Living on Remote Control


In our society, every person is supposed to operate under a strangely assumed “law of purpose”. That means we expect everything to be useful, effective and serving an important purpose – which in turns validates us as “responsible beings”. Not doing anything – or creating anything without purpose strikes us as a “waste of time”, almost a sacrilege.


The reason behind this attitude is the deeply ingrained idea of Judeo-Christian tradition: a (male) God has created us in “his” image and we are supposed to “work for him” to be worthy. Whatever we do, we’re supposed to do it for God, claim the current mainstream religions. To me, this paradigm is worth questioning.


The value of our life and its actions cannot be “measured” by how much we make God happy. If this would truly be the only accepted purpose, we all wanted to become nuns and priests. So, who sets the standard for what makes a worthy, valuable life? Our contribution to the family in cash? Our contribution to the arts or world peace? Our own happiness? (In this case, no one but ourselves can value the “success level” of our life. Is a happy, psychotic killer a success by those standards? Is an unhappy, financially successful mafia boss a “success”. What constitutes success and thereby a worthy life – and who says so? God? The Bank? Your teacher? Your spouse? – or you, yourself?


In so many aspects of our lives, the Judeo-Christian concept encourages us to separate ourselves from our own judgments and emotions: We go on holidays not to enjoy, but to return refreshed, able to work more effectively. We have sex to make babies, not to feel lust. We work to pay bills and make ends meet, not to have fun and learn. Even the deepest need in all humans, “to play”, is only socially acceptable if it generates sales (you better buy expensive equipment!) and is thereby good for the economy. When do we ever get to be or do what we feel like??


Sometimes I wonder just how much we are aware of the absurd matrix, the remote control we are operating under – how much we have given up any idea of freedom to live our lives according to our own bidding – independently from constant exterior validation.