The first time you put your finger in a quickly rotating metal fan blade will probably also be your last. When you see the blood spurting forth from your digit like a geyser, you will have hopefully learned a lesson. And you will come away with not only a dismembered finger, but an association of the spinning metal fan blade with pain and the loss of something valuable. Like your goddamn finger!
In our everyday world, such learned associations or conditioned responses are realized in countless ways: A driver will brake at a red light in order to avoid injury or a ticket. Somebody eating shrimp and afterwards feel their throat closing up to an allergic reaction to shellfish will likely not eat it again and avoid it, entirely. A friend that steals from you will teach you not to trust that person again. And so on. These types of conditioned responses can only benefit you in the future.
These are normal, natural responses that prove useful in your life. Positive stimuli for your benefit.
And then there are the ones that aren't useful, beneficial, normal or natural. Such as: Phobias, superstitions, blindly following instead of thinking for fear of ridicule or punishment, addictions to drinking, gambling, money or anything self destructive for hollow, temporary contentedness.
People, I've always found, are an odd bunch. Even as a kid, I was an observer of society. The older I become, the more I see the flaws that get in the way of human progress. Often times, I wonder if we are devolving.
From youth to adult, we are conditioned by the commercials we see on TV or rhetoric we read from print or computer to act or feel a certain way. We're duped by ads, politicians, supervisors, friends, family and more. Conditioning techniques come in the forms of rewards and punishments. Do and act correctly, according to society as a whole and you may receive an award. If you refrain from doing what is expected or required- punishment may be inflicted in verbal or physical form.
There are only a few things that people are capable of that I can think of that are clearly acts that require punishment. Murder of an innocent human is one. Rape is another. Stealing, yet another. Telling someone a lie, in order that they do your bidding, is a good example, too. I'm sure there are more but I could be typing all night long. And that's not going to happen.
What frustrates me is the fact that people are not aware of these techniques that are used to ingrain these negative notions inside their minds. At least, that's the evidence that seems to be flaunted by most everyone. All they know is what they're told.
Religions, companies and governments are grand manipulators. Weapons they use that dig into your mind for their benefit the most? Words that instill fear so you do their bidding. Think about that, unless you haven't already.
It seems as years go by, while casually observing the public, friends, family and myself, of course, the will to think for oneself in this society has become disrupted and even corrupted. Has it always been this way with the human species? To think or act this way or else?
To be made a slave by any organized mass is the truest shame one can take on. When I see everyone in our society thinking and acting as expected or planned, it causes me to believe that we are not unwilling victims of widespread insanity but that we actually invite it, welcome it and wrap it around ourselves as if it were a warm, comfortable security blanket.