We all love to think that we have full autonomy over our own lives. Yes, yes, we might have to follow the laws of the land and pay taxes, but apart from that we’re our own people, right?
Culture sets the framework of our lives. It tells us what the rules are. But it does it so fucking insidiously that we don’t even realise that it’s the one making the decisions. It’s like when a parent asks a child what vegetables they want for dinner. The kid thinks they are in charge of their dinner plate when all they’ve been given is a manufactured choice between vegetable A or B.
It doesn’t even occur to the child that they could have both vegetbales, or neither of them, or that they could ask what else is in the fridge, or say they aren’t even hungry. Instead, like us grown ups, they’re conditioned to believe that the options presented to them are the ONLY options available.
Our choices are manufactured by culture all the time. It asks us whether we want to work in shit 9-5 job A or crap 9-5 job B. It makes us choose between porridge or cereal for breakfast, and salad or a sandwich for lunch. And it’s especially prevalent when it advertises to us calorie-controlled diet number 1, or would we prefer number 2? Number 2 comes with a free sprinkling of mind-numbing exercise by the way.
It’s time to remember that like the kid at the table, we have a world of choices. But we must leave the safety of familiar culturally defined options in order to see them. And that’s really fucking hard! It takes courage and faith, and being OK with the possibility of being laughed at by those who can only understand the choices as laid out by culture.
Remember, you don’t just have two vegetables to choose from, you have the whole fucking garden, and the choice to burn it down instead.