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coberst1
Feb 28, 2008, 04:52 AM
Determinism by fate: Freedom by will

We are meaning creating creatures. But DickandJane fear to assume the responsibility for his or her own meanings.

Instead of encouraging creativity of courageous proportions we are advised to “go shopping”. Our complete focus upon production and consumption, i.e. material prosperity has made us into cowards. Our commercial-industrial complex discourages autonomous meanings and “cultivates mass man and the mass mind, promoted sex fetishism along with consumer fetishism, tried with all the modern techniques at its disposal to indoctrinate the great commercial fiction like huge blanket over modern mind.” Fetish—an object of irrational reverence or obsessive devotion.

Our educational institutions teach conformity and an uncritical mind. Universities along with our K-12 schools have become tools of the commercial-industrial complex; neither seeks to create spoil-sports of cultural fiction.

Psychiatry has shown that “lack of self-reliant autonomy actually causes human breakdown.” Shopping is not the answer. The shiny new stuff does not always, in fact it seldom, satisfies the individual need for dignity and worth. Many very materially successful men and women have spent time in mental wards.

The truly self-reliant person must find a way to learn to be, not a critical shopper, but to be a person who is capable of moving away from the herd to which our formal educational system propels us. “Civilization can be debasing; weakness causes evil.” We now know what is debasing in our commercial industrial civilization; our nature is debased by narrowness and powerlessness. “Not powerlessness to tyrannize others, but powerlessness to assume responsibility for one’s own ethical choices.”

Our educational system prepares us for herd action and good shopping. After this education is complete we must then learn how to be independent and courageous critical thinking individuals unafraid to create our own meanings.

Do you think that humans have the capacity to become free from that which is “given” at birth and fortified constantly throughout life?

Quotes from “Beyond Alienation’ by Ernest Becker