I consider my trip to Cuba in December 2008 to be the beginning of my transformation as an individual. Since then, I have seen myself grow to heights not seen by many yet what I’m proud of the most is how much I have grown on a spiritual level. There are many people who like me, escaped the rat race and tore themselves away from the shackles of corporate slavery but that’s where their personal growth stopped. Don’t get me wrong – escaping a cage is an important first step as cage keeps physical body so preoccupied, it’s hard to put enough focus on spiritual growth. But what good is walking a free man going to do to you if your mind is still enslaved?
There are hardly any people alive today who would understand how much real power and enlightenment one collects on the way to real spiritual growth. On my travels, the type of people I seek the most are elders of native tribes for there is a great deal of wisdom behind every day of their lives and that type of knowledge cannot be gotten from books. Sadly, people of real wisdom are exceedingly difficult to find these days as money crept into their lives and with it came corruption of minds.
On my travels, I’m the only one who seeks out wisdom. I see so many people around, who like me escaped the rat race, but they travel to be able to make their Facebook friends jealous. That’s all they care about, that’s all they ever have on their minds. One day, when they’re of age and a new generation of rat race escapists takes their turn traveling around the world, none will seek them out to share their wisdom for there is no wisdom to be found in minds that are enslaved and don’t even know it.
It goes without saying that I was just as excited as the next guy when I quit work to travel. I honestly thought this was it, I thought achieving this was my ultimate success in life. And in all fairness, a huge success it had been. Luckily, though, all it took were a few months of my brand new life before I realized that my new found freedom was just the beginning.
Real freedom is not partial. Being free from rat race, but enslaved to gadgets, the internet and money is like pulling one’s head up from underground and thinking the grass you are seeing for the first time in your life is whole world at your feet. It sure is exciting being able to see all this grass and touch it with your bare hands, but if you let pride of making it to the surface blind you, you’ll fail to see all that lays further afield. For you to see that, you’d have to keep sticking your head further and further up.
Compared to the multitude of difficult and challenging steps one needs to take in order to free their mind, an escape from corporate slavery which frees one’s body is as easy as farting in water. Yet albeit hard core, overcoming these challenges is very enlightening and empowering. It is a long and windy road with many roadblocks along the way, but you’ll experience spiritual growth with each single step forward. And what does experiencing spiritual growth feels like, you ask? Well, it feels like having a super orgasm you’re not faking.
Isn’t it astounding that money can buy you health, attention, power and many other material and immaterial things? Virtually anything your heart desires, regardless of who you are as a person, can be had if you have money? You could be the most unworthy person in the world, but if you have money, there are few limits as to what you can or cannot have. Similarly, there are some incredibly smart people out there but their ideas never come to be because they simply never had money to realize them.
Money is Divine
Have you ever noticed how many similarities there are between money and God?
Like God, money is everywhere
Like God, money is in everything
All things come from money, as they come from God
All things return to money, as they return to God
and As with God, if money abandons a person, they are faced with a demise
Whether you believe in God or not is irrelevant. Just replace word “God” with your favourite divinity and the message will be the same. And as for the last point – it is not only persons that can face fast demise when they’re out of money. Companies, cities, even whole countries can collapse just the same if they have no money.
A company – for instance – could be perfectly capable of delivering a worthy product or service, they could have the equipment needed to run their operations and people capable of doing the job, but if there is no money, the company will quickly go under. Even if many of the material and immaterial conditions are met (such as skill and knowledge to perform the job are acquired, necessary equipment and man power are available), for as long as the company has no money, they are headed for a fast bankruptcy. And on the other hand – even if a company has absolutely no skills, knowledge or experience to perform the job, nor does it have the equipment nor manpower – it can still do just fine for as long as it has the money.
I’m sure that each one of you reading this knows a person who is running a successful and profitable business because they had such financial backup, they could get anything they desired going. And I’m sure you also know a person who is really good at something and could do very well, but can’t get off the ground because they’re stuck struggling to meet their basic survival needs. How are you supposed to establish yourself if you haven’t had anything to eat for days and can’t find a place to get a good night’s rest in?
It’s that one thing called money – which is often immaterial (nothing but pieces of data on the computers or credit card chips) – that can make you or break you. It doesn’t matter where you stand with everything else – if you have money, you can finance your company’s path to success, but if you have none, even if you have some individual, unique qualities, you may never even get a chance to start.
Another unique property of money is that a man never seems to have enough of it and his/her desire to have more never ceases or diminishes regardless of how much or how little he/she has already amassed. There is hardly any other thing in our lives that would have quite comparable effect on people. It’s possible to get fed up with anything, but money. Even quality sex or Belgian chocolate – if you have too much of it, you’re gonna desire a break, but it never seems to be the case with money. Even a billionaire, a person who can buy anything in this world, would still desire to have more. Just what more could more money get him or her? There could be nothing, yet the desire to continue amassing more money not only never stops, it seems to grow.
No Community Spirit
It is the curse of pleasing others – the insatiable desire to satisfy external impulses, such as social acceptance or status even if it defects our internal needs, which systematically robs the modern generation of women and men off true community spirit. We satisfy our greed by responding to what external sources demand of us. But if you look deep down into the root cause of this phenomenon and compare it with societies where community spirit still reigns strong, you’ll come to realize that it’s money that’s behind this all. Somebody does something for you, you pay them and the transaction is closed. No emotional bonds are created in this type of exchange, only business bonds and business is a dog eat dog world fuelled by greed and ruled by money.
Whereas in a world without money, a world where community spirit still exists – such as in uncontacted rainforest tribes – if you get injured and must stay at home to recover for a few days, hunters will go hunting and gatherers gathering wild edibles and water to have enough food for whole community to eat, including you. Needless to say, when you get better and are able to go hunting yourself, you will dedicate your last breath to ensuring that you return to the settlement with enough food to feed everyone.
That’s the way it goes in real communities, in communities not fuelled by greed and run by money. Hunters don’t just hunt for food to feed themselves and their immediate family. They hunt for everyone. Similarly, gatherers don’t just gather for themselves and their families, bakers don’t just bake for themselves and their families and weavers don’t just weave baskets to trade with other tribes so their own family gets something in return. They do it for the entire community and at the end of the day, the entire community comes together to celebrate another day of life.
This does not exist in the world ruled by greed and run by money. In this world, people lost connection with their deep selves and the community by trading it for selfishness. They all want their house to be bigger than their neighbours’, their car to be shinier than their coworkers’, their body leaner than their friends’ and their connections more influential than anyone else’s. They are obsessed with celebrities because celebrities embody what they desire. They have those big houses, fast cars, pearl whites and prime time mentions on TV. And if you do see anyone “involved in the community”, it is only and solely because they counted on you watching and believed it is a necessary step to take them to their ultimate destination of having a bigger house, faster car, sexier body and broader fame. Blood donors take every opportunity to let others know how many times they’ve given blood, pro bono lawyers love posing with community spirits awards for the newspapers, companies and celebrities donate to affected areas under condition that it is made publically known and the list goes on and on and on.
This in a sense is a natural evolution as introduction of money into any community, even a community with strong community spirit, will eventually destroy that community spirit, simply because if you have money, you don’t need community. If no one from the community wants to help you, you can simply pay somebody else who will. In moneyless communities, there is no room for selfishness. In communities dominated by money, it’s all about selfishness.
Difference Between Having and Giving
The most significant difference between people who live in the world ruled by greed and run by money and people who live in the world ruled by the community spirit is that in the former – the more you have, the more respected you are, whereas in the latter, the more you give, the more respected you are.
In the world ruled by greed and run by money, if you are a wealthy businessman, you likely have powerful connections, have politicians for friends, police chiefs for friends, judges for friends, doctors for friends – you are plain and simple respected as a well accomplished person, even if you’re selfish and evil-at-heart. Whereas if you are poor, you get labelled a nuisance, a bottom feeder, a scum, a filth, a nobody – even if you are a good person who would not hesitate to help another.
In a world ruled by the community spirit, on the other hand, you are the most respected if you are a hunter capable of catching more animals than anyone else – so you can give the community more food, or if you have the ability to heal others – so you can help keep the community healthy, or if you have the skill to paint – so you can immortalize the daily life of the tribe on the walls of the caves – in a world like that, people don’t strive to have more, but to give more because the more you give, the more respect you get and it will be naturally returned to you in the same abundance when you no longer have the ability to keep giving. This is the way it used to be among humans for millennia. Even if you rewound as little back as 150 years, you’d still find this type of community spirit going strong and people gaining respect by how much they gave, not how much they amassed.
There is a pretty good kicker to it – people who dedicate their lives to accumulating financial wealth are gonna lose it all one way or another. Both experts and non experts alike predict a collapse of the financial system as we know it, but even if none of the financial doomsday prophecies were to take place, each of us will eventually perish. We the people are finite. Your money may outlive you, but once you have passed on, all of your investments, all of your bank accounts – every last penny will be worthless to you. You can’t take any of the material things you’ve accumulated with you once you leave the world of the living and your respect aka social status that your wealth has given you will perish with you. The one thing that stays is the memory of those who gave so much while they were alive so it became worthy of remembering.
Money Is Evil
So what is money? The notion that the love of money is the root of all evil has been with us for a very long time. People kill for money, abandon their morals for money and sacrifice their loved ones for money. Governments wage wars on other governments in order to gain control of their land, natural resources and trading routes because that will bring them more money.
From the above it would seem pretty obvious that money is evil as there is no other force in the world which would make people do such vile things to one another. Yet money is a tool which helps us do more, have more and be more. But as is the case with other tools, they have the power to be our tools or to turn us into tools. Money is ultimately not the root of all evil, it is the love of money that’s behind the actions of evildoers.
People Are Weak
Money is not the first tool with capability to turn people into tools. Internet, one of the finest inventions and the most powerful tools to date is also one of the most powerful tools that turns people into tools. So I guess the problem truly is in the fact that we as people are week and allow the tools which have the power to make our lives easier, richer and more fulfilling, to turn us into their tools and obsess over them to a point of insanity. I mean – look at Facebook users to see what tools can a useful tool turn people in.
Let me say it again: people are weak. I’m one of the people, therefore I’m weak. Money can corrupt me just as easily as it can corrupt anyone else. I don’t want to be corrupted. Therefore I choose life without money. I choose life without tools that turn me into tools. Leaving the corporate lifestyle cage behind was easy. Setting myself free from cute little gadgets was much more difficult. Yet both of these combined were nothing compared to the clutches of the internet, especially since internet was my bread and butter. However I knew I would never be really free if I were a slave to any of it. Slavery, regardless of whether it’s self imposed and realized or not, is still just that – a slavery.
It takes extraordinary aptitude to awaken into such self-realization. It takes even more to successfully carry it out. The trick is – an accomplishment of such magnitude puts one face to face with his final challenge; a challenge that tramples them all seven fold – freedom from money. Can a 21st century man, a man like everyone else born in this day and age, a man who lived every day of his life understanding that money is an inseparable part of everyone’s life – can he raise above and unslave himself from the almighty force of money? I’m about to find out.
Shortly after I started this blog, as soon as I commenced my round the world trip, I realized that every info you can find about travel through third world countries on the internet as well as in popular travel publications is wrong. As if written by dim-witted imbeciles, every single travel guide in existence had dangerously misleading information, picturing travel as a positive and uplifting experience that involves encounters with friendly and hospitable locals and introduces cultures which despite poverty and threats of oppression always embrace peace and generously give even if they don’t have enough for themselves. What a crock of shit.
Because no realistic travel guides existed, the only thing people traveling abroad had to work with were these piles of whale poop. As a result, charts of people murdered, robbed, raped, scammed and otherwise abused abroad continued to grow exponentially. Yet instead of smacking themselves over their heads with a rock, these sickly deranged blockheads continued to spread their falsity while circle jerking one another all the while people out there were being mistreated having wandered ill-informed into the realm of inherent crime.
Enter Traveling Mark
Seeing all the misleading information the world of travel was oversaturated with, I stepped in and started sharing the full picture. If there was anything positive to share about the place I visited, I shared it, but if there was something negative, I shared it just as well. I told it like it was, delivering the full story without ever skimping on truth. I also never softened things up – if someone was a rip off artist, I called them a rip off artist, not a misunderstood individual who’s had challenging life and is struggling to find his place in the world.
You’d think the world would come together to thank the first ever writer of full truth about the world of travel, but the world remained silent. It remained silent because of fear of those who made themselves heard loud and clear right away – the very dim-witted imbeciles who wrote all those misleading half-truths on travel blogs and in tourist guides prior to induction of Traveling Mark.
Like a mob of gangsters standing by to “take care” of anyone and everyone who messes with their “business”, these loud-mouthed, dim-witted deluders showed me instantly why there is a complete lack of truthful travel guides and why no one dares to speak in favor of one. The slew of hate speech and threats was alarming but I stayed true to my cause and remained adamant to provide truthful information even if it meant going alone against the entire world.
What happened next was astounding. One by one, the bloggers who attempted the same truth telling but were trampled shut by half-truthers’ army of sheep started to re-emerged and contacted me with letters of admiration that I survived the lynching by the dim-witted imbeciles and not only that – showed them all a finger and came out on top. The momentum I created resulted in an unstoppable boom of full truth sharing travel blogs which ultimately shut the dim-witters down. They’re still used to yapping their loud mouth at anyone who doesn’t abide by their rules and have their own sheep circle-jerk one another as they gang up on non-compliers, but their undisturbed and unchallenged reign is over and done with.
The Half Truther Army
My path to victory wasn’t an easy one, though. I didn’t give in to the sheep for one second, yet it puzzled me beyond words how well manned the half-truther army was. Among them you could also find individuals who seemed otherwise reasonably capable so why would they trade their wits for half truths? Why would they not share the whole truth having had the capability to see it? And why would they not only fail to share the whole truth, but fight to their last breath on behalf of dim-witted half truthers as if theirs was the law? This were the questions I kept asking myself for the longest time until bit by bit, the complete picture started to come together.
Fear of Reality
How much many travelers suffer from the Fear of Reality became clear early on. It is definitely one of the chief factors influencing the weak minded individuals even if their intelligence level is otherwise pretty solid. It takes an exceptionally strong person to handle the truth so walking around with rose-tinted sunglasses permanently mounted on a face is a simple alternative that allows one to retain their false sense of security their weak minds can’t otherwise live without.
As with virtually everything that dumbs people down, those who suffer from Fear of Reality can’t see its effect on them and think they are entirely immune to it. The denial and inbred belief that they are completely above it makes them more susceptible to attacks on anyone who dares to point it out. From there, there’s just a small step to attacking anyone whose view of the world is unmarred by presentation of false colors, such as that of people with rose-tinted sunglasses.
Another significant factor that dooms otherwise seemingly capable individuals into a life of a half truthing sheep is a severe lack of ability to actually see the full truth. Those who base their living on taking advantage of others mastered the art of presenting obstacles before the eyes of their chosen victims in order to make their scam appear legit.
That’s why even an otherwise intelligent and educated person can become an easy victim of a scammer and come home believing that that missing money was his own fault though he doesn’t remember where exactly he misplaced it and will continue perceiving the perpetrator as his friend and someone who actually helped him. The victim would also go as far as to attack anyone who attempts to fill him in by clarifying that he was scammed.
Again, as with everything else that dumbs people down, this inability to read between the lines to see things for what they really are is something nobody who suffers from it would admit to willingly. This one more than anything, actually. People who suffer from this shortcoming, regardless of how otherwise intelligent and educated they may be, are so dumbed down they will take scammers’ lie for their own and will defend it at any cost. Typical thinking would go something like this: “The person smiled, hence he cannot be a scammer and anyone who dares to say something negative about him will have me on their ass.”
The Facebook sheep who travel and blog about travel don’t travel for the sake of travelling, but to broadcast their travel to all their friends. All they ever have on their mind is Facebook and the first thing they do when they get back from a trip outside is to get on their Facebook to post updates.
They don’t really interact with locals – they talk to them to get something that would make a good blog. They don’t really go to see a sunset – they take a picture of it for a better update than their friends made. They don’t really sample food – they merely mark the dish’s name so they can post about it.
Facebook sheep plain and simple travel to broadcast their travel on Facebook. They always think of that next Facebook update and of what picture to take to go with it. With their mind always on Facebook, they’re never really fully present in the moment so there really is no surprise that they don’t see the full truth. They only see that which makes the most interesting update for Facebook.
Being humans, we are not very good multi-taskers. Each of us likes to think that we can multitask, but every scientific and social experiment into it proved otherwise. Can you really blame a Facebook sheep for falling short of their travel experience with many things going unnoticed when their mind is focused on shooting a video that will make it on their next post? You truly can’t because it’s a natural human shortcoming but why do these Facebook sheep then insist on arguing with sane individuals who had the same experience but their mind was not on Facebook hence they got full picture of the reality?
Living For the Herd
One of the most influential downfalls of many, not just the travel half truthers is the curse of pleasing others. The sheep live for the herd. In travelers’ case – they don’t travel for the sake of traveling but for the sake of positive press. They want to be coveted by their Facebook friends so they limit their experience to interactions and reports that deliver the thumbs-ups.
It is understandable that because the herd of sheep composed of dim-witted imbeciles and their brown-nosing followers without brain is huge and easily capable of trumping anyone who separates themselves from the herd by being able to think for themselves, most people will volunteer to becoming a sheep because that gives them an approval of the herd.
Whereas the capability to think outside the box and rise high above the ground to see the forest for the trees (see the How High Can You Fly section above) is seen as outcast-ish by the herd, those who demonstrate the ability to think independently are frowned upon and ultimately singled out and victimized. Because nobody wants to feel singled out and victimized, people will sacrifice their individuality to become the respected sheep of the herd. Whether what they think and how they act is right or wrong becomes irrelevant and renounced in favor of whether what they think and how they act is favored by the herd.
The dedication to please the herd before anything else is one of the most dominant characteristic of vast majority of individuals alive today. As such, this characteristic, moreso than any other, would never be admitted to by anyone who suffers from it and is entirely addicted to it.
So eventually, bit after bit, the entire picture of why people, including those who seem to be otherwise mentally capable of thinking for themselves are so determined to pass on the half truths about the world of travel came together. They are the Facebook addicted sheep who fear reality and lack the capacity to see forest for the trees. But most of all, they live for the herd.
There are basically two types of people in the world today:
Sheep feel safe and secure being part of the herd. They abandoned their individuality and modified their thoughts and actions to match those approved by the herd. Like children following the Pied Piper into their doom, the sheep will jump into a well if other sheep of the herd do it too. And if someone were to come along to tell them that they’d be stupid to jump into the well for they would needlessly drown, they’d respond by attacking said individual and backed by the rest of their herd, they’d trample the individual for his nerve to think for himself and speaking in opposition to the herd.
The sheep are many, whereas the individuals are usually alone. That’s why many otherwise capable thinkers succumb to pressure and become one with the herd and start acting sheepish. If one sheep takes a step to the left, all other sheep take a step to the left. If one sheep bleeps, all other sheep bleep. To say something that’s not sheepish when sheep are around would get the whole herd bleeping and that’s pretty much guaranteed to shut any innovator up.
If you do as the sheep do, you’ll gain their respect so next time, if it’s you who bleeps first, all other sheep will bleep in unison with you. If you don’t do as the sheep do and dare to think for yourself, the sheep will bleep in unison against you, calling you a freak and forcing you into becoming a loner.
As for me – I’d rather be alone than become a sheep. I can look in the mirror and not see a puppet. And that is more important to me than all the bleep fanfare in the world.
Our life is an endless sequence of undying efforts we put forth in a struggle to please others. In other words – much of what we do, we do to please others. We modify our behavior to subconsciously please our friends and relatives, we also do it to please those we don’t know (nor do they know us) but come across in our day to day lives, and we also perpetually strive to please those we haven’t even (nor ever will) come into contact with:
we struggle to pay our bills on time to please credit rating agencies
we struggle to eat healthy so we can improve our physique because then we will be perceived as more attractive by others
we struggle to earn good money so we can live in a house, drive in a car, wear latest fashion that will make the heads of others turn
we struggle to write interesting blog posts, twitter updates, facebook profiles because we want others to subscribe, comment, follow, brown-nose, circle-jerk, or otherwise become parts of our network of admirers
Here’s the kicker – most people are so obsessed with pleasing others, they find little time to please themselves (and I’m not referring to sexual self-gratification). Dedication to pleasing others seems to have become the life’s mission of the many of us. It’s become an obsession, a purpose, a meaning of life. We are judged by and gain social status based on how many people we impress throughout our journeys through life. The “what would people say?” is the very question that, whether consciously or subconsciously, pops into our minds and becomes the determining factor of the course of our actions.
I could also put it this way: we live our lives by responding to external demands in an anticipation of external rewards, such as acceptance, status or security, all the while sacrificing our internal needs. Instead of striving to be the best we can be, we act in response to seemingly urgent demands from external sources. The time, that precious commodity we have only a limited supply of is thus taken away from us to belong to somebody else by our own doing.
I set myself free from the clutches of corporate slavery and started to roam the Earth a free man. But the journey didn’t end there. As I found out soon after, there was more to self realization than freedom from corporate lifestyle. A major next step in my personal growth came to be with a realization that I was a slave to gadgets. What is freedom from one set of shackles good for if you slip into a different set right after? The outcome is the same – you are a slave – only this time your shackles have cute paintings on them. The knowledge I have gained from this experience was – if it dictates your life – you’re enslaved to it, even if it’s something you enjoy and would voluntarily go for.
It was the same type of feeling I felt when I started hating photography even though I loved it my whole life. When surviving as a professional photographer became tough and I had to take gigs I did not enjoy, it was taking the fun away from the whole thing and I hated every minute of it. But as soon as I left pro photography and started taking pictures as a hobby, capturing only what I had genuine passion for, the love and joy for photography came instantly back.
3 – It Gets Worse
Then came the challenge from hell. I was able to set myself free from corporate slavery and gadget entrapment, but having gotten this far – further than most people do – I couldn’t just stop there. I had to poke where it really hurt. There was still one set of shackles and this set holds grip so tight and snug, its existence is not admitted to, not even by the most self realized individuals. It’s the internet.
We the generation of today are so addicted to the internet, it’s not an addiction anymore. It’s part of our daily lives. Everything is on the web, is controlled by the web and is determined by the web. It only gets worse if you’re a person like me who makes his living on the internet. When you’re at that point, then internet gets to decide your every next step. Running an online based business requires one to be constantly on line. Monitoring traffic, responding to online requests, moderating comments, looking for security holes, patching security holes, analyzing server logs, tweaking server settings to improve performance, optimizing database structures, upgrading to stay on top and writing fresh content are just a few of the daily tasks a webmaster has to go through on the daily basis. And that only scratches the surface. It’s the tip of the iceberg the highly competitive world of webmastering represents.
Because of that, despite my apparent freedom from corporate slavery and gadget entrapment, I could not consider freeing myself from the internet as my whole life depended on it. Worse yet, the idea that the internet could be a set of shackles I have not identified yet was not even admitted in my mind. Afterall, how could internet, a tool that makes our lives what they are, be ever considered a tool of enslavement?
Yet that is exactly what it is. For example – while on my tour through Asia, I could not consider a trip to Myanmar because of scarce availability of the internet and heavy censorship throughout the country. If I found myself unable to access any of my sites, I would be unable to monitor them. As a result, if there was a malicious activity on any of the sites, I would be unable to respond before it wreaked complete havoc on the server. And the stress of living with the possibility that there could be something undesired going on with my sites while I’m unable to check and see whether my concerns are founded or not would drive me insane. Hence, a trip to Myanmar was a no option.
Willing to admit to it or not, considering how far I got with my journey of self awareness, it was only a question of time before the shackles the internet represented were identified and ultimately admitted to as such. I’m still not free from this set, but success to every mission begins with giving the problem a name, calling it for what it really is, admitting that it is in fact a problem regardless of how difficult this admission is to make, and if you’re able to do just that, you’re off to a good start. The rest is about putting thoughts into actions but action is what would never come to be unless you square up with it on the mental level first.
The Curse of Pleasing Others
It took me two years to thoroughly identify and admit to each of these sets of shackles. Two I was able to successfully shake off, third I’m still dealing with and as the struggle rages on, I came to understand what really was behind all this. It’s the struggle to please others. It’s the very thing I mentioned right at the beginning of this article. This constant struggle to please others so we can feel relevant is what makes us so selfish. It’s what destroyed true community spirits and replaced them with faux community life we know today.
One would have to visit remote tribes that live far away from civilization to see what community spirits mean. Elsewhere it has long been dead. When you see the hunters leaving the village for a day to hunt, gatherers leaving for a different part of the forest to gather wild edibles, those who are sick or injured staying in the village along with those who look after the fire, bake bread or weave baskets that would be traded off with other tribes. At the end of the day, each bit of food the village as a whole produced is put together so everybody can eat. Hunters don’t just hunt for themselves and their families. They hunt for the village. Bakers don’t just bake for themselves and their families, they bake for the village. Everything is shared – work and food. And when whole village is fed, they gather round to celebrate another day of good life together – as a community.
In cases like these, where real community spirits still exist, people don’t do things to please others. Hunters don’t go hunting to show off that the buck they took down was bigger than one their neighbor got. They don’t put fragrant aftershave on to appeal to women late at night. They don’t need to build their house taller than their neighbors’ – because they are a community. They don’t do things to please others, they do it to survive. Their way of life may seem savage to us, but when you get past this narrowminded point of view (most people never get there in their whole lives), you’ll see that they make far more sense than us.
Granted, one could bring up an argument that without the struggle to please others, we would not have progressed as a civilization. And it is true. People train to be good at sports to show off, and they invent things for the same very purpose. If it wasn’t for this insatiable greed and selfishness, people would retain the community spirit and with it, would lose the desire to get more admiration than their neighbor. Nothing pisses an individual off more than success of their neighbor. The hatred this feeling evokes drives a desire to steal that spotlight off for themselves. Some do it by getting more creative, some by backstabbing, but they all have the same common denominators – zero community spirit with surplus of greed.
It is also important to distinguish between a real community spirit and fake community involvement as we see in modern societies today. People get rewards for their “community involvement” – you could even find lawyers who offer legal advice “pro bono” yet the real reason why these people got involved in the community in the first place was… out of selfish greed. It’s because they knew people were watching and they knew it would be noticed, hence they did it. It was once again a case of doing things to please others. In other words, it’s an engagement in activities one would not do if there was absolutely nobody to see them.
Are You Living to Please Others?
Imagine a scenario from a cataclysmic movie comes true and whole civilization is wiped out with you being the sole survivor. Imagine you look out of the window and there is absolutely nobody out there. You walk outside and keep walking for days on end and there is no one but you. Would you bother putting a make up on and dying your hair before heading out? How about this scenario:
Being a girl and the only survivor of a major cataclysmic event you stumble across a chest. You are happy to have found it cause you could use some clothes and shoes before cold of the night takes over and blisters on your feet get too painful. In one of the compartments you find really sexy high heels, shiny latex miniskirt and ripped up tank top held together with safety pins. In another you find manly looking coveralls, rubber boots and checkered flannel work shirt. Which set would you take to keep fed and hydrated? Which set would you take if no catastrophic event took place and there would be people out there the same way they are now?
One more time with the catastrophic event scenario – if you found a notepad and a pen and decided to keep a journal, would your journal entries be the same as your facebook updates today? Go back to your facebook, twitter, blog or whatever else you use and read the last 5 entries you’ve made. Read them now after you have just read my article about the curse of pleasing other and see if you can reflect on yourself and find yourself in it. Have you written them in a way so as to earn extra brownie points from your peers you anticipated to read it? It takes a strong person to see forest for the trees. Are you her or him?
Do not confuse genuine compassion of one human being towards another with selfish desire to drive up one’s ego by pleasing others. They are not the same thing. They are only parts of the same spectrum, but are at exact opposites of it.
We, the men and women of the 21st century grow up completely disconnected from our inner selves. We have lost the ability to speak to our souls and understand what dwells within us. Instead of looking for our place on the planet Earth, we look for attention. Instead of discovering our purpose in life, we live to show off. We dedicate more time and effort establishing our social status than we do anything else. What we choose to wear, what we choose to say, what we choose to write about, where we choose to go or what we choose to do – we do it, admittedly or not, with foremost interest in boosting our own image in the eyes of others.
It is all about the struggle to please the society, because we have come to believe that the society will reward us by recognizing our “contribution” to it. We want admirers, we want fans, we want our name to be in a newspaper or on a TV screen. We want people to talk about us and most of all – we want them to envy us. We are not interested in things that may advance us independently, on a personal level, unless we get a chance to show it off and gain media coverage while we’re at it.
You don’t see people retracting to the wilderness to live as hermits in order to gain closeness with nature and a better understanding of their place in the awareness. You only sometimes hear about them because if they do something like that, they do it as an attempt to gain fame. To them, albeit claimed as a primary reason of their move, the potential of inner personal development by taking the step is secondary to the social status a “sacrifice” of this type would reward them with.
Finding someone who wouldn’t desire the public to gasp for the air when they hear their story is nigh impossible in this day and age. Those who take steps that appear to have been taken with intentions to grow as individuals take them with loud announcements to the world via internet or other media. I truly find it hard to accept that a person who keeps posting Twitter updates once every hour about his journey to self discovery is merely interested in finding his place in life.
To rephrase – all we seem to care about is our social status. We do things to please others and want everything we do to be seen. Screw inner growth if we can’t brag about what it took us to get where we are and how we struggled to pull it off. We desire nothing more than to be envied. We want it so much we determine the steps we take based on the likelihood and the amount of envy we get in return. We want a job others will envy, we want to drive a car others will envy, we want to have a body others will envy, we want to have done something others would wish to have done before us. It’s falsehood in disguise. We think we are advancing in lives, but all we’re doing is pleasing others. By doing so, we’re letting others to dictate our lives as the directions we choose, we choose based on what social status they would reward us with. We have lost touch with our inner selves and become, in simple terms, strangers to our own souls.
I had it all clear in my mind. I knew this was it for me and my lifestyle of a corporate slave. Everything came nicely together, I had not a slightest doubt that spending whole life in servitude so I can enjoy myself when I’m 65 was an awful lifestyle choice. The challenge I was facing now was to choose the best place to start my worldwide travels. It was a challenge, but it was one I was happy to face because it provided me with the most amazing feeling, the feeling of freedom and independence.
For the first time in almost ten years I felt like it was me who’s in charge of my own life. Nobody had absolutely no say about my next step. It was going to be my unconditional choice. How awesome is that? This true freedom of choice opened up my eyes to accept new horizons and I’ve realized that I spent near a decade of my life living conrtolled by somebody else. I had to get up when the alarm clock went off, not when I felt like, I had to go to the office regardless of how beautiful a day it was outside, even though I’d much rather spend it by the lake, I could ask for a vacation but had to do it with advance notice and only had so many days I could use – everything in my life was being determined by someone else, not me.
And here I found myself with firm grip on my own life, independent and free, no longer the property of my employer, my government, my family or anyone else. There was just me and my goals. I was choosing directions, I was choosing speed, I was choosing terms of service.
By becoming a corporate slave you give away your independence and freedom almost entirely. While I was employed, I wasn’t the person I was dreaming to be. I was the tool of my employer. I was there to take orders and deliver the product as per the requirements. The value of my life was given a price tag. I did what I was told so I could collect the paycheck and spend it according to the current community standards. There was no real freedom or independence in my life. My purpose as a corporate slave was to please my masters – the employer. Being a corporate slave, I obediently obliged which is what slaves do to avoid being punished. Corporate slaves, same as normal slaves in its true meaning live their lives in fear. The fear of being punished by being fired, or otherwise put into an undesirable situation.
The actual difference between a slave and a corporate slave is that corporate slaves have their minds locked up, not their bodies. Even though physically imprisoned, actual slaves were provided with food and shelter – corporate slave must provide their own shelter and their own food out of after-tax money they receive in exchange for their obedience. Unlike an actual slave, a corporate slave who loses his shelter must still come to work and follow his/her orders or else he/she could be punished.
The saddest part is that corporate slaves not only lead themselves into this imprisonment, they even ask and strive for it. Their life’s joy is provided by the reality shows on TV. And so their whole life becomes a rat race. They work during the best days of their lives, get taxed and whatever they’re left with is spent on things. The culture of consumerism controls their spendings by keeping them on high through advertising and media exposure.
Most corporate slaves are voluntary prisoners. It is not possible to lock someone up in a cage physically nowadays so setting oneself free is a matter of choice. However, most people will stick with slavery and turn independence and freedom their backs. Cage is the world they are familiar with. Walking out could be risky. And so they spend their lives instead of living them and will die without realizing how much they could have accomplished in life.
It is hard for me to hold it against anyone. I was exactly like that only a few months back. However, I’ve allowed myself to step back and look at the bigger picture from the distance. And when the first glimpse of bigger picture has offered itself, I have followed it to see what the rest of it is all about. I have not stopped until I got clear idea about what the world outside of the cage looked like. Like other corporate slave, back then I felt comfortable in a cage too. It wasn’t the life I would have wanted for myself, but there were forms of security in place that kept me inside. World out there could be dangerous – at least that’s what the media says. Staying inside of the cage offers some protection from this wild, wild world. And if you do what they say, there will always be a place for you in a cage.
I walked out. I dared. I exposed myself to the fresh air and the sound of the ocean. I felt the touch of independence, felt the touch of freedom and chose to soar on my own wings. I can go as high as I wish, take a turn whenever I see fit because it’s me who holds the reins. And this time around I’m not letting go easily. I’ve done it once and it cost me 10 years of my life. I know what I want and I’m gonna take it. My life belongs to me so from now on, I’m rowing my own canoe.
I do realize that freedom and independence come with responsibility. There will be no one to make decisions for me, now one to blame. But I’m ready and willing to accept this responsibility. It will be like the old days when I lived on my own terms. I’m back to my old me and I’m ready to kick ass. My first task as a free and independent man is to choose my first destination where to start my travels. It’s gonna be awesome.
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