True autonomy arises when we have broken free of all the old structures, all psychological dependencies, and all fear. — Adyashanti
Popular Culture Structures Fear
The dominant culture structures fear into the narrative. That way, it can profit from our insecurity and fears. The biggest fear we have is our existential fear of death. For this, the cultural narrative offers the counterfeit of an afterlife. This way we don’t go in search of real answers. We pay to belong to organized religion and hope the fear goes away.
Only then can that which is truly unique and fearless arise within us and begin to express itself. Such an expression cannot be planned or even imagined because it belongs to a dimension uninhibited by anything that has come before it.
True autonomy is not trying to fit in or be understood, nor is it a revolt against anything. It is an uncaused phenomenon. Consciously or unconsciously all beings aspire to it, but very few find the courage to step into that infinity of aloneness.”
Breaking Free of Old Structures
What do psychological structures do we need to break to be free? Ask most people and they don’t know. They have become so accustomed to the barriers that they can’t see them. So, here’s a list of the most probable harmful and confining structures.
- Organized Religion
- Social Standards and Values
- Family and Cultural Hierarchies
Why do we need to break free from these structures? Because they often promote unhealthy thinking. Unhealthy thinking creates a chain reaction. How can you tell if your thinking is being influenced in unhealthy ways? We’ll get to this in a moment. First, let’s look at the root causes of unhealthy thought patterns.
Organized religion is rooted in ancient mythologies that contain bias and prejudice. Chief among these is the chosen one mentality that makes people kill other people who don’t believe in their version of an imaginary friend. These are unhealthy thought patterns. And, they create social dependencies on several levels.
Basing your worldview on mythology makes you susceptible to groupthink manipulation tactics. This is the main tool of organized religion. They use it to program thinking that affects our social standards and values. Thus, the bias and prejudice become laws and these distort family and cultural values. It becomes a mission to convert others to your brand of mythology. Otherwise, they are your enemy. These are the structures we need to break free from.
Roadblocks to True Autonomy
How can you tell which structures are harmful and restrict your autonomy? Ask yourself the following questions.
- Does the structure promote or cause you fear or anger?
- Do you feel you need to defend it?
- Does it contain elements harmful to you, others, or the environment? Does it contain justification for harming or discriminating against others?
- If it has a hierarchy does this promote more value or human rights for certain classes, ethnicities, or genders? In short, does it value some people more than others?
- Does it place boundaries on what you can think, what you value, what you can do? If so, are these boundaries applicable to everyone, or are some exempt?
- If there are boundaries are they around what you can believe about physical or spiritual reality?
An affirmative answer to any of these questions means you have structures preventing your true autonomy. You have two choices. You can ignore it and go back to sleep. Or, you can fight for as much of your autonomy as your situation allows. Many cultures are oppressive and restrictive. So, your autonomy of thought must be kept private.
Sadly, there are societies where it is not safe to be a freethinker. Oppressive cultures exist around the globe. People think that the West is a bastion of freedom and tolerance for people of all backgrounds. Perhaps this was the case long ago. However, even in North America, one needs to be cautious and prudent.
Regaining True Autonomy
Here are some practical things you can do if you chose to increase your breadth of autonomy.
- Eliminate or at least minimize your contact with all major mainstream news media. If you are a news junkie switch to independent sources.
- Eliminate your exposure to voluntary social and cultural programming. This is important but it’s hard to do since it’s this comes under the guise of religion. Specifically, Western Organized Religion under the umbrella of the Abrahamic Traditions. These are the Semitic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. If you can’t disengage the counteract the social programming by doing independent sources. Study and learn how to use logical reasoning. This is imperative. Otherwise, the longer you are subject to this social conditioning the harder it is to reason objectively.
- Find other truth-seekers. If you can research together that is a great strategy. If the culture you are in is oppressive. You create and walk your own path. But that doesn’t mean you have to walk it alone.
- Be careful not to share your new awareness and knowledge with those who would use it to persecute or ostracize.
- Above all, fill your life with hope and allow yourself to become vulnerable. Open your eyes to social injustice. Learn to live a courageous life.
You would probably be surprised to learn how many people there are who are in working their way around these roadblocks. You aren’t alone in your quest to regain your true autonomy. This is something many freethinkers and truth-seekers deal with as they become aware.
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Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia
Abrahamic Religions, Wikipedia