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Where the Wild Things Are

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Where the Wild Things Are

The dominator enforces control, instilling obedience to his commands from the top (dominator) to the bottom (dog), or top down.  Come.  Sit.  Lie down.  This is ALWAYS backed up by a system of reward and punishment, one punishment being the withdrawal of approval/affection/love.  Dogs are animals who naturally travel in packs.  They want to belong.  The withdrawal of love devastates them.

Using this insidious psychological manipulation, of course for the dog's own good and the dominator's pride and convenience, the basic repertoire of commands is expanded in an INVERTED pyramid, as more, and more intricate orders/commands are applied on top the original commands until the dog can find a person trapped by an avalanche, be the eyes for the blind, detect cancer, sniff out drugs and explosives, protect police and soldiers and terrorize the prisoners at Abu Ghraib.  They are just following orders, all for love and approval and in an effort to avoid the pain of the withdrawal of love and/or abandonment. They are the willing, conditioned instruments of the dominator, the perfect manifestation of Stockholm Syndrome.

Why should it work any differently with human babies as opposed to puppies, albeit by an even more insidious psychological acculturation due to the complexity of the child's human psychology itself.  Basic control, obedience, however, is achieved in exactly the same way, administered by the CHILD'S OWN PARENTS, on whom the child depends for its very life, and who themselves have been indoctrinated in the same subtle, sadistic and manipulative manner. 

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It begins with parental demands, at first backed up only by disapproval and the withdrawal of affection.  Not many parents stoop to corporal punishment of infants.  The child learns to sleep through the night, is toilet trained, learns to speak and to sit in a high chair, eat with a spoon and not throw food all over the kitchen - to the parents' insufferable pride and self-centered convenience.

As the infant becomes a toddler, parental demands increase, and may now be backed up with force and the use of more sophisticated punishments like "time out" and the denial of sweets or toys, or more blatant, verbally-administered demonstrations of the withdrawal of approval, e.g. love, which to the helpless, totally dependent child signals abandonment.  Remember, the child's VERY LIFE is dependent on the continued approval of the all-powerful parent.  In addition, that approval is often THE ONLY REWARD for good behavior, or virtue, which is supposedly its own reward.

The child will be further, and more complexly conditioned as he grows, and in the process inculcate obedience into the very fiber of his being, as second nature, an involuntary reaction, an almost instinctual genuflection to power and authority.  And while this is going on, the child is almost invariably introduced to the big, punishing, patriarchal talking head in the sky who will fry him for eternity if he does not obey.  The big talking head reinforces the indoctrination the parents have been administering from birth.  The big talking head knows all, sees all and is the final arbiter of good and evil, which will be transplanted, along with parental proscriptions, into the child as a terrible, punishing part of his superego, and supplant natural conscience, that "little voice" that tells you when you're doing something wrong.  This transplant will serve too direct the desired action in the child for his entire life and condition him to "eyes down" obeisance in the presence of perceived authority.  In addition, the child is relieved of the burden of independent, deliberate thought, since right and wrong has been predetermined by the big talking head.  This process, when successful, transfers all semblance of self-authority, of conscience, of weighted thought to an entity outside the sovereignty of the child's unalienable right to decide for himself.  The sovereignty of self has been transferred to the dominator, first in the form of the parents, then to a religion instilled into those parents in the self-same, near inescapable way.

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As the child moves on to "phase three" of being "civilized", he is sent to school.  Sit down.  Shut up.  Raise your hand and ask permission.  SALUTE THE FLAG.  So to blind obedience and the adoption of an outside authority's pre-selected, no-thought-needed method for determining right from wrong is added jingoistic nationalism, my country right or wrong.  Voila!  And why wouldn't the child accept this?  This is, in fact, one of the ends of which this conditioning is the means - an obedient, unthinking instrument, much like the dog, who will protect, to the point of his own death, the civilization into which it was civilized.

And in the meantime, ALL THROUGH THIS PROCESS, the child has been conditioned to violate those very same bonds of approval and love on which he is so dependent by the betrayal of "the other" in the form of the beloved animals initially used to teach him not only to speak, but to read - those unique tools of human existence.  What does the cow say?  C is for cow.  C-O-W spells cow.  Read the word "cow."

At the same time the child is exploring the bonds of friendship and loyalty with a dog or a cat, using many other animal friends to learn to speak and read, as examples of moral behavior via fairy tales, Aesop's fables, etc, he is chowing down on that same, doe-eyed friendly cow in the form of hamburgers.  When this becomes apparent it must be denied and hidden, repressed and forbidden from discussion.  Ask an adult if he knows how chickens and cows are "processed" in slaughter houses.  You'll either hear the denial that that's just the way things are, they're "only" animals, we "have" to eat meat or they'll plead "Don't tell me about it.  I don't want to know."  As long as they don't THINK they can ignore the atrocity and the agony of the slaughter they continue to consume.

AND THIS IS SUPREMELY USEFUL TO EMPIRE.

Children also care for animals in farm programs like 4-H.  They shampoo them, feed, groom and name them.  They raise them as if they were their own babies.  Then they're told they have to betray them, selling them for slaughter to the highest bidder, but that they can take comfort in the money they'll earn from it.  The child knows this is betrayal, a shameful act that goes against any definition of friendship and loyalty.  But the natural conscience will be denied, stuffed down deep inside in an ever-evaporating oasis of personal integrity, which is itself, anathema to capitalism.  And since obedience has already been instilled, it is now not only permissible, but laudable to betray friendship and loyalty for money - which will eventually merge with the big talking head and become god itself.

Many children are also given high-powered weapons and sent out into the woods to hunt down and kill their essentially defenseless animal friends, cutting off their heads as trophies and having communicated to them, if they are boys, that this is somehow the essence of masculinity.  This betrayal of "the other" will come in very handy in places like Iraq and Afghanistan when turned on "others" demonized especially for the occasion.  They can even work with their fellow indoctrinees, dogs.

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Underneath all this domination and indoctrination by parents, religion and schools, and the usurpation of the unalienable sovereignty of self achieved by instilling obedience to the point of obeisance - especially in relation to the big talking head - and the outsourcing of morality to an outside authority, swirls an ugly river of advertising propaganda in the service of profit-seeking uber alles transnational corporations which hire the best minds in the field of human psychology to create psy ops designed to BRAND children for life. 

There is a TV channel strictly for babies.  It's on 24 hours a day.  Children believe the blue Ford oval is part of Blue's Clues.  Every sugar-laden cereal on the supermarket shelf is flogged by a co-opted animal friend.  Don't even start to tell me that the market is consumer driven.  If corporations must CREATE a need for their product and slavishly spend billions of dollars a year to convince people they want it, the market is not driven by needs naturally arising within consumers, who used to be citizens, but by the needs of the corporations themselves, in an effort to drive former citizens, like cattle, right where they want them, to the cash register.

So, how much of the individual is left for himself after parents, religion, schools, nationalism and consumerism have their way with him?   80%?  50%?  20%?

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Vi's works appear widely both in print and online. She conducts Poetry Workshops and gives readings in Central New York. Her latest chapbook is "Sine Qua Non Antiques (an Arcanum of History, Geography and Treachery).

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