The modern day sheep. Don’t laugh, ’cause you’re one too.

Nobody wants to admit it, but it’s true.

As a species, as a race, as a culture, we’ve almost always relied on orders to develop and progress. Even at the very beginning of our existence, before language and speech were developed, I have no doubt that primitive humans followed the orders of an alpha-male. It’s in our nature as animals to do so. Then, as we grew and developed, we had Kings and Queens to rule over, with serfs and peasants (somewhat) merrily doing as they were told, receiving in return a sense of accomplishment in their obedience to those in power.

But we grew out of that, right? Revolutions, democracies, change – surely that’s all in the past now? Surely we’re free?

..and that’s where you’d be wrong. You see, the times may have moved on and improved, but the true leaders of modern day society have merely adapted, pulling the greatest trick in history – letting us think we’re in control of our lives. Meanwhile the invisible Kings and Queens of the modern day pull the strings from just out of our view.

Who are these people, you may ask? Bankers. Corporate leaders. Politicians, not so much – they are more the pretty puppets of whoever is willing to bid the highest for them. (Look at the recent presidents of the USA, most of the time the candidate who wins is the one who has secured the biggest financial backing. Coincidence? Not in the slightest.) They are the ones who shape the world, who call the real shots, and who determine the kind of world in which we are going to live.

So where does that leave us? How do they affect you? Well, lets just assume you want to buy well, anything. What do you need? Money. How do you get it? By working or getting a loan. Who for/from? Gradually but surely, most money trails will lead back to the deep pockets of these wealthy few.

Now you’re thinking – ‘Okay, maybe I earn my money from them, but I have the freedom to spend it however I like, they don’t control that‘. Wrong again. While we do have some degree freedom here I suppose, there is no denying that most of our choices are heavily ‘suggested’ to us through media and advertising. Fashion is the single best example here. So this is how the story goes:

A girl goes to the shop to buy clothes, doesn’t really mind what she’s going to buy, she just wants something practical and that looks nice (but she has seen some stylish _______ in magazines, and all her friends have been wearing them too). She picks up two garments for consideration: one is simple and practical and costs $10, the other is the _______ like the one that all the cool people have been wearing, and maybe, just maybe, if she buys it, she might be like them too. However it costs $40 – but it’ll be worth it, right?

…and that’s how you get caught up. The story might seem a little contrived, but  you’d be lying if you said you’d never thought something along those lines. It’s what the whole fashion industry is about. At the end of the day, they’re trying to sell you a lifestyle which a wardrobe realistically isn’t going to bring you, no matter how much you buy. As the icing on the cake, the fashion industry changes it’s focus so often that you’ll never be completely up to date, and so the cycle continues, locking you into the chase. Still feel free now?

It’s not just fashion either. Take other industries: games, books, movies, phones, computers, music – almost every industry that is built on a ‘want’ as opposed to a ‘need’ spends millions of dollars every year to make sure you know what they want you to buy – under the guise of helping you see what ‘everybody else’ would want to buy.

  • Want a new phone? Will it be the iPhone# or the Samsung __?
  • Want to watch a movie? Which of the 15 or so designated screening movies will you go to see?
  • Want a new game? Which one of the 20 or so new games will you get? (Or will you ‘settle’ for a cheap second hand game from the back of the store…)
  • Want a book to read? How about this best-seller (quality NOT guaranteed, as ’50 Shades of Grey’ demonstrated) that everybody else is reading?
  • Want to buy a new album? Which of the Top 40 albums are you going to get?

And sure, for every hundred or thousand people there will be a handful who don’t live within these constraints, but the fact still remains that if someone iconic, famous and wealthy were to announce something stupid tomorrow, such as they swore by having bamboo handbags in their wardrobe, within a month every reputable high street retailer would be selling cheap knock-offs of bamboo handbags, and sure enough, people would be buying them.

…So, still think we’re free?

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