Fear is the enemy of progress, that makes sense, but what is the connection between faith and fear? How is this link is used to control your life? We need to learn how to see this connection and chain of events to overcome this obstacle hindering the planet’s future. Are you ready to help?
To fight this foe which endangers you and everyone on planet Earth, you must be able to recognize it. Then, after you find it, you need to know what to do to minimize or eliminate it. It is not an easy undertaking, but the rewards are worth the effort.
Why Truth is the Enemy of Faith
The quest to identify the real enemy of progress begins with understanding how easy it is for us to be manipulated by propaganda. One way to do this is to examine the difference between facts and something that is stated factually. It sounds like we are talking about the same thing, but they are not.
Facts can be proven. Whereas, things which are not true can be stated factually. That’s the difference between fact and fiction. Do you see where we are going with this? Faith is to trust for which you have no proof is true, and this is exactly why truth is the enemy of faith. Organized religion wants you to have faith that what they tell you is true.
How does faith connect to fear? Fear is always just around the corner when you trust in something without proof, so the underlying ingredient for faith is fear. You can trust and hope all you want, but underneath there is the creeping fear that what you believe in is not true.
Now let’s talk about how faith gets into our cultural narrative. Faith becomes accepted as part of culture via tradition. Traditions can be positive or negative. It all depends on what it is and how it is used. So, we must learn to dissect our customs and rituals and determine the good from the bad. Let’s go through some examples to see how to do it.
When you see how our culture spins them to manipulate and exploit, you understand how they can sell us everything from soap to ideology. One common element in all of these is fear. You buy soap because you fear your body odor will offend, and you purchase an ideology because you fear god and hell. So, let’s look at these goals from the perspective of those who use them. Releasing ourselves from the burdens that give us will free our minds.
Fear is the Enemy of Progress
If you think our culture sends mixed messages, you would be right. Those who place profit over people and the planet are our real enemies, and these enemies hide behind the following masks:
- Personal Enemies
- Corporate Culture
- Popular Culture
There is a battle which has been going on so long most people fail to recognize the war between religion and science, between superstition and fact. Religious zealots always want to take us back to the dark ages when the Church was in total control. It is the ancient version of the Handmaiden’s Tale.
Overcoming the Enemies of Progress
One way to imprison people is to appeal to their innate desire for comfort. First, make them feel comfortable. Then, when they get used to it, either threaten to take it away or make them believe someone else wants to take it away. Pretending something else which enables you to capitalize on their fear.
Another popular tactic is to create scapegoats to blame, and then you can sell them the solution to get rid of these undesirables. Or better yet, sell them the weapons to kill the scapegoats. Yes, our comfort zone is often the unhealthy zone or twilight zone.
“Comfort is the enemy of progress.” — P. T. Barnum (1)
We also have personal enemies closer to home. Our self-talk can be one of our greatest enemies. You can’t get away from it, but you can learn repair it and make it work for you instead of against you. You’ll need to remove the harmful programming and replace it with positive scripts to do this. It’s not easy, but well worth the effort.
Corporate Culture and Excellence
In most companies, a good performance rating doesn’t warrant a promotion, instead, it is a justification to pay less. So, the goal is an excellent rating.
Superior performance is difficult to achieve and unrealistic to maintain without the use of drugs. Also, people are imperfect and make mistakes. So, although it is possible, it’s not realistic it is still very good for corporate profits even if requires people to sacrifice their health. People are tools to get the job done.
Corporate culture is an endless treadmill which treats people like paper and paperclips. More often than not, performance ratings have more to do with your physical attractiveness than your performance. It’s true. We overlook the mistakes of people we find attractive. It’s an aspect of human nature. Studies in workplace psychology show that beautiful people have a clear edge at work despite all the talk about fair metrics. But, then, as the company’s overall performance raises, so does the performance standard. In other words, an excellent rating last year is only average this year because average performance has risen, our fear is the enemy of progress.
“To pursue a goal which is by definition unattainable is to condemn oneself to a state of perpetual unhappiness.” ― Emile Durkheim (2)
Very few people achieve excellence because it’s a rare temporary condition, but this doesn’t stop companies from using the goal of excellence as carrots to drive performance. Striving for unreasonable levels of achievement motivates people to work hard. It may not be good for the health of the employee, but it is good for the bottom line. After all, that’s how to maximize your human resources.
The policies of the corporation are designed to protect the rights of the company. For example, non-compete clauses and intellectual property rights give the company ownership over new ideas while restricting the employee’s right to work for a competitor. It’s evil. Policies which prohibit discrimination and sexual harassment are common, but they do not protect the employee. These policies are an affirmative defense to protect the company from lawsuits. Policies do nothing to change the behavior of those who commit these acts. If someone violates the discrimination or sexual harassment policies, the company terminates them, they just go to another company.
Perhaps one of the greatest enemies of our health and welfare are the way companies use the goals of excellence and perfection to drive performance. People think the objective is somehow attainable, but in the long-run, unrealistic goals are not motivators. They are the source of stress, which is a health concern. Yet, most companies’ strategy is to constantly raise the bar for performance. How about you? Are you a victim of this ploy?
Scientific Discovery and Perfection
Scientific discovery is the problem solving force of the modern world. Science requires precision to solve problems, that is why science is the enemy of faith. Precision is different from perfection. Some people use Thomas Edison and his invention of light bulb as an example of excellence. It is a bad example. He did not invent the light bulb; it was the improvement in of the previous versions utilizing a source of energy he could exploit. It made it more marketable by monopolizing sale of the electricity that made them work. His product is not an invention. It is the product of continuous improvement and actively suppressing the competition. A good example of corporate greed.
Religion and Perfection
Western Organized religion has the most significant influence on the world’s cultural narrative. Without a doubt, your favorite religious tradition creates fear, and fear is the enemy of progress.
The three main organized religions are Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (3) . These systems have a lot of experience infiltrating the fabric of society. These three religions boast more than 3 billion members (4). They are not docile or submissive. They protect their customer base through a system of continual indoctrination and violence. They begin programming children at an early age, which continues through life.
Western organized religion promotes its “own brand” of perfectionism. The fear of the unknown is the key. In Western culture, religion sells the ultimate high margin intangible product, the afterlife. To get it, you must be perfectly obedient.
Here’s how it works. First, find or create a problem, hell, and then provide the solution, heaven. One of the more lucrative issues of religion is how it capitalizes on our existential fear of death, by selling the antidote, the afterlife. The afterlife is expensive to get and keep your place in heaven, because it is conditional. If you are a follower, in good standing and pay your dues, then you qualify for the afterlife reward of heaven. If you fail to follow, or fall out of good standing, then the result is eternal torment in Hell. Bill Hicks says it best.
“Eternal suffering awaits anyone who questions God’s infinite love.” ― Bill Hicks
This concept isn’t new. The mystery religions of ancient Egypt, Babylon, Persia, and Assyria created the afterlife scam. The Abrahamic faiths simply adopted and rebranded these tools. You find perfection by becoming a believer. Here, the light of truth is the enemy of faith. They do not want you to research their origins.
However, you also need to pay your way, to remain in good standing requires some monetary indulgence to ensure your place in the afterlife. In this worldview, you achieve perfection by becoming a follower. Follow the correct God and obey your leaders. Isn’t pretending faith beautiful? It’s a con mans favorite tool, and that’s why facts are the enemy of faith.
“The enemy is fear. We think it is hate, but it is really fear.” — Mahatma Gandhi (5)
In reality, these cultural narratives have a basis in fear and greed. These never lead to progress. The period we know as “the dark ages” is an example of what happens when religion has full reign to create laws based on religious pedigree. Organized religion is by far the greatest enemy of progress. It has the power to overcome common sense and scientific evidence. Western organized religion is the originator of group hypnosis or groupthink manipulation tactics.
Popular Culture and Perfectionism
Achievement, excellence, and perfection would seem to be objective standards of progress, but the real issue is who gets to determine the standards? What is excellence or perfection in popular culture? Truth is a lot of people are trying to set standards so they can control a certain niche or market segment.
Our culture bombards us with stories of achievement, excellence, and perfection, so you would think there would be a lot of successful people. But that is not reality. The culture tells us anyone can achieve excellence. But that is not reality.
We see professional athletes and successful business leaders actively promoting the way to success is through the purchase of their product. The message is the excellence and perfection are the only real goals. Anything short of perfect is a failure. They are leveraging your fear, and this fear is the enemy of progress. You will always fall short of the mark, because they keep raising the standard.
Money is the golden idol of materialism, but does hoarding monetary resources make you successful or just narcissistic? There seems to be a disconnect between the message of the goal and what happens. Many people strive to be first at something. However, statistics tell us most people will be in the middle of the bell curve. Most people are “average.” However, being average in a culture based on the exceptional 1% standard is unrealistic. Let’s look more closely at how culture uses this message to manipulate us.
The quest for excellence is a constant message in popular culture. The pursuit of excellence takes on many forms. You see it in organized sports at all levels. Baseball and football are where star athletes show off their talents paid for by advertising.
Boxing and martial arts are socially acceptable forms of entertainment. These are just examples of how the quest for excellence pays monetary dividends in a cultural narrative driven by greed. It all goes back to Greek and Roman cultures. The Olympic Games and combatants in the Roman coliseums are attractions, and, these social attractions distract us from paying attention.
“The coveted perfect life is a created standard which is purposely unattainable.” ― Bryant McGill (6)
Excellence is all that counts. Being first and winning is all that matters. Those who cannot excel are unworthy. These games exploit the fascination with human conflict, cementing their superstitions in the cultural narrative. Corporations benefit from celebrating the few who sacrifice to excel. These are examples of what you might become if you buy their products and ideas.
As we mentioned before, the goal increases as more people come closer to the objective, and so the standard for excellence becomes more challenging to achieve. So, our popular culture is an enemy of progress. The higher the performance standard, the less it becomes attainable. As a result, an unrealistic goal becomes a barrier for most people. Thus, the culture driven by excellence is hindering our progress.
Personality and Perfection
All personality types are prone to the effects of the cultural narrative. For example, let’s look at Enneagram types one and three, the reformer and the achiever. By the name of these types, you can see why they find the irresistible goals of order and achievement. As a result, you’ll find many personality types in leadership positions in both business and religion. You don’t become a leader by questioning the cultural narrative, instead, you must learn to promote their messages without questioning the underlying motives. Otherwise, this becomes an enemy of progress.
The more you expose yourself to the programming, the more invested you become in the ideas it sells. It speaks to the power of propaganda. It also demonstrates how groupthink manipulation can exploit the thinking of anyone. It has nothing to do with intelligence.
Propaganda of perfection works by molding our thinking and values, this often triggers underlying obsessive-compulsive personality disorders (OCPD). When someone develops excessive concerns for excellence and perfectionism, it shows up as a relentless work ethic that dominates their lives. Not surprisingly, this disorder is an asset in the workplace (7). Workaholics climb the corporate ladder using any tactics they can muster, so it is an enemy of progress for health and wellbeing.
So, it isn’t our personality that is the issue. It’s how the culture exploits it. Our personality is only an enemy of our progress if we don’t understand it. However, we can learn to understand these mechanisms. We can resolve this with proactive inner work through tools like the Enneagram Personality Profile. More about this tool later when we talk about solutions.
The Cost of Perfection and Excellence
It doesn’t matter which category of performance you choose, if you look at the superstars in any field, you’ll see achieving excellence is a life-consuming effort. So, it’s probably appropriate to classify it as an obsession. And, this doesn’t lead to satisfaction. The costs of being an overachiever are steep.
First, your physical health and wellness will suffer by working longer and harder. Overachievers often suffer from depression because perfection is hard to sustain. Stress in the modern world is why life expectancy declines in the USA (8). Second, the families of overachievers always pay the price of absence. In the end, the advertisers and corporations are the true benefactors. In the end, your achievements add to the bottom line and justify raising the performance bar for everyone.
Four Steps to Overcome Our Real Enemies
Can you relate to any of the categories above? Can you see how unrealistic goals are an enemy of progress? Are unrealistic goals a problem built into the cultural narrative? Are our efforts to reach unattainable goals benefiting someone else? If so, what do we do about it?
Common sense is the enemy of faith. We need to identify the harmful customs, then remove or minimize their effects in our lives. We can then reprogram our traditions to be a positive influence. Finally, we can go out and plant seeds of positive impact and help others unmask their traditions.
Above all, it is essential to identify the sources of cultural programming. Conduct a task and time survey. Make a list of the time you spend and what sources. Putting it in writing will help you see the level of exposure.
Here’s an example of identifying these sources. Let’s say you work for a corporation. In most cases, companies have policies that govern specific guidelines of behavior. People need to monitor their behavior and conform to these standards. It’s like acting in a play all day, which is the essence of behavior modification. So, working 50 or 60 a week is corporate behavior modification, which we accept as part of the cultural package.
Then, if you watch TV for 3 hours a night, that’s around 80 hours of cultural programming. It’s not uncommon for people to spend upwards of 150 hours a week in front of passive entertainment. It becomes invisible because you are exposing yourself continually. As such, it becomes a habit. You don’t see the programming that is going on.
Here is a list of the primary sources of cultural programming:
- Corporate and school environments
- Western Organized Religion and the God concept
- TV programming, especially news and religious programming
- Religion requires regular meetings
- Cultural events, especially those which promote organized violence
- Relationships that reinforce the cultural narrative
- Social Media
Knowledge is the enemy of faith in the cultural narrative that is keeping you a slave to the machinery.
2) Remove and Minimize
It is essential to eliminate or minimize your exposure to the sources of harmful cultural programming. It is not easy to do. It means making difficult choices and changing habitual patterns. Unhealthy habits are an enemy of our progress. Changing patterns is hard work.
Removing the source is best, but not always practical. So, minimize your exposure as much as you can. Minimizing your exposure is critical. It provides time and space for you to do positive things.
One of the most challenging things to deal with are unhealthy relationships. If you associate with people with bias and prejudice, it will taint your own thinking. It is a way for them to gain acceptance of their harmful stereotypes and ideas. Also, sometimes these relationships directly affect key work contacts. You need to eliminate or reduce your contact with people who support bigotry and ultimately you need to decide to try to change their mind or break the relationship.
Social media is a new source of unhealthy programming. Social media is very addicting and time-consuming, so it’s a good practice to budget and reduce your use of social media. Social media has some side effects, it is linked to psychological issues like loneliness, envy, anxiety, depression, narcissism, and a decrease in social skills. 60% of people using social media report it has an adverse impact on self-esteem, and 50% report they have been victims of harmful social comments and criticism.
Engage in the active reprogramming of your thoughts and habits. It is serious “inner work.” The cultural narrative in Western society is a thread of bias and prejudice that touches almost every aspect of life.
By all means, please include the study of logical reasoning. There is also a suite of companion tools we highly recommend, spotting logical fallacies and truth-seekers axioms. Using these tools will help you determine fact from fiction. The Enneagram Personality Profile is a tool that gives us insight into personality and instinct. This tool will help you understand how your basic thought patterns and desires are default settings. And you can move beyond these limitations.
4) Plant Seeds
Do what you can in your sphere of influence. Be a change agent. In other words, expose negative biases and prejudices when possible. Speaking up always involves some personal risk. So, be mindful of your situation. Overcoming the enemies of progress requires patience.
Be careful. Speak up when and where people can accept your words. It is essential to realize that extremists will protect their belief systems from violence. So, you’ll need to learn to guard your words and actions. Be vigilant, but not violent. Plant seeds of truth and be pro facts, not just anti-religious. You may not see the seeds blossom. However, they may take root later on. More and more are questioning the cultural narrative. What you believe matters. Your beliefs have consequences.
Is the enemy of faith and deception in control of your life? The enemies of progress are experts at using our instincts against us. They exploit and manipulate for profit. As a result, we need to know about their tactics, what we need to do. Learn to spot and protect yourself from cultural programming as much as possible. The enemy of progress is everywhere. But we do not need to become victims of their propaganda.
The more you awaken, the more your conscience will show you what you need to do in this war on progress.
(1) P. T. Barnum: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/916751.The_Life_of_P_T_Barnum
(2) Emile Durkheim: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Emile-Durkheim
(3) Abrahamic Religions: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abrahamic_religions
(4) List of World’s Religions by Population: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_religious_populations
(5) Mahatma Gandhi: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahatma_Gandhi
(6) Bryant McGill: https://bryantmcgill.com/
(7) The Truth About Why Beautiful People Are More Successful: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/games-primates-play/201203/the-truth-about-why-beautiful-people-are-more-successful
(8) NCHS – Death rates and life expectancy at birth : https://data.cdc.gov/NCHS/NCHS-Death-rates-and-life-expectancy-at-birth/w9j2-ggv5