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Subtle Coercion

It is amazing how we accept an undercurrent of threat and coercion in our lives. We are afraid of eviction from our homes, losing our jobs or having our electricity and heat shut off. In groups, we know not to say or do certain things or else lose the acceptance of the group.

Friendly or unfriendly, these things condition us to conform. The underlying implication is: Conform or be condemned.

We dearly love being accepted. We fear being unacceptable. Mostly we fear losing our place and identification as something in the eyes of others.

Though it is naive to think that none of this has to do with physical survival. Obviously it does. Which makes it all the more worse. Your very life is threatened by this coercion to conform and you accept it.

It is the belonging aspect of this that is more troubling. We feel we are something if we belong to a group. We fear losing it, so shape our thoughts, speech and behavior to be suitable to the status quo. After awhile, we enjoy being controlled and abused, as long as it gives us security. So, clearly, this way of living is rooted in fear.

And it leads to distorted perception. When we live in fear, our perception is never clear or whole but broken up by fear and image and ideal and conditioning imposed on us.

Worst of all, we are warned of a ruined reputation if we don’t conform. Clearly, if we didn’t worry about how we look, we’d never have this fear of not belonging.

Andy-bernay-roman, Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Andy-bernay-roman, Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Featured image: Binder.donedat, Flickr. Some rights reserved.

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