Monday, August 29, 2011

Are you a person or a producer? How much of YOU has been closed off in the name of productivity?

Are you a person or a producer? How much of YOU has been closed off in the name of productivity?

I remember when I was in college how disillusioned I was that the advisory staff pushed me so hard into choosing a major. I kept questioning this. I wanted to simply become a well-educated person in the classical sense. They wanted me to become a useful tool for some industry. I came slowly to the realization that if I had been wealthy enough to go to Harvard, Yale, Cambridge or Oxford, no one would have thought anything strange of my wishes. It was because I went to a State school that I was looked at as grist for the mill...

I have been aware for sometime, since I read, "Iron John" by Robert Bly, the effect the Industrial Revolution has had on men and indirectly on women. Men left the home and went to factory. For the first time in human history young boys were raised by women, because their male relatives were absent. Consequently this has left society with five or six generations of men who have no idea what being a man is supposed to look like. They simply have had no personal experience learning from or emulating a man. The rise of macho-ism is the direct result of not knowing what a true man is.

Yesterday, while working on some photographs I listened to a clip by Raz Ingrasci which pulled these two ideas together. I will paraphrase: "Our culture values and rewards productivity but does not value and reward wholeness. We are measured by our productivity. Men are raised to be measured this way [exclusively]. Education is designed as a factory to produce producers, not whole people. This causes a narrowing of wholeness, of the self."

Why do we go along with this? Brain-washing. We are given the promise that if we can succeed enough as producers, eventually we will acquire all of the things and people in our lives that we need to be whole. We are condititoned into thinking that wholeness is something that is acquired. This is obviously a false promise. Ingrasci relates, "We've all heard the best things in life are free." The follow up is, "The second best things are very expensive." Why are we SO devoted to settling for second best? Because we are programmed from birth. We are programmed that competition is the medium with which to paint our lives.

Nothing could be further from the truth. And it WILL catch up to you. As Mick Jagger crooned in '65, "I can't get no satisfaction," YOU can't either. We are the most obese, most medicated, most indebted, most addicted civilization in history. Why? We are trying to soothe the loss of ourselves. We have allowed the valve of our whole selves to be shut down to a trickle. Only the part that adds to productivity remains. We've become nothing more than a "part" of the machine. Is it any wonder we feel aPART? So we reach for a snack, or a thrill, or a high, sex, alcohol, drugs, more food, more food,  and then some more food...

None of this is ever going to replace the lost you. And it will blow up in your face. What do you think the real cause of "midlife crises" is? It is the realization that the promise was false, that your wholeness can never be acquired through productivity. When we are ready to explode, when we have a life-threatening heart attack, a nervous breakdown, a loss of a loved one or career, we cry, "Uncle." It is then, that we see people decide to travel the world, or write their novel, or start volunteering at a shelter, etc., etc., etc.

Today, begin the task of recovering your wholeness. Eschew competition for cooperation. Learn from nature, there is the road back. Take a walk. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Meditate. Join a spiritual group. START a spiritual group. Tell your boss, "No." Nothing that can be bought, no "high" will return the lost pieces of you. Only your willingness to undo the programming, can get YOU back...


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