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Do As I Say, Not As I Do

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By Todd Hayen, Phd

Do as I say, not as I do
Do as I say, not as I do
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"Because I'm your mother (or father)!" All of us have heard that exclamation at some point in our childhood, and more likely more than once.

Or, "Do as I say, not as I do" -- that one is a bit more toxic and typically should be avoided by enlightened parents.

We should all learn by example, not necessarily by firm, rigid, and seemingly irrational demands. We all were children at one time after all -- in many ways truly incapable of knowing what is best for us and not fully aware of the "why" our behavior could be dangerous or not beneficial. But that was then, this is now, we are not a child anymore, so why are we treated like one by societal authority? -- politicians, police, world leaders, etc.? Good question.

One answer could be because often we do, as a whole, and as adults, act as if we cannot think for ourselves. We've heard this recently when we are admonished for not "thinking critically" or only listening to the mainstream media or narrative without investigating deeper into a situation. We behave like sheep, just following the furry backside in front of us. Right off the cliff.

Why is that? The answer to that question is beyond the scope of this article, yet it is relevant. I would say it is partially due to deficiencies in education, parenting, and also through the conscious, and unconscious, agenda of the culture. If we are treated like children, typically, from a psychological perspective, we will tend to act like children. Children are lower in the power spectrum, and in a class of their own, and the parents are higher, in a class of their own.

This reflects the infantilization of society. In the context of this article, the parents are represented by government authority, the children are the rest of us. We wait for the word from the parent before we make decisions, we wait for the reassurance from the parent before we take action, and anything that opposes the parent is interpreted as the enemy, the danger, and we lash out against it. Not all of us are like this, of course -- and you know who I am talking about.

But just like real children, we do not expect our parents to do themselves the very thing that we are told not to do (there are exceptions with real children, but remember, we aren't supposed to be like children anymore). The people in our communities that seem to be acting more like children and idolizing their parents (the government) will have a difficult time at first realizing that their parents are not doing as they tell us to do, but once they do realize it, things won't go well.

Psychologically speaking this is all a power play -- absolute power, corrupts absolutely.

It is human nature to exploit power, that is why in recent years (the past 200 or so?) people have made an effort to declare a "no no" to establishing totalitarian regimes. The world has sort of learned (the hard way) that totalitarianism is a bad thing. But some people keep on trying -- as we are seeing now, and many people keep letting it happen.

Those in power have a tendency to do what they can to claim their position of power, and often as a result, they behave in odd ways -- like publicly claiming "look at me, I'm in a special class, the rules I just made don't apply to me, only to you."

We see this clearly from the results of the famous Stanford Prison Experiment where hungry (for cash) University students played either prisoners or prison guards at a simulated prison ward tucked away in a Stanford University basement.

The "guards" transcended above the prisoners and, needless to say, became quite corrupt and followed a different set of "rules" or standards.

We also see, through the study of the Stockholm Syndrome, that the perceived sheep, or children, or prisoners, create a rather odd protective bond with their captors. We see a similar behavior in cults between the members and the leader of the cult where he or she can do no wrong and is always perceived as the one who will save the rest -- will take care of them and never hurt them.

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Republished from OffGuardian.  OffGuardian was launched in February 2015 and takes its name from the fact its founders had all been censored on and/or banned from the Guardian's 'Comment is Free' sections.

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