Do you want to be free? Good luck, because no one is truly free. The more powerful or wealthy you are, the more responsibilities you have. The more creative and expressive you are, the more work you have to do. The more social and loved you are, the more available you have to be.
Barack Obama is not free. His position has such a strong industry behind it and so much historical baggage that even Donald Trump won’t change it.
A bird in the sky is not free. It looks like it can move through the air at will but it is gliding in the streams and currents like a train is moving on the rails. It can decide what rail to take and how fast to go but that’s about it. It ain’t absolute freedom.
Sam Harris wrote a great book on the subject, called Free Will. There, he investigates the degree to which we make free decisions, as opposed to being preconditioned in what we choose. Is it a coincidence that most psychopathic criminals had traumatic childhood experiences of sexual abuse or violence? In the book Influence by Robert B. Cialdini, he tells the story of a compulsive gambler who was repeatedly influenced to follow her life-destroying addiction. In another study, researchers could influence the decisions made by participants simply by varying the temperature of a beverage. Could it be more subtle?
If free will, as in “I do what I like”, was a reality, marketing would not exist at all. You could let people watch that new suggestive coca cola commercial for hours and hours, but in the end, they would just buy something else. But that’s not the reality. Companies and scream for our attention. If ads, billboards and sponsoring wouldn’t work, why are we still doing it? Most people end up with the partner that was available and not the one they initially found the most interesting. We are all easy targets and unfortunately, we can’t all be the exception.
So, where do we go from here? First of all, we need to realize that all the money, the love and the adventure that we seek is supposed to give us one thing: Access.
What good will all the money in the world be if the people we like aren’t there? Why travel all over the world if we can’t open our minds to a new culture? Why settling down in a monogamous relationship when we still feel this undeniable attraction to other people?
The point is this: The information that accesses us will change us. If we want to change, we need to get access to the information we actually like. If we are passive and only do what other people do, we will only get what they will get. If we are active and swim against the stream, we can throw ourselves into an ocean of positive information that we would love to be influenced by.
Imagine you wake up and your roommate Arnold Schwarzenegger takes your tired butt to the gym. At work, your boss Mahatma Gandhi calls for everyone to join the pre-lunch meditation session. In the evening you and your best friend Tony Robbins sit down to discuss your financial future. You could be the laziest person to have ever lived, but there is just no way that your life won’t improve. So, listen to the interviews, get the books and subscribe to the YouTube channels.
You will be influenced no matter what. What would you rather like to dominate your brain: Love songs and TV shows or the most actualized people we have on this planet? You must know what you want in life. If you always remind yourself of that, you will get there eventually.
“We are stubborn on vision. We are flexible on details.”