make a difference, to try to control their own destinies, and make the larger factors that affect their lives more to their liking.  But then I keep coming full circle.  Even upon thinking about it all and becoming somewhat aware, if these people don't take the initiative, is it because it is too late?  That they have already been taught not to care?  Or is it actually innate?  Do we as humans find it easier to give up our power, is it easier - simpler - to give responsibility to others? 

How can we find out?  How is it that we can care?

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