This is a timeless question debated among people of varying religious faiths. The idea that we can somehow control what happens to us is drilled into our childhood education. Some religions state, “If you are good you will go to Heaven.” Others state, “What goes around comes around.” The concept of Karma is about the same.
Are these things true? I am not going to challenge anyone’s religion here. In the practical sense, do we see this happening in our daily lives? Sometimes, sometimes not.
Another problem with this sort of belief is the implication of the opposing statement, “You’d better be good, or you won’t go to Heaven!”
We hear a parallel statement in the Mental “Health” System. “If you follow your treatment plan, you won’t relapse.” Or, “If you fail to follow your treatment plan, you will surely become symptomatic.”
Let’s think about these statements for a minute. Are they true? I know as a fact that for me, NO WAY! I would guess that for many readers, noncompliance was life-saving. Those of you who are aware of the tactics used in the System know well that most “patients” don’t even question the validity of statements made by “staff.” I didn’t, for a long time.
Then, we might ask why these statements are even made, since they aren’t necessarily true.
I am guessing most of you know exactly why…..
These statements are made to keep patients under control. They are actually scare tactics. The terms “relapse” and “symptomatic” are seen as the Devil. Patients are convinced that these things are to be dreaded, that they indicate dysfunction or disability. Patients are thus kept within the fold of the MH ghetto. And there we stay.
So here we have dogma that is fallacious but widely used, only to control patients.
Likewise, the dogmas about Heaven and Karma don’t hold true or cannot be proven. What if these beliefs were invented by clever leaders to keep the population in line and prevent crimes? The idea that doing good will lead to good things is pervasive even today, so I suspect the tactic worked.
I do not truly believe that we have much control over our environment and certainly not over other people. For instance, are car accidents the result of bad deeds done in the past? My guess is that most car accidents happen for random reasons. We didn’t cause the deer to run into the road, nor can we control icy conditions nor other drivers.
During Katrina, you may recall the racist remarks about New Orleans, even commentary that God created Katrina to punish the people of that city. I imagine most of you do not believe this.
Another fallacy is that a woman who ends up victim of rape somehow “brought it upon herself.” We’ve heard the “slut” talk all too much. An overwhelming number of rapists get away with what they do, which makes me wonder about the pervasive idea of destiny at work here.
What can we control? We can control how we react to various circumstances around us, to an extent. For instance, if you know it’s going to rain, you can choose to carry an umbrella. You can choose to wear warmer clothes when it’s cold out.
We humans aren’t perfect, though, nor is the weather man. Nature makes the ultimate call. If you’ve gotten drenched, maybe you agree.
We have choices, though, don’t we? We can choose which colleges to apply to.Some have the opportunity to choose between several places to live in a given locale. If you have several job offers you can choose between them. However, the matter of choice in these instances is money-dependent. Many cannot afford to attend college at all. And what about someone who doesn’t get any job offers?
If you have made a similar decision, how did it all work out? Perhaps it did, but maybe not. Look at the number of college students who change their major or transfer elsewhere due to changing interests or other circumstances. We may have chosen a terrific school at the time with the best data at our fingertips, but can we totally predict the future? I recall one college I was at where a tuition hike forced many students to transfer out. Have you ever known a student who chose a certain college just to study with one particular instructor? What happens when the instructor leaves? I recall such students who counted on their one shining star to deliver, but sometimes that didn’t quite pan out.
We humans love to convince ourselves we can control far more than we really can. Conversely, we tend to overlook situations where we do indeed have control, assuming we’re powerless.
Looking again at the Mental “Health” System, we know patients who are deceived into believing their choices are between Pill X and Pill Y. Or, say, between talk therapy and group therapy. What are they overlooking? Many patients are unable to see the other options since psychiatry bombards them with the chemical imbalance myth. I know an awful lot of patients who tell me they are “stuck” because they cannot see outside the narrow view that “treatment” offers.
Have you ever had blinders on in an other way? In the dating world, you may assume your choice is between Date A and Date B, while you overlook Date C. How often we hear that the one we had barely noticed at first turns out to be the Right One?
Life may be a crapshoot, but we can choose how to deal with the crap life throws at us. I challenge readers to believe in possibility. Believe in yourself. And if it rains, bring an umbrella.