Dec 14, 2008

Society and OUR Life!

We are born.. Our parents take care of us, they teach us what is right, what is wrong, we go to school, teachers reward us for studying hard, they punish us for not doing our home work. The society influences us by its voice of telling us what should and shouldn't we do. And for that we get certain rewards (it doesn't have to be in material form) or get punished.
The essence of socialization is to make people dependent on social controls, to have them respond predictably to rewards and punishments. And the most effective form of socialization is achieved when people identify so thoroughly with the social order that they no longer can imagine themselves breaking any of its rules.
Our experience as humans becomes externalized while we are being dragged from one corner of the street to another longing to become something that the "outside" world expects from us!
In a complex society, many powerful groups are involved in socializing, often pulling us to contradictory goals. On the one hand, official institutions like schools, banks, try to turn is into responsible citizens willing to work hard and save. On the other hand, we are constantly called from advertisers and manufacturers to spend our earnings on products that will produce most profit for them. Finally, the undergroung system of forbidden pleasures, run by drug dillers, gamblers, pimps (which is (in)directly linked with the official institutions) promises its own rewards - provided that we pay. The messages are very different, but their outcome is essentially the same: they make us dependent on a social system that exploits our energies for its own purposes.


There is no question that to survive it is necessary to work for external goals and to postpone immediate gratifications. But a person does not have to be turned into a puppet dragged through life by social controls. My believe is that we should gradually become free of societal rewards and learn how to substitute with rewards that are under OUR powers, by developing set of our own goals. If a person learns to enjoy and find meaning in the ongoing stream of experiences, in the process of living itsels, the burden of social controls falls from our shoulders. Before all else, achieveing control over experience requires a drastic change in attitude in WHAT IS IMPORTANT and what is NOT?
When is the last time we have reflected on WHAT WE VALUE in life? Are the things that I am doing now connected with WHAT TRULY MATTERS to me?
Understanding "what we truly want" makes our lives much simpler and focused in our pursue of happiness and fulfillment.
As I had in my first post on September "So far..", I focus my attention into putting my efforts 3 areas: Career, Family and Friends. I believe, being successful in each area will get me closer to self-fullfilment and happiness..

Which are the area's you want to spend "your hours" of life?



Jean Penny said...

Hi Tony, thanks for the ever-insightful thought sharing :) I like how you phrase this: "achieveing control over experience", and I sometimes think the same.
However, there is something troubling here: if it is only about getting the social pressure off our shoulders, and finding the personal reward somewhere else.. is it possible that "it is all happening only in our heads".
What I mean is, for example, can you go from "sad and society-pressured" to "happy and independent-minded" just by looking at things differently? Or is a change in attitude and actions required? maybe a mix of both.... how do you make the dinstinction? I dont have the answer to these questions, will let you know if I stumble upon them ;)

by the way, what do you mean by "while we are being dragged from one corner of the street to another"? I didnt get that.



ps: are you coming to Paris anytime soon?

Jean Penny said...

sorry, I wanted to write "Toni" !!
just the habit of using "y".

have a good day!

Antonio Jovanovski said...

Hey Jean,

Thanks for your words..
Interesting questions definitely.

Yes, I believe "all is hapenning in our heads". That is why "self awareness" is so important, in order to be conscious about the "external influences" we get and also being able to have conscious "yes" or "no" to that influence.

Change in attitude - yes, but it is also more about "change in our paradigm" of how we see the world.
And this is definitely followed by determined actions!
First comes, awareness, then comes the conscious action into certain direction.

Where do we make the distinction?
Well, I believe achieving a state of "interdependence" is the key. We can only achieve interdependence, if we have achieved independence first.
How I put it: you are connected to a network of people and contribute into certain direction with your "work" and you do this with your consciously chosen values and principles. And this makes you happy..

About "being dragged from one corner of the street to another" - I was just reffering to a drunk night when you wonder on the streets and in a depressive mood ask yoursef: where the hell am I doing? and going? :)

My best regards from Netherlands ;)

ps. coming to Paris most probably end of January ;) Not sure yet, it has to be confirmed

Christopher Haynes said...

Hey Toni,

You make a great point about being an individual and not letting your culture push you around.

As interested as I am in culture, I generally think it is a big pain in the ass. It tells us what to do, how to think, whom to marry, when to marry, not to have sex until married, and so on ad infinitum, and all that tends to cause big problems.

I really like the show Sex and the City. There are two characters on it, Samantha and Charlotte. If you've ever seen a woman in control of her own life, it is Samantha. She has her own morals and doesn't care what you think about them. She does what she thinks is right. Charlotte is just the opposite: little miss prim and proper because she has been told things like "sex is only to be had when you love someone" and "be nice so others will think you have good parents" and so on. When I talk to Chinese women about the show, they always say their favourite character is Charlotte. And every time I am not surprised.

People who are simply products of their own culture have a very limited perspective and no control over their lives.