Who decided that at 18 years old we are an adult? Who decided that the punishment for breaking the law is being locked away from society? And who decided that Australians must drive on the left and Americans the right? It can’t just have happened. And it didn’t. A leader of some form somewhere, sometime, made this decision as law, as truth, and because of his immense power it still remains and is accepted as fact. Leaders can range in status and power, their only prerequisite is they have someone willing to follows. A parent, teacher, friend, prime minister, pop star, they all count, because they all have the ability to change our views, even things that are known to be truths, that are known to be reality. Each with its own weapon of choice, either by machine gunning us with other lies disguised as truth or by using the relationship and trust we have for them to blackmail us into belief. Every conversation, every word of jest, every glance in the wrong direction can slowly but surely be working away at our truths, trying to convert us to their own constructed reality, which meanwhile is being altered and changed by the leaders in their own life. A scary viscous circle, but who’s at the head of it?
From the age of 0 to 18 your parents legally hold responsibility and power over you. They have the legal ability to make decisions for you, whether good or bad. As a young child you are most susceptible to influence, your parents beliefs become your own and their truths become your truths. For the same reason that most child want to marry their mum or dad at some stage, they also want to take on everything about their parents, to be exactly like them, for the reason alone that that’s all they’ve ever known. Regardless of what their parents think or believe, the child has never known anything else so by default accepts the truths of the parents. As shown in Leunig’s piece “??”, his idea of god has never to this day changed due to his early encounter when his dad told him of Jesus, and his idea of religion has remained unchanged. But a parent’s role extends from just their passing on of ideas and beliefs, they also play a crucial role in protecting a child from unhealthy beliefs and relationships. Kim Noble a lady, who now suffers from DIDs, was not protected when she was young and the result, life changing. At an age no older than 2 she was abused, and to cope with it her mind split into many different personalities hiding the truth away. To this day aged 46, many of Kim’s personalities refuse to accept that this event ever occurred, refuse to accept the reality to protect her mind from the irreversible pain. Many of her personalities will never know the truth, due to the power that her abuser misused when she was a child, changing her ability to accept reality forever. When being drilled from such a young age of a certain truth it is very hard for a fragile child’s heart to believe anything else, or even dare question it, for if it was false they would be left with nothing in exchange. At the age of around 10 most children are told the dreadful truth that, Santa does not actually exist, but it’s not the presents they are afraid of losing only, it is their identity and reality and everything they have believed to be truth is all of a sudden questioned, leaving them unsure of what they can now trust in. If Santa is a lie then how can we know that everything else our parents have told us is not also a made up story? Our parents are no longer a reliable source and instead we look to other external forces to confirm our ideas, beliefs and reality.
The quickest easiest source or reassurance which most desperate teenagers turn to is the front of a magazine. There a flawless girl no older than 18 reveals all and tells you of the necessity to be beautiful, and this becomes your new reality. Your worth is no longer is measured in how many times mummy and daddy tells you that you’re beautiful, no its measured in your bra size, your shoulder width, your weight, your height and the length of suitors which line up for you. Like the man in the Plato’s cave analogy, when he first leaves the safety of his cave and the truths which the shadows reveal to him, he struggles to look at the sun, he struggles at the blinding new reality which he sees before him with is no longer simple 2D reflections it is now a wide vast world of moving changing objects, which sound and look completely different. That brand new world is the media. It is unavoidable, it’s the tv, it’s the billboards, its every Tom, Dick and harry that walks around promoting its propaganda. And its effect; permanent. But what’s the other option? You can refuse it, you can run back into Plato’s cave and be satisfied with your small world, which you were so happily raised in but there are consequences for that option to. In the same way the man returned to his cave, to his old reality and was punished, killed so will you. While the punishment for unattractiveness is not physical death it is instead a slow eating cancer which consumes you form the inside out, a painful cutting rejection, taking your soul and joy, and when they’re gone you have no real reason left to live and you just give up. Leunig discusses this usually unspoken 11th commandment which states “thou shalt not be attractive (explore more).” Leunig explores all aspects of attractiveness, the daily fight it is to walk pass the billboards which scream out your unworthiness and the continuous pressure to be great, not just average. The media’s technique is to machine gun us with their lies until each way we look we see nothing else, and we must in the end accept their reality.
Often we age though, and the images in the media of children, no older than our own, become suddenly irrelevant and their constraining chains which dragged us down are broken and for once we get to see the world clearly. Or so we should. There is always going to be someone who holds power over us, someone who has the power to significantly change our lives. That someone is called the government. By name these people are our leaders and therefore hold power over us all. They can take our money, take our house, and take away our freedom. In the way that Hitler so clearly did to the Jewish. But the scary thing with the holocaust was not the sick mind of Hitler himself but the dangerous amount of power that he had over his people to be able to convince them that the murder of millions of people would create a better world. How could a theory so opposed by natural human kindness be spread so quickly throughout the country? Like the bubonic plague this ideal spread quickly into people’s minds, replacing their ideas of right and wrong with a completely different set of morals, and like the plague no vaccine strong enough to cure. But the government’s persuasion is not always as obvious. It can be seen in the way they have slowly brainwashed us over the years to view war as a victory, as something that each year we should remember with pride. That the soldiers should be praised for their actions and meanwhile the men, called “chicken-hawks” who stayed home to hold families and communities together, to fight for peace, were brushed under the carpet like any other worthless piece of dirt. Why is the government so selfish? Why does the government care only for power? And to save themselves from the guilt of sending soldiers off to die, they have slowly, but surely, convinced the public that each year we should wake early to attend the dawn service to remind that it was for peace that all these deaths occurred, and that it was alright because it was a long time ago anyway.