Lately I’ve been seeing things on blogs that say…the only place we’re free,is in our thoughts and other such sayings. But I don’t think that’s true…ever. I think our thoughts change, as we get older, but our thoughts came from others to begin with…parents, culture, religion, schools, and all the rest. All we do is build on the thoughts that we inherited from everyone/thing around us. We learned what was good, bad, right and wrong. We learned who to love and who not trust. We learned everything from listening, watching and being told. Our thoughts have never been our own. Not for a second. Not since we were labeled pink or blue and treated accordingly. As time goes by we might see that what we were taught isn’t what we want to believe, so we discard the original input and write a new script.
It’s impossible, however, to get our culture out of us. Everything I see, no matter what country I’m in, I see through the eyes of an American. All of my thoughts are American and everything I see is automatically translated into ‘American.’ I can speak a wee bit of this or that and I might know a wee bit about where I am but I’m an American, a Chicagoan, city person, a female, and that colors every single thing I see or do. It’s that way for all of us. Even in America, none of us fit in when we go north or south, east or west. We can stick out in a crowd, because we are out of place. Our accents are different, our clothing is different, the way we carry ourselves is different and the look on our faces…well, you get my drift. We can’t get those nuances out of ourselves, without concentrated effort and even then, they often slip out. Those things are basic, they are the foundations upon which everything we are, is built.
Something else. Who we are, where we came from and what we were taught, adds up to our expectations about life and other people, in general. No one talks about that but what we expect comes from what we have experienced. A simple example would be ice in our drinks. A lot of American’s like ice in their drinks. Other countries don’t serve ice in their drinks because they weren’t TAUGHT to want ice in their drinks. I was at a cafe in Paris and I loved their food. We had eaten there a lot and one morning I ordered potatoes with breakfast. The waiter looked at me and said, “What?” I told him that I wanted potatoes, like the ones that I had had at dinner the night before. He just stared at me. Finally he said that he would ask the cook, who said “Non.” So no potatoes for the crazy American woman. LOL If HE was in Chicago, the he would have been asked if he wanted potatoes with his breakfast and what kind. Expectations…all what we are used to.
It’s funny because what surprises us about others would be normal, if we were born where they were born, or vice versa. It’s all about environment. That’s why wars are silly. People should realize that we’re all the same it’s just the environments that are different. That makes sense to me. Maybe not to you, but we are who we are because of our environment and we would be completely different if we were born and raised in some other place. So we aren’t ANYTHING…we simply BECOME someone because of the things around us. What’s around us, makes us who we re.
We aren’t free in our thoughts. We are all products of our environment. We make changes as we go because our environment changes and new things are offered to us. Our vision expands and we are no longer children. We tuck the new things into our repertoire and they come out changed, by who we are. We are always changing but we are changing from the place where we began.
Our innate personalities also play a part, of course, but it’s just silly to think that we are ever really free from what we first learned when we knew nothing at all. The things put into us was filtered through our personalities and that’s what started us off. Cooperative child, rebellious child, meek child, happy child, terrified/shy child…all took what they were given and painted it with their own personality.
That’s who we are. That’s who everyone is. We are all simply manifestations of the things around us…of our experiences…and that’s it. No real freedom, just input and output that is colored by the input.