We Have Become Emotional Slaves

I don’t think happiness is necessarily the reason we’re here. I think we’re here to learn and evolve, and the pursuit of knowledge is what alleviates the pain of being human.
– Sting, (Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner), CBE (born 2 October 1951)

What does a rock star know about the lives of ordinary people anyway? As it happens, quite a bit. Far more than most people in his occupation, Sting is an ordinary person once he is off stage/camera. He’s also a fair thinker, as this quote suggests.

While it might have been worded better, Sting’s thought is profound.

He begins by talking about happiness. The desire for happiness is one of the “needs” that have been falsely and improperly promoted by advertisers for large industries. Most advertising is intended to appeal to needs, real or more commonly invented by the agencies that concoct them. The concept that we were put on this earth to be happy is one of the major myths created by advertisers to promote products and services that supposedly make people happy. In fact, they mostly separate people from their money.

Sting (even his mother calls him that) says that we aren’t here to be happy. We have a more important purpose. However (here is where he runs into problem with industries who want to turn everyone into mindless consumers), that more important purpose is not well promoted, as industry sales (greed) is.

I disagree that it’s important that the pursuit of knowledge “alleviates the pain of being human.” It’s a distraction, but so are spending money to buy advertised products we are told we “need” as well as other endeavours. Distractions divert our attention from pain, which is true, and is the primary non-pharmaceutical method for pain relief. When our mind is distracted from pain (which is created in the brain anyway), we forget about our pain.

To learn and evolve seems an ethereal purpose for existence. Sting means evolution of the mind, which is the only kind of which we are capable, as corporeal evolution is beyond us by natural methods.

Learning can only take us so far, then we stop because we are filled with stuff we can’t use. The evolution he refers to only happens when we teach what we have learned to others.

Industries put such an overwhelming push on us to mold our thinking (more like brainwashing, if taken in total) that having people teach other people about life goes against the thrust of industry. Industry doesn’t want us to learn or to evolve. It wants us to be unthinking followers of their mind-molding techniques.

The more we learn and think, the more we realize that we have become willing victims of brainwashing by industry. As societies, we have adopted industry as God. We don’t need a deity any longer to tell us what to do with our lives because we have industry to tell us in minute detail. No one disputes the fact that industry exists. The major power behind the message that “God is not real” is industry, because it wants to remove the mind-molding power that religion once had over us and replace it with their own message.

The unknowing ones may doubt that industry controls our lives and dictates our belief system, but the more they study the more they will realize that we have become emotional slaves to industry just as people in the past were made (unwillingly) physical slaves. Our enslavement has been willing, at least in the sense that no one is forcing our bodies to buy the stuff industry advertises.

We can’t evolve, as Sting suggests we should, so long as we don’t teach each other to think independently and to advance the real causes of humanity rather than the false causes invented by advertising agencies. If we try, we can expect that we will face enormous opposition from industry because it controls not only the resources and the political system, but the media that have now become the primary purveyors of what we should believe.

You and I don’t have to worry about that level of opposition. We need only to do two things. Okay, maybe three. First, we need to learn how industry controls our lives and to change the way we think and act so that we cast off the bonds of our emotional slavery.

Then we need to talk to others about it. We don’t have to preach or to write great works of literature to get our message across. We only have to include what we have learned in our conversations with others. Just plain lunchroom/coffee shop talk.

Of course we must teach our children accordingly. We must teach them in stronger messages than they receive from television, which is the primary brainwashing mechanism for industry.

It’s not necessary for us to prevent our kids from watching television. We simply need to teach them how to be critical viewers who know that advertising is trying to twist their minds to get them or their parents to buy, buy, buy what industry produces. Once a child learns that lesson, they never forget. They see it everywhere. They resent industry for trying to twist their minds.

As important, they teach it, in conversation with their peers, in ways that industry can never hope to compete with. And so we evolve, as Sting said.

It begins with you and me. It starts today. Go, now, and talk.

Bill Allin
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, a book about how, when and what to teach children so that they do not become emotional slaves to industry advertising and mindless consumers of stuff that adds nothing to the value of their lives.
Learn more at http://billallin.com


4 thoughts on “We Have Become Emotional Slaves

  1. Enjoyed reading your very passionate post. It is always good to hear such thoughts. However, I must confess that I do not agree with Sting. His words:

    “I don’t think happiness is necessarily the reason we’re here. I think we’re here to learn and evolve, and the pursuit of knowledge is what alleviates the pain of being human.”

    seem to argue that life is somehow inherently tragic and therefore that happiness is not truly a real possibility for us as humans. I think that happiness is a human possibility and the best account of this possibility is Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics whose central topic is precisely happiness. But much reflection has to be undertaken in order to see why it is that we tend to see life as primarily tragic.

    Your words are quite powerful, though.


  2. I don’t think the responsibility lies on the shoulders of marketers and advertisers, who simply make information available to the public.

    Rather, with few exceptions, I think that it is the fault of those who fail to perform their duties as parents: those who will not spend time with their kids and teach them life’s lessons (often because they haven’t learned those lessons themselves), those who will not turn off the TV or the computer and tell their kids to go do something constructive with their time, those who will just buy buy buy $$ for their children without thinking, reinforcing that behavior in the child’s mind as “okay.” If the parents fail, then, again with few exceptions, the child is doomed to fail also: as a parent, student, teacher, employee, citizen, whatever roles may befall him during his life, he will fail.

    With any and all information (predominantly advertisement) readily accessible, it has never been more important for the parent to prepare the child to analyze that information critically in the early stages, as exposure to that information is inevitable.

  3. Exceptional article, but I’ve got a short question… how do you guard against spam comments more successfully? I prevent a lot, yet it seems that there’s a
    lot of comments that survive. I’m truly contemplating preventing them all, but I need to keep some degree of activity on my blog site. What do I do? I am sorry to spring this on you, but you look like you have your act together, so I thought why not ask. I am sorry to be a bother.

    • I wait until WordPress informs me of a comment being left, then I read the comment and approve or delete it. I do not find it an inconvenience. I just deal with it when I find the spam. I do not worry about it.

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