I call this blog “heroes not zombies” because I think so many of us go through much of our lives on autopilot. You know the kind of thing where you travel from home to work, or to a local shop or school, and when you get there you realise you’ve been thinking about something all the way and you actually have no recollection of any detail from the journey. Scary, huh?!
We easily create habits for ourselves, always sitting in the same seat, or taking the same route to town, or ordering the same drink in the same cafe…….not that habits are bad in themselves, but they do take the consciousness out of choosing. They are another way of slipping into autopilot.
We are controlled that way too. Our societies might claim to be free but they are based on mass markets, on global brands and services. We are “normalised” and “socialised” to “fit in”. Uniqueness isn’t encouraged.
In health care drugs are prescribed on the basis of research conducted on groups which is used to create protocols which patients are plugged into on the basis of a diagnostic label.
The Romans had a phrase for this – “bread and circuses”. They knew how to create a zombie society where citizens would conform. Two basic techniques – bread ie make sure people don’t go hungry, and circuses ie entertainment which provides distraction and absorption in what isn’t important. Using these two they could go a long way in the creation of a compliant populace.
Of course they used other techniques too – not least fear and violence – great control measures.
The amphitheatre I photographed above was a key venue for bringing all of that together – food, entertainment, fear and violence – all in one place!
What’s the modern equivalent? Industrial scale “food” production, highly processed, loaded with sugars and chemicals of no nutritional value, and mass media “entertainment” with a focus on “celebrities” and “reality TV”. Add on top plenty of scare stories to keep the population afraid and daily threats of violence through the mass media.
Seems to me the formula still works.
But there is an alternative. Every single one of us is an individual with a unique story to tell. That story makes sense of our lives, creates an awareness of who we are, and sets us in our unique contexts – of place, of family and of tradition. That story gives us the ability to hope, to imagine and to aspire. It gives us a direction. And YOU – yes, YOU – are THE hero of your story. You are the main protagonist. It’s you who chooses, you who accepts or avoids the challenges, you who grows and develops.
So there we have it. We don’t have to succumb. We don’t have to sign up to the zombie creation programme. We can be the heroes of our own stories, and, so, of our own lives.
How do we do that?
Well, you could start by taking a look around at the articles on this site. Check out the A to Z of Becoming posts for example. Read the posts on “story” or “narrative”. Or just come back periodically and read what you want to read.
Hopefully, you’ll be inspired.
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