the "conform to social norms" anxiety (1 Viewer)

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I think one must seriously put into question the motives of a culture that would lead one to believe that the only individual's who are living "productive lives" are those who are working for wages and consuming products...


We have transferred our loyalty to mythical structures. Structures about sexual politics, about what a man is supposed to be, what a woman is supposed to be, how much money a person is supposed to have, how much art they’re supposed to produce, how many times a week they’re supposed to get laid, we have all these images that we’re supposed to live up to – very complex – all being sold down to us through a culture whose motivations are very murky and highly suspect. Culture is not your friend. All these people who want you to smell good and drive the right car and have your extra facial hair removed – these are not your friends, these people, and it pays to remember that there’s a struggle on for loyalty. That you look much better to the institutional structure if you work hard, consume quietly, choose from the political menu without a lot of fuss and that sort of thing, but in fact this kind of business as usual has led to the lethal crisis we’re in.” -terence McKenna

Culture operates through these fears and anxieties which are being expressed in this thread, they want you to feel afraid that if you don't drive the right car, or buy the right clothing, or make the right amount of money that the opposite sex will never have any interest in you and that society at large will devalue and reject you. Seriously, wage labor really isn't much of a step up from slave labor, and most are willing to accept it because culture has instilled these fears and anxieties in them. Culture also values materialism and product fetishism over all else, your value as a human is based off of the material goods you gather and the products you consume. If they can't motivate you by appealing to greed and your desire for "fancy toys", then they will motivate you through social fears and anxieties. This thread seems to be case in point for part of what I am expressing here.


Well, that’s how it seemed to me. It seemed to me, culture is a shabby lie – or at least, this culture is a shabby lie. I mean, if you work like a dog, you get 260 channels of bad television and a German automobile! What kind of perfection is that?! We have our secular society – religion is completely devalued – and consumer object fetishism is the only kind of worth that we collectively recognise. I’m sure you’ve all seen the T-shirt that says “He” – notice, he – “who dies with the most toys, wins”. That is in fact the banner under which we’re flying here. And the level of unhappiness is immense. I mean, the level of unhappiness among the poor, they’ve always been miserable; but we’ve managed to create something entirely new in human history – an utterly miserable ruling class! I mean, there seems no excuse for that! -terence mckenna

The American family is what keeps American psychotherapy alive and well. This is a cauldron for the production of neurosis.

Culture is not your friend, it's an impediment to understanding what's going on. That's why to my mind the word cult and the word culture have a direct relationship to each other. Culture is a cult and if you feel revulsion at the thought of somebody offering to the great carrot, just notice that your own culture is an extremely repressive cult that leads to all kinds of humiliation and degradation, and automatic and unquestioned and unthinking behaviour. -terence McKenna
 
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In the above post everything that is not in bold was written by lysergic-abreaction.

I ended up writing my thoughts between McKenna quotes, and didn't want others to mistake my words for part of the McKenna quote.

I wanted to leave with an excerpt from one of the previously posted McKenna quotes, my intention was not to be redundant but to express some of the more valuable statements from those particular quotations.

I’m sure you’ve all seen the T-shirt that says “He” – notice, he – “who dies with the most toys, wins”. That is in fact the banner under which we’re flying here. And the level of unhappiness is immense. I mean, the level of unhappiness among the poor, they’ve always been miserable; but we’ve managed to create something entirely new in human history – an utterly miserable ruling class! I mean, there seems no excuse for that! -terence mckenna
 
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PotBellyFatGuy

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this is an incredibly enlightening post from the beginning. what a way to look at how culture is a manufactured aspect of capitalism, beyond simple societal norms.
 

benton

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(below are my opinions and viewpoints. I tend to speak generally and as if everything I write is absolutely factual. This is food for thought nothing more nothing less)

Coming to an understanding of thoughts and emotions has helped me tremendously.

I am coming to accept that many people are unable to distinguish what they are feeling from what they are thinking.

The thing about emotions is that they are inherently irrational and not necessarily connected to reality.

Assuming that you are experiencing anxiety: how can you be sure of the reason for the anxiety? I have observed that when I experience anxiety (infrequently, thankfully), my mind will cycle through various thoughts and it is easy to believe that the thoughts are causing the anxiety.

I no longer believe this to be the case. An examination of the thoughts generally results in a realization that there's little to no actual reason for me to be worried about those specific circumstances.

Additionally, it is easy for us to believe that if our present circumstances were eliminated or changed, that we would no longer experience whatever emotions we are experiencing. This is nonsense in my view. The fact is that in this life we will always be experiencing emotions and we will always be subject to a specific set of circumstances, and it is my assertion that these circumstances are largely arbitrary with respect to our emotions. This is of course debatable.

Ultimately, what other people think or don't think about how I choose to live my life is not going to amount to a hill of beans, and most people are so self-centered and inattentive to the world around them that the idea that other people are even concerned with how I'm living is mostly a fantasy in my view. Other people generally only care about how I'm living with respect to how it reflects on them and their own self-image.

Something else I have realized is that most people don't actually give a flying fuck with respect to accepting me or liking me. However, most people are playing a game with unwritten rules and the game dictates that anyone who plays by the rules will be treated as if they are accepted and liked when in reality this can be wholly disconnected from whether or not an individual person actually accepts and likes me at a level of emotional connection. And individuals who are willing to accept me for who I am and how I come across are open to accepting me regardless of if I play by the rules of the game. And at the end of the day I would prefer not to be around people who need me to behave in specific ways in order to be accepted, because the fact is that some of us are unable to conform even if we try really hard to.
 

Roxy

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Growing up, the way you speak of is a cultural idea and not an actual reality. No matter what you do with your life you will age onless you die of course. If at this point in your life you feel like happiness would come from house jobs kids, well maybe that for you is the next journey, if that is what you want.
 

zielum

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I've done the whole "normal" thing. I've owned a home, had too many cars to count, had a husband and children, a contractual well-paying job, have a degree, with the mountain of debt that comes with it. You know what the scary thing about all that is? You don't know the meaning of trapped til you're right in the middle of all that mess and want out. There's no "trying it out" such as with a vagabond stint. Once you go down that path, once you start taking on those commitments, it is *extremely* hard to back out of them. Kids are a 20-year commitment (of time, money, emotional pain, stability, and patience). Marriage is either forever, or a messy heartbreaking divorce. Houses can sink you in a hole. Debt holds you hostage and forces you into a steady paycheck.

That's the kicker with our society. *That* is what terrifies me and keeps me up at night and anxious throughout the day. Feeling like a failure sucks ass, but feeling trapped when you have a heart yearning for freedom...is giving yourself a life sentence with a ball and chain.

Although, take this all with a grain of salt lol. I've done the "normal" stuff, but haven't hit the road yet (because of said commitments). So I only know half the story. But I just can't imagine a free spirit ever being truly satisfied with being tied down the rest of their life.
 

Naked Lilies

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I don't handle my anxiety. It handles me. The best I can hope for is to ride the cresting wave until it peters out. Or hopefully channel the energy into something better. I don't think I'll ever not feel like a failure regardless of what anyone tells me.

But I still don't know what normal is, unless you label it as the thing most other people do. In which case, I guess a job is normal since most people will have to deal with one. But the majority of most people's lives are closed off to one another. You can't truly know someone. It's hard enough to know yourself. So maybe they look "normal", and are anything but underneath.

It's pressure to pick the path of least resistance anyway. We all have a finite amount of willpower and determination, and for most it's not enough to break away from the mainstream.

Also, I don't see anything wrong with being a traveler and living up to responsibilities. You can be an adult on the move. You just sometimes have to recognize the difference between desire and duty.
 

zielum

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Also, I don't see anything wrong with being a traveler and living up to responsibilities. You can be an adult on the move. You just sometimes have to recognize the difference between desire and duty.
Agreed. While having responsibilities is much more difficult than having no responsibilities, I believe it is still entirely possible--where there's a will, there's a way.
 

zielum

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Don't get me wrong, I love my lifestyle, but I feel pressured into living a normal life, working, having a husband/kids/a house
Just for the record there's a huge valley between settling down for a little while and having kids and swamping yourself in debt.
Indeed--maybe there's a middle ground somewhere that could satisfy both desires for you, OP?
 

fetidnotfaded

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sometimes i want to keep a solid job and be in one spot, but mostly because i want to listen to records, tapes, and have a place to kick it after im done skateboarding. i wanted to travel to see big cities away from my reservation but i quickly understood that isnt the place for me so i stay on my peoples land and help whatever communities im in for whatever time i am there. i cant say that i understand what youre going through, but if it helps remember that anytime you know you dont care what people think of you there is also a good chance they dont care what you think of them either. do what and all you want, the time is yours!
 

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