Does it matter?
Or rather, do we think that it doesn’t matter?
“No one else bothers so why should I?”
Our cultural behaviour is changing. This is the effect of the Kali Yuga – selfishness – and/or it is the result of the maneouvering of conformity to reach a certain standard (high or low) through techniques such as neurolinguistic programming: it’s a controlling experiment utilising and enhancing our selfishness/self identity.
Social media allows people to repeat the programming that is in their minds without discriminating or understanding the effect on others. We do not realise that a meme* has been placed there.
As sentient beings, every concept in our mind is an acquisition; we don’t have one original thought. We merely have to read the comments on social media or listen to the news on the radio to see that nothing new is being said, and the same concepts and phrases are being constantly repeated as if they are original thought. Our origin – our essential nature – has no thoughts, but merely recognises. An ordinary person will comment mechanically to enhance their own self-identity; this is the basis of samsara. And this is why we meditate – to have clarity of mind and clear the programming.
Conformity is the act of matching attitudes, beliefs and behaviours to group norms. Norms are implicit, unspoken rules shared by a group of individuals that guide their interactions with others. This tendency to conform occurs in small groups and society as a whole, and may result from subtle unconscious influences, or direct and overt social pressure.
* From Wikipedia: “The word meme means to replicate. A meme is “an idea, behaviour, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture”. The word meme is a shortening (modelled on gene) of mimeme from Ancient Greek mīmēma, “to imitate” (the term was coined by Richard Dawkins in his book, The Selfish Gene).
“A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices that can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena with a mimicked theme. The concept regards memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate, and respond to selective pressures.”
As humans in a society, we need to conform to some extent. You speak, and I listen. I speak and you listen. It is efficient to be polite, and that is effective for learning. A group will have a certain tendency with which we can choose to conform – or not. Whatever we choose will affect our outlook…and that of others.
We are trapped in the prisons of our minds.
So what’s the remedy?
As always, it is recognition.
In recognition, there is a moment of spontaneous presence
which is outside the programming;
it neither accepts nor rejects.
Then there IS choice.
This is especially important in spiritual groups.
We can easily become caught up in the rituals,
enacting them mechanically and missing the whole point.
Our understanding entirely depends on the teacher explaining well, or not.
The Buddha said, “Test to see if it is true.
Do not just accept my words out of respect”.