I still remember the kind of questions I asked to my parents when I was a child. Perhaps the most intense period of questioning was between ages 5 and 7. I once asked my father about the origin of universe.
Obviously, he gave me no convincing answer. I mean, the Big Bang sounded right for a few minutes, until I asked myself “OK, so where did the Big Bang came from?”.
As I found no answer, my interest on physics and that kind of stuff rapidly grew up.
You may think that a child asking about the origin of universe is nonsense. A child doesn’t know a shit about anything! However, I think the point is not whether you can understand the answer or not, but it is whether you question what is socially marked as unquestionable.
We the humans are social beings. We influence other people and let other people influence us. That’s really easy to see in high school. Everyone wants to be normal so the chance of margination is lower. Being different? Nah, just follow the coolest guy and do as he says, wear as he wears and play the games he plays. In the end, just follow a stereotype. But this horrible behaviour starts happening even before high school, and its roots start to grow extremely early in life.
I have two nieces. They’re 3 and 2 years old. As almost every child nowadays, they usually watch TV series and films. And sometimes I do, too. Not because I like them — hell I don’t — but because I’m alarmed by them.
A lot of these films/series feature kings and queens in the medieval age. But, contrary to history, the medieval age is seen as a magic and fabulous age, and the kings as the heros of the people, because they are the best and they have been given the power to rule the others.
I see that every adult man has a 9-to-5 job, a house, a car, a wife… I see superheros that save people, not people that save themselves in a collaborative way. I see less and less nature… and more pink cows, pigs that drive and wolfs that kill humans. And so my nieces are irrationally scared by Sira, my Alaskan Malamute — they look like wolfs — without any possible explanation. Or take something as simple as color distribution: blue is for the boys, pink for the girls.
In real world™ we name that stereotypes and prejudices.
I have just finished reading Brave New World by Aldous Huxley — in case you haven’t read it yet, you really have to. It’s about a dystopian society where everybody is happy and everything is artificial and carefully controlled by the state.
In Brave New World, they use hypnopedia, a kind of sleep learning consisting on repeating a sentence lots of times when somebody is sleeping, so in the end the subject strongly believes what was said during his sleep.
What has hypnopedia in common with these series and films? It is all subconscious learning. It happens without the subject trying to actually learn anything.
And it is practically unnoticeable. These ideas just adhere to your thoughts, and you don’t easily question them.
Some years ago I started noticing that something wasn’t right about society. A lot of inertia going on, people just nodding without first thinking what they were nodding at.
But my disordered thoughts, that started to make sense years ago, just finally ordered themselves.
You can call it paranoia — I don’t think it is. It’s just the way things work, it’s just reality. People have been manipulated using differents kinds of media for a while. And I have to say that I’m not afraid of active manipulation, because it’s easy to notice. I’m afraid of subconscius manipulation that only a few will ever notice.
And when only a few notice it, they are be marked as lunatics, paranoids and extremists. But then the problem is that this is not about the media vs the thinkers, it’s about the non-thinkers vs the thinkers. Because when the idea has entered your brain without you noticing, it mixes as one of your thoughts until something pops and you begin to question it. But, how many times a day you stop and think about whether the ideas you defend make sense or not?
Because of it, you can find a lot of people that don’t even believe in their — well, the media’s — ideas, but that try as hard as possible to defend them. The point is, if you don’t really believe in your ideas, someday, when the inertia and the status quo leave you alone for a minute, you’ll figure out they’re not yours.
So, please avoid inertia.
Stop the crazy lives we have built ourselves just to avoid thinking.
Keep you eyes open and don’t believe everything.
In the end: Question. Everything.