OBEY!

My book”see my book” and this blog seeks to aid the search for the authentic self, but I believe 90 percent of the world wants to obey. I believe their one and only single free will choice is what or whom to obey.

Freedom is fraught with anxiety and confusion. Freedom requires an endless chain of considered choices. Freedom is a world without red lights and green lights. It is not easy.

As this anxiety builds, the person makes a selection of choices that dictate behavior and mental processes. Religious choice probably contains the largest and most detailed of dicta. Christian, Jewish, Islam, Buddhist, etc. each having within them further choices finally arrives at a host of rules and dictates that control one’s daily and life-long choices. A strong second world of rules is cultural. National cultures, ethnic cultures, regional cultures all have stated or implied rules of behavior and thought.

Add in a variety of other sources of rules or expectations proceeding from schools, professions, affiliations, government, families, and you have little wiggle room left for independence or free choice. Diet books, health books, advice books and fashion further seek to dictate behaviors and limit choice.

We all champion freedom. We all like to think of ourselves as free, particularly in America. At least, in America, we get to make the first choice. There are whole countries and cultures where even the first choice of free will is unavailable. You are simply told from birth what you will worship and obey and you are surrounded by enforcers.

Run your day through your mind and consider how many choices you make are truly free. Look about you and see how dictated is your environment. Peer pressure alone is a significant influence. Even abstract theories, ideas, influence your choices. How many of your choices or life components are a result of belief in global warming, or protecting the environment, or political correctness….all ideas that are drumbeats in your daily life.

Now consider all of the above and visualize what a narrow slice of life remains available to free choice. “Am I in your play, or are you in mine” becomes pervasive. You are in a vast variety of plays, some of which you chose, none of which is of your own authorship. Even selecting what you want to eat off of a menu is less a matter of what you would like to eat, but more a matter of what you should or shouldn’t eat.

Freedom is hard. A daily litany of choices is stressful. It’s fifty/fifty that you will make the wrong choice. Existential angst is a real burden. What to do? What to do?

I think a healthy exercise is to review one’s daily life, as well as one’s larger life picture, and list and evaluate the various components as to which is a free choice, and which is a choice derived from another source and its influences. I suspect you will be shocked to see how little is a free and personal choice. If it is a larger proportion, you deserve to give yourself props.

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5 thoughts on “OBEY!

  1. This post is particularly sensitive. It points to the necessity of awareness, being present in our lives all the time. Continual “self-review” as Confucius encourages as the only way to develop oneself and to create a healthy society. Your use of the word “obey” cuts to the essence of the chore at hand. To obey may indicate a lack of consciousness or an unconflicted ignorance. For instance, I obey stop signs and red lights. I stop. Also, I obey green lights. I go. This is as basic as it gets. Do I obey the societal expectation of what is success? Do I stop or go? There’s the beauty in your teaching! I need to do both and neither. I(we) need to create a new model. Sometimes daily. Sometimes hourly. What a nuisance, I sometimes complain, but what’s the alternative? Lastly, there’s joy and aliveness in the pursuit of being aware. Your use of the word “obey” makes the lesser path all the more distasteful. Thank you again.

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    1. Obeisance and its rightful place and time is a constant check point in our search for self. You have added to this knowledge by evoking the Confucian model. A nice example of inclusion and expansion as a productive form of discourse. 1+1= 3

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      1. As you and A.S. both point out, it’s up to us to be engaged in our lives to see if we are obeying blindly or choosing to obey for some greater good. Mr. Lydic’s book encourages us to be authentic. Am I being authentic if I stop at a stop sign, pay my property taxes, pay for a mandatory car or health insurance? I say yes. The point of the stop sign is not government meddling, but to remind drivers to be……aware. My wife and I were on the receiving end of a driver who blew through a red light going 50 mph. Perhaps we can only be “aware” and “authentic” in relation to others or to the truth inside of us. Mr. Lydic’s book and A.S. comments also lead us to that profoundest of realities; it’s not about taxes, stop signs, elections, or government control, but our relationship to those entities or issues. Perhaps being “authentic” is the practice of mastering that relationship. Thank you both.

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  2. yes, it is easier to Obey than it is to decipher, choose, and seek freedom. In a way obeying is being lazy but as Sam mentions a certain amount of obedience is required to keep society from running amuck. like if we all disobeyed the stop signs, havoc and disaster would ensue. So you are right to ask how much freedom do we REALLY have? I often think about this as well as far as working and earning ownership of our lives and surroundings. Do we really own anything? We pay so much taxes and interest on our properties …who really owns it? do we ever..its more like we are just renting our so called surroundings temporarily from the government. Sometimes it feels tricky and we are just the puppets grasping at our false sense of independence and freedom where there really isn’t a whole lot.

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    1. Very interesting segue into taxes as a necessary obeisance. Yes, and some disobeying is even criminal, taxes being one of them in spite of how little we seem to get from them these days. And in the case you describe, obeying diminishes our sense of belonging and ownership, two necessary qualities of the fulfilling life. Modern life seems to erode some of the freedoms deemed necessary for authenticity. And the long arm of government seems to get deeper into our lives everyday. If they could marshal our taxes into real and better services, we might feel better about sending them the money.

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