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Offlinepaisley1123
Stranger
Registered: 05/16/06
Posts: 4
Last seen: 15 years, 3 months
A Crazy World - Western Culture's Icy Grip
    #5639561 - 05/16/06 11:22 PM (15 years, 5 months ago)

Well, here I am again. Well actually, here I am once more. I find it so unfortunate that people believe they have to fix things in order to be happy with them. I am really starting to understand the dichotomy between Eastern and Western cultures. I wonder if culture is caused by people or people are caused by culture. Most people around me absolutely are products of the culture. For instance: most people believe that they have to change things, as opposed to changing their outlook on those things. Most people tend to think that there are things they have to do; they fail to see that those things are actually choices they’re making, albeit choices where the outcome has usually been decided for them through societal influences. Most people also think they can’t change. They say things like “maybe someone more patient could do it, but I certainly can’t” or “maybe I could have accomplished this or that if things had happened differently, but at this point in my life, it’s impossible”. People in those situations don’t understand that patience can be a choice for them, and that they can actually choose to change themselves in such a way that would allow them to accomplish “this or that”.

It is completely different for a handful of people in the west and most people in the east. Those people actually realize, oftentimes after much thought and reflection, that everything in life is a choice, including how we react to situations that have the potential to make us mad, annoyed, sad, hurt or whatever. The interesting thing is that if one of those people were to say to someone bound by western thought “your problems are simply illusions created by your mind that would disappear if you chose to look at them in a different light. You would realize they are not problems at all, but rather opportunities,” they might say something like “I would like to do that, but I’ve got this, that, or the other thing to take care of, and I can’t just drop everything.” People like that believe that by saying “realize there are no problems”, we mean to just drop everything and do what they want. Of course that is ridiculous. We mean for them to realize the good in these problems, to change their outlook in such a way that their problems become joys. Paying the bills is a chance to learn about your house and appreciate what you work for, driving the kids around is no longer a chore; it’s a chance to be with them in a tiny room for a while right in the middle of this “fast-paced” world everyone is talking about.

What’s really needed is for the culture to change, since culture really is the only force that influences people constantly, day and night. A paradigm shift needs to occur for the average person to achieve any sort of sustainable happiness; unfortunately, this paradigm shift is unlikely to arise any time soon since the people that control the current paradigm are the ones “succeeding” in it. It’s fairly obvious that our society is already in a sad state of affairs if the populace no longer controls the culture, but instead massive corporations like the government, faceless business enterprises, religious institutions and the legal system do. Sure, one could argue that the corporations are supported by the people, therefore the people ARE in control, but because of the human need to be accepted, which is discussed extensively by Maslow, McGregor and others, people are willing to go along with whatever they think will help them attain respect from their peers. Generally, people believe that this need can be fulfilled by buying a nicer car than your neighbour’s or by having a greener lawn or a cleaner house than those around you, when really, these are just materialistic shadows of a person’s true self, which will lead to no lasting respect . Regrettably, in the west attaining that respect usually comes at the cost of the higher needs never being satisfied, since people are so bombarded by the thought of others’ respect being the ONLY true goal, that they are unable to progress to dealing with other needs. Of course, the corporations will not allow this paradigm shift to happen so long as people still want their pre-packaged “perfect” way of life, which allows the controllers of the system to “succeed” at a game they have essentially invented and are in complete control of.

The system is beautiful. Once set in motion, just about everybody, from businesses to individuals, is willing to play by the rules. Money flows, economies flourish, individuals save up to buy a giant TV. They don’t need to think about anything real since surely this is how it’s supposed to be. It’s interesting to note then, that people stuck in the system, even those that have been wronged by it, defend it tooth and nail. I’m amazed that people don’t take the eastern way of life (whose proponents may not even refer to as “eastern”), or hippies for that matter, seriously. Most people assume that you’re an idiot if your idea of happiness doesn’t rest solely on living in a nice house, having nice things, working at a “respectable” job, having a “successful” wife and kids or any of the things the culture tells them are good and right. Most people don’t realize that these hippies and other “counter cultural” types would have been, and in most cases were, just like them, caught in the perpetual wants of the “system”. The difference between those still stuck and those that are free is either due to upbringing in a different cultural framework, as is the case for people raised in the east or in eastern-thinking households, or due to a realization that occurred to them that the “usual” way isn’t necessarily the “right” way. It’s amazing to what lengths those that are still caught in the system will go to protect the system. This can be seen again and again, from passersby being offended by homeless people and firmly suggesting they get a job, to parents asserting in their kids the idea that they must get good marks, get a good job and be a productive member of society, to my own mother, who said I must be “sick” one day when I suggested she change her outlook on problems while we were discussing the “little things” in her life that were causing her unhappiness. Amazing. Maybe things would be different if the people that have escaped the pull of this culture weren’t so goddamned nice and respectful of everyone’s opinions. A Crazy World.

Even this essay is an example of the dichotomy between “the cultured” and “the rest”, also known as “the west” and “the east”. Its unusual format, which is drastically different from the formulaic approach to writing taught in most schools, will be enough reason for some people to disregard it. If not the formatting, then perhaps it is the subject matter that will prevent serious contemplation; surely no one claiming that the “usual” way is wrong could actually be right, right?


-------------------------------------------------
This is a pretty early draft, i'd appreciate any comments or suggestions

Thank you - Braeden


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OfflineSporetacus
Swashbuckler

Registered: 04/19/06
Posts: 152
Last seen: 15 years, 4 months
Re: A Crazy World - Western Culture's Icy Grip [Re: paisley1123]
    #5639590 - 05/16/06 11:27 PM (15 years, 5 months ago)

I give it  :thumbdown: :thumbdown:.

Do you know 'most people' in the east as you proclaim or 'most people' in the west? I didn't think so.

Why not tell us about yourself and how you have mastered reality and bypassed culture instead of telling us of all the alleged sheep? That would be way more enlightening.


--------------------
I'm Sporetacus!


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Offlinepaisley1123
Stranger
Registered: 05/16/06
Posts: 4
Last seen: 15 years, 3 months
Re: A Crazy World - Western Culture's Icy Grip [Re: Sporetacus]
    #5643850 - 05/17/06 11:38 PM (15 years, 5 months ago)

Well you're right, I don't know most people in the west or most people in the east, but that fact doesn't invalidate the conclusions I drew considering that in most cases, the respective cultures are defined by the attitudes that I claim "most people" in those respective cultures hold. That represents a deductive, rather than inductive (which is what you were implying) mode of reasoning, which most people (and in this case, "most people" is based on inductive logic) would agree is generally a more sound form of reasoning. Thank you for your post. I'd be interested in any other comments anyone has, preferably regarding specific conclusions I'm making, though I would be happy to read any comments at all.

Thank you again.


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Invisiblemoog
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Registered: 02/15/05
Posts: 1,296
Re: A Crazy World - Western Culture's Icy Grip [Re: paisley1123]
    #5644119 - 05/18/06 12:33 AM (15 years, 5 months ago)

I think the phenomenon you're attempting to describe goes beyond just culture. It has more to do with the human mind itself. The culture is an effect but not the cause. People in general are too attached to their egoic self, and this results in a culture where the sole purpose is to promote the self in any way possible, either positively or negatively, both "directions" ultimately having no inherent difference: The man who suffers and identifies with his suffering is stuck in the same expression as the "successful" man who identifies with his money and achievements.

The way out of this dilemma, for those who see it as such, is to find identity and awareness beyond the egoic self.


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OfflineDavid_Scape
Anti Genius
Male

Registered: 08/05/02
Posts: 878
Loc: U.S. of muthafuckin A.
Last seen: 12 years, 4 months
Re: A Crazy World - Western Culture's Icy Grip [Re: paisley1123]
    #5645133 - 05/18/06 05:25 AM (15 years, 5 months ago)

Paisley, Here is an excerpt that I think you will enjoy:

Quote:


"It is an inherent property of intelligence that it can jump out of the task which it is performing, and survey what it has done; it is always looking for, and often finding patterns. Now I said that an intelligence can jump out of it's task, but that does not mean that it always will. However, a little prompting will often suffice. For example, a human being who is reading a book may grow sleepy. Instead of continuing to read until the book is finished, he is just as likely to put the book aside and turn off the light. He has stepped "out of the system" and yet it seems the most natural thing in the world to us. Or, suppose person A is watching television when person B comes in the room, and shows evident displeasure with the situation. Person A may think he understands the problem, and try to remedy it by exiting the present system (that television program), and flipping the channel knob, looking for a better show. Person B may have a more radical concept of what it is to "exit the system"--namely to turn the television off! Of course, there are cases where only a rare individual will have the vision to perceive a system which governs many peoples' lives, a system which had never before even been recognized as a system; then such people often devote their lives to convincing other people that the system is really there, and that it ought to be exited from!"
~Douglas R. Hofstadter






--------------------
focusing
Flow
The Enneagram


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Offlinepaisley1123
Stranger
Registered: 05/16/06
Posts: 4
Last seen: 15 years, 3 months
Re: A Crazy World - Western Culture's Icy Grip [Re: paisley1123]
    #5645715 - 05/18/06 11:58 AM (15 years, 5 months ago)

Much thanks to both of you. I did enjoy that excerpt, enough so that I will certainly look into Hofstadter in the near future. As for Moog, you make an interesting point which brings up the hotly debated issue of nature vs. nurture. Whether or not culture is the cause of the effect really boils down to whether it's inherent in us to be attached to the "egoic self" or if we're taught to. It is hard to say which came first since one could argue that "culture" existed before humans (in primates especially), and therefore IS inherent (though one could equally make the claim that it's just our categorizing minds that CALL what primates do culture) OR that culture developed as a result of a perceived need for humans to band together and make up sometimes-silly rules for how they should live. Personally, I'm not so worried about the causality of it, I'm more interested in spreading the word, in "convincing other people that the system is really there, and that it ought to be exited from!"... to quote the quote.


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