For the last week or so I have been asking many friends a weird question. When you are eating food that needs to be cut, do you cut with your dominant hand, then put the knife down, take the fork in that hand and then take a bite -or- do you hold the cut with your dominant hand and eat with the fork in your other hand so that you never have to put down either utensil? The answers were split 50/50. I then went on to ask them WHY they eat this particular way. Some could actually give reasons.
Believe it or not, this is much deeper than it seems.
The other day I went to Sizzler and while I was having a Double Malibu Chicken I realized that I was cutting with my right hand and eating with my left hand. Suddenly I became very self-conscious, like I was being barbaric. I was able to trace this emotion back to a single memory of when I was a child. I was at the dinner table eating in the same manner and my mother yelled "Don't do that!" At that time it really shocked the shit out of me, like I was committing the worst sin one could imagine and it burned into my brain at that very instant to never eat that way. The thing is, I now recall that she wasn't yelling at me, she was yelling at one of my sisters, but the imprinting was still deep within me.
Why does any of this matter? It matters because most people are impressionable -- this is why advertising works -- but there are short moments that occur at random times when we are not only impressionable but completely subconsciously programmable down to the point where we can be programmed into self-destruction.
In my own case I was programmed to believe that praying for my own needs was selfish. It was my duty to pray for the needs of everyone else and then if I was worthy enough then there would most certainly be people praying for my needs. I think I'll call it "socialized prayer." The problem is that when there were troubles in my life I subconsciously took to it mean that I was not worthy.
As i wrote about in my blog entry of a few days ago, I was also programmed to believe that it was better to die than to say anything that would hurt another individuals feelings. I'm not talking about insulting people or name calling, but rather not doing or saying anything could even help someone become a better person because it would be telling them at the moment that they were doing something wrong which might hurt their feelings. This was at the subconscious level. I didn't think about it, it is just who I was. Rather than possibly hurt someone, I kept the hurt in me to protect them and I was ultimately prepared to sacrifice myself to "save them." Again, this is not about being a martyr or hero, it was as instinctual as a mother bear protecting her cubs. She doesn't think about it, she just does it.
If you're still reading this, you no longer need to worry for me or think I am still one fucked up dude. I was, but now I am not. I am wide awake now and acutely aware of the exact moments these things were ingrained into my psyche and I have purged them. They will not repeat.
I know for some it may sound too easy but all of my life I have always been able to instantly reject preconceived notions and ideas if I am presented with enough supportive evidence to the contrary. My early Christianity tried to tell me that the world is only black and white but now I am able to see all they grays (no, not the alien ones.)