I, the Sovereign Self ~ Getting Free from Your Conditioning, Part 4
Posted November 19, 2012on:
~ with Sarah McCroskey
Remember classical and operant conditioning from Psych 101 in college? Ivan Pavlov, B.F. Skinner and others truly let the cat out of the bag about the ‘the conditioned response’. Train the subject through positive and negative reinforcement to elicit certain emotional responses and behavioral actions. Then, provide the input, receive the output, it’s as simple as that. Those rats just couldn’t quit hitting that little bar to get the food pellet.
What differentiates us from the rats? Consciousness, the ability to be self-reflective – but this requires waking up, ‘observing everything within you and around you’.
It takes a strong constitution to witness just how reflexive you really are. No one escapes conditioning. We’re all programmed this way, across cultural, religious and national boundaries. That’s why compassion is in order, compassion for everyone, for this is truly a global phenomenon. Push the button and watch ‘em spin. Until we wake up, we are all prey to our (now automatic) conditioning. And it stands in direct opposition to freedom, authenticity, empowerment, and self- knowledge.
Don’t kid yourself – the power of conditioning, its ‘universal appeal’, if you will, is not lost on those bent on control – be it parent, teacher, employer, corporation, governmental agency, political interest group, religious institution or what have you. No need for paranoia or judgement (here again, compassion is in order) for we all ‘condition’ people as well. We may apply the more mundane, garden varieties of guilt, manipulation and coercion, but conditioning is the age-old, well-studied secret behind propaganda, advertising, actual brainwashing, and people-herding of all sorts.
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