Life Is a Quarrel for Independence

In life on February 25, 2009 at 7:40 pm

Life is a quarrel for independence. It is an attempt to free oneself from the domination of our programming, which we never fully achieve. Programming is all around us: parents, teachers, friends, peers, clergy, and many others have this influence over us. Without it, we would never feel confident about a chosen course of action for the vast majority of issues, even though so many of these issues are essentially repetitive. To avoid endless debate, we simply play the program that seems most relevant.

The danger is not so much that we will play the wrong program, in the wrong context, or at the wrong time—yielding an unacceptable result. In most cases we can simply apologize and try again. The danger comes from the association of each member of our particular set of programs with evaluations or criticisms of how effective they are, or more likely how ineffective they are.

If a parent criticizes everything a child says or does, without offering a method for constructive change, the program continues to play each time the situation occurs, but the child has no confidence in the learned response. Hence the child is reticent to share an opinion, and remains flawed—usually reflected as the absence of the ability to engage in “small talk.”

Life is fatalistic without external influences. These influences are required to bring about changes in our programs; for example, the transition from a child’s view to an adult view. We all have motivational forces within: forces when discovered that free us to some degree from a basically reactionary level—even though we never become completely free from habitual reactions. Such is the snare of fatalism.

However, if we understand why we do things, even if we continue to do them, we gain another degree of freedom because awareness is the first step in reinventing ourselves, and because the doing part of this process is not nearly the problem that the critique is. What must be overcome is the judgement that you are inferior. Learn to apologize, to begin again, and to let go of the past.

False change generally backfires. We can do what we want to make it look like we’ve changed, externally, but whenever we do, we most likely find that we don’t like that person that we are becoming because it isn’t really us. When this happens, learn to apologize, to begin again, and to let go of the past.

Finally, fame makes awareness difficult because fame goes to the head—whether fame is already present or only sought after. Fame is generally associated with expectations for consistent behaviors, which serve to distract and derail. It requires considerable personal investment to change what is cast in stone. Fame exacts a high price. The more famous you become, the more change costs in personal sacrifice: apologize, begin again, let go. The more you do, the sooner you will become you.

Copyright © 2009 by Tad Laury Graham


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