Control? Yes, Control!

I wonder if illiterate people get the full effect of alphabet soup?'

Control

Control

The self-contained, emotionally autonomous, intellectually free individual is the greatest threat to the institutions that want to control us. Those of us who refuse to act like sheep -- who question authority and want genuine answers, not just knee-jerk clich├ęs -- are a pain in the gluteus maximus (and regions nearby) to those who want to rule by power rather than by providing leadership.

We see attempts to manipulate almost everywhere; in politics, religion, advertising, entertainment.

When we are programmed to "fall" for the hunk or the honey of a certain aesthetic type, and to believe that these images of sex and beauty mean "true love", then these images an be used to sell us anything from cigarettes to movie tickets. And they are, they are!

Further, when the only "moral" outcome of a romantic relationship is a till-death-do-us-part, state-licensed, church-blessed marriage, we see the fundamental forces of conformity at work. If we're all the same, we are much easier to serve -- also sell to, also control.

If we're all the same -- and marriage is on of the best homogenizers around -- then we only need one religion, one political party: The Family Values Party. In fact, why not combine religion and government in one?

That's been the history of the world -- church and state hand-in-hand, slavish conformity, and those troublemakers (ungodly and unpatriotic) who fail to shape up . . . well, there have always been ways of dealing with them.

But this is not a political diatribe. It's about person freedom -- the freedom to choose the life you want, even though the powers that be think you should not do so. They know best.

Except they don't. More than half the people in this country live outside the "traditional" mama-papa-children household. It hasn't worked.

Please understand that I am not against family, marriage, children, or even romance. I am merely against the idea that we should all be herded into that mode of relating when there are viable, satisfying alternatives.

There will always be people who want to get married and raise children. More power to them. The trouble arises when people who want to do something else (write, pray, save the dolphins) get married and have children because they think they should, not because they want to.

This clutters up the marriage market with unqualified players -- those who would rather be training for a decathlon just don't have the same commitment to child-rearing. So, they drop out of the marriage, emotionally or entirely, and the other partner, who still wants a marriage wonders, "what happened?"

What happened is what happens every time we are all programmed to do the same thing -- those who don't really want to be there muck it up for those who do.

If a group of people were all taken to an opera one night, a rock concert the second night, the latest Woody Allen movie the third night, and Englebert Humperdink concert the fourth, chances are that on at least one of those nights, some of the audience would be, to paraphrase S.J. Pearlman, if not disgruntled, certainly not fully gruntled.

If, on the other hand, each individual in the group had a choice to go to any, all, or none of the four, then self-selection would lead to far more gruntled audiences at all the events.

from LOVE 101 by Peter McWilliams