I feel like I am being manipulated all day. And I am not referring to yoga, because that type of manipulation would be welcome. The feeling of manipulation that I am referring to, is the one that evokes guilt. Guilt, the emotion that dominates many of today's conversations, and our actions. I have only been blogging a short while, but I have read about this topic, ad nauseam. In particular, parents fall victim to this strategy the most. It has swallowed us whole. Do not be mistaken, this is no accident, there is a reason for everything, and this is no exception. Children, if your parents love you they will give you what you want. Mothers, if you truly love your babies, then you must buy them the best. Fathers, if you love your wife and child you will give them the best. What is the best? This is where the manipulation begins.
Enter stage left: Madison Avenue
Madison Avenue is a very powerful force against our private consciousness. It directs us to buy, and participate in activities that it deems worthy of our time. Can an outside entity really now what we need, and require? In order to gain power, and make a profit, it will search and create tactics that make us do what they want. And if we don't: GUILT.
Collectively, as a society we have always been comfortable relating to those who are like ourselves. Individuality and separateness has never been encouraged. Because that is the case, Madison avenue knows, that if it can get a majority of people on board, the rest will follow. No one wants to be left out.
Enter stage right: religion
People need to be controlled or they will not know how to act with a moral code. This is the context in which religion arose. Historically, every religion evolved when the people collectively needed a new power over their conscience. And, as religion becomes dated to those it rules, the people cry out for a change. It is not any different today. The major difference today, is that religion has lost its grasp in the industrialized world. It cannot manipulate our actions as easily. Information is at all of our fingertips, not just the intellectuals. Knowledge is everywhere, simply read a paper or look online. With all of this knowledge, one would think it would be more difficult to manipulate society. But, that is not the case. Religion is losing its grasp and Madison Avenue has come in for the kill.
For example, there are five people living in my house: three children and two adults. On any one day, there has to be at least five different places, and activities to do. My husband must go to work. The kids must go to school. There is: piano, dancing, choir, play dates, homework, eating and just playing. I have to either: go to the store, exercise, cook dinner, visit a sick relative, go to a doctor appointment, and do anything else that the family needs. In addition to all of this, I have to love everyone, kiss them, support them, and make my home a place they want to be. Trying to accomplish all of this is so daunting, and at times my head spins. But, for the most part, it is a crazy, beautiful kind of fun. Until, Maidison Avenue and religion walk in my door.
I know that being an object of manipulation will never stop. So there must be a way to cope with it, without resorting to guilt. If I can accept that there will always be someone or something wanting power over me, then maybe I can rise above it. I have started to think of it like this: it is a privilege to have some one's undivided attention, even if only in a blog. With that privilege, comes the responsibility not to manipulate those who trust you. If I can do this in my own home, if I can just start there, then maybe it will spread. And at least my home will not be filled with the plague of guilt. I want my family to have joy, because that is part of my job. I want my family to love without guilt. I want so many things, but I do not want to need them because of guilt.
The constant need to make everyone happy is unnatural. In past generations, the only aspirations of parents, was to feed their family and to put a roof over their head. Because the roof is much easier to provide, there is now a struggle and demand to provide more and more. Now that the church is losing its influence, it has become the power of Madison Avenue to manipulate us into believing we cannot live without certain things. A family can not be happy without the following: new clothes, designer shoes, fancy cars, MC mansion, manicures lawn, and a private education. I don't know about you, but I am ready for a new paradigm of thought. I am restless and agitated. I want to be the one pulling the strings on my marionette. Recognizing what is manipulating me is half the battle, maybe I just have to get comfortable with the fact that so many people want my attention.
Who is pulling your strings? How do you suppress the guilt?