“They” want to keep us downtrodden, they want to make sure we don’t go upsetting the status quo. They have set us a position in life and don’t want us moving out of it. They want you to settle down into a safe career, get married, get a house, and build up a mountain of debt to shackle you in that position for the rest of your life. They make you want things beyond your means, slowly persuading you to bind yourself in a Faustian deal with them that will place your children and your children’s children in similar bonds.
There is no “they”, not really. There is no centralised group with a rigid master plan that is being enacted on a global level. Instead there are thousands, if not millions of individuals around the globe doing their best to rise to the top by continually trampling you down. Each one has a plan, a plan for every man, woman and child they interact with. Banks promote the idea that you need a car when you can walk to work or get the bus. Fashion companies tell you that you are ugly without their product. Entertainment companies pretend you are missing something by not buying their movie or game when in fact it is nothing more than two hours of the same tired, trite nonsense penned by hacks. Each group, each plan, is designed with no purpose other than to elevate the chosen few above you, above the masses.
These pied pipers lead us all on a merry dance to our own spiritual destruction, the inevitable result being a lifetime of regrets and creating a culture that our children will only find it harder to escape. We know this yet we refuse to acknowledge it. We spend a third of our adult life in jobs we hate in small, uncomfortable offices doing the same damned thing every single day. We have no real expectation of reward or advancement because those responsible for letting us progress guard their positions jealously and know that letting us progress devalues those positions. They will not let the truly talented people advance into a role where they can excel because they fear that they will be revealed as charlatans and talentless frauds in the process.
The saddest thing is that we could so easily be free, we could refuse to play the games any more. We could stop running like rats through a maze with the hope of a reward at the end only to discover yet another maze and more promises. We know this. But we don’t stop, we bury the knowledge, the secret to our freedom beneath the recitations, assurances, threats and promises they give us. We live our life convinced that what we do is right, all the while knowing that we are wrong.
All we need to do is stop, stop buying into the hype, stop being more interested in a TV show than we are in our own supposedly loved ones. Stop spending more time at a computer than outside with the wonders of nature, wherever they may be. Sure, do a job - that bit is inescapable right now but do something you find remotely interesting, don’t take a job you hate because the pay is great, it just erodes your soul one day at a time. Live within your means, enjoy the simple pleasures. Work to live rather than living to work and don’t listen to the demands that you work Saturdays for no benefit to you. Create something instead of watching another tired rehashing of some terrible TV show or playing yet another computer game that looks and feels like the last ten. Spend your free time doing something that improves your own lot in life rather than working to ensure that your boss can afford another new car or for the false assurances that you too will be able to do the same one day. Here’s a secret. The guys who write those TV shows, the actors, the game developers, the fashion designers, the models, the celebrities – they all hate their jobs too. They want more money, they have as much stress as you do, if not more. They’re just as unhappy as you are. They’re nothing to aspire to.
Just stop playing their damned game, even if you win, you lose.