A 99.9% Shift to Power
‘’Today we come across individuals who behave like an automation. Who neither knows nor understands himself; and the only person he understands, is the person he is supposed to be’’.
Oracle of Delphi——–Man Know Thyself.
Delphi was an important ancient Greek religious sanctuary sacred to the god of Apollo, located at Mt.Parnassus near the Gulf of Corinth. The sanctuary was home to the famous oracle of Apollo which gave cryptic predictions and guidance to both city states and individuals. The ancient Greek aphorism ‘’know thyself’’ or ‘’gnothi seauton’’ is one of the Delphi maxims inscribed in the forecourt of the temple. In Latin, the aphorism is given as ‘’nosce te ipsm’’ or ‘’temet nosce’’.
After the interpretation of Socrates Plato and other Greek philosophers, the Suda, a 10th century encyclopaedia of Greek knowledge says: ‘’the proverb is apllied to those whose boast exceed what they are and that ‘’know thyself’’ is a warning to pay no attention to the opinion of the multitude’’. The very act of paying attention to the multitude is known as Automation Conformity. Automation conformity means abandoning one’s ideal self, trying to conform to our perception of the society’s preferred choice of personality and loosing ourselves in the process. It displaces the burden of choice from self to society. This conformity to the perception of the multitude is another name for Mediocrity. The oracle of Delphi has done noble in forewarning against this. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. So ladies and gentlemen welcome to today’s movement. A movement against mediocrity. The thing is, we have to move form the known to the unknown. Why did the Oracle of Delphi forewarn us in the first place? Why do we behave like an automation? What is this known problem ?
Classical Conditioning – Pavlov’s Dog Experiment.
Our problem put in simple term is ‘’Conditioning’’. One of the most revealing studies in Human behavior was carried out by Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936), in a series of experiment today referred to as’’Pavlov’s Dogs’’. Pavlov came across classical conditioning unintentionally during his research on animal gastric system. Whilst measuring the salivation rate of dogs, he found out that they would salivate even when the smelled food in anticipation of feeding. This is a normal reflex response which we expect to happen as saliva plays an important role in the digestion of food. However, the dogs began to salivate when event occurred which would otherwise be unrelated to feeding. By playing sounds to them prior to feeding them , he found out that the dogs will begin to salivate at the sound either produced by the buzzer or bell or when a door is been opened, in anticipation of food even when no food was coming. The neutral stimuli is the opening of doors and playing of sound. The conditioned stimuli is the food. However, the response to the two has become the same. This response demonstrated the basic principle of classical conditioning.
The implication of Pavlov’s findings are significant as they can be applied to many animals including human beings. The essence of this illustration is this; Every stimuli has an expected response. That, is the core of our problem. As soon as we are born into this world, we are surrounded by a lot of stimuli from DNA, Parents, environment, societal expectation and culture. Most of the parents during the late 80’s till date will push their wards into academic fields that don’t coincide with the child’s abilities just to satisfy their own ego. The usual profession for them is either Medicine in sciences or Law in arts. While some others will push their children into marriages of convenience just to form some sort of alliance or perceived security, irrespective of the compatibility of the couple in question. Our culture will ensure the girl child spends her childhood and teenage life learning how to cook and clean in preparation for marriage with no much attention to the development her person. Most men today will agree with me that cooking and cleaning is not enough to marry a woman these days because even a maid can cook and clean. The difference between the maid and the madam is the individuality difference.The society expects us to go to school get a certificate, make ends meet and pay back our sponsors. Instead of becoming great and liberating the entire generation down to its fifth line, the immediate penny to penny payback is more important. And then u beget your own child who grows up too to pay you back with some ends meet. A continuos cycle of mediocre functionality. A whole lot of these stimuli and more, condition our response. And the bad news is, we do not have control over these factors. We have no choice over the parents we came into the world through nor their ideologies. We have no say over the training given to us from childhood nor the environment we grew up in, nor our genetic makeup nor the society that existed before we came. It’s all been conditioned before our arrival.we have become victims of circumstance. What on earth are we supposed to do about this? I’m sort of worried I feel I might shed some tears.
The Escape Mechanism
Stimulus → Response.
What else do we do if not to react to the expectations required of us without much ado. At least we won’t have to fight with anything or quarrel with anybody or struggle. There’s an already made answer. It is much easier and natural to just react to our circumstances. To give it the response it demands. To conform to societal expectation. To take the path of least resistance. The easy answer. The obvious reality This conformity like we deduced earlier defines the term Mediocrity. According to Bishop T D Jakes, ‘’ Mediocrity is the failure to do our best. To go beyond the expectation of others, to live up to our true potential, to extend ourselves to the limits of our abilities, to give it all we have, to satisfy our own convictions. It is accepting the norm., pleasing the statusquo and doing what we can get by with’’. This is the place of the multitude. By default, this is where we find ourselves. It will take so much of energy to walk away from this place. That is of course, if we want to. Henry David Thoreau, (1817-1862), practical philosopher and Poet asked a question; ‘’are we going to live our lives deliberately or in resignation?’’ I want to also ask my fellow people; How long do we remain victims of circumstance? How long do we remain in this crowded quarters? Is there a possibility that we can walk away and find a place of purpose and fufillment? Find out the answers to these questions and more in the next edition by next week. The movement just began. Cheers!
Written by Crown Nwachukwu
Know thyself; Wikipedia © 2017.
Behavioral Psychology; ‘’Pavlov’s Dogs and Conditioning’’, Psychologist World © 2017.