The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get used to the latter.
EPISODE ONE HUNDRED FORTY NINE: CONDITION ME!!!
This isn’t about air conditioners, though I love the cool better than the heat.
This isn’t about the conditioner that you may put in your hair. If you use it, great. I hate it. It makes my hair feel nasty. Nasty clean, but nasty all the same.
This is more in line with what Ivan Pavlov had experimented with.
It’s a simple thing. You take a dog and you ring a bell every time it eats. You do this a while and then when you ring the bell, the dog automatically thinks it’s going to eat. That causes the dog to salivate. There you go. Simple. The dog has been conditioned.
I believe we all do this to ourselves. We condition ourselves to think certain thoughts and act in certain ways for various reasons. Environment, parental involvement, peer involvement, society involvement (both physically interacting or at arm’s length as in social media) with people we don’t know and those that we do, are all factors on how we condition ourselves.
We see something that is acceptable and we condition ourselves accordingly. Most people want to be accepted by others and change things about us that seems… odd or different.
Guess what? We ALL do it. Every. Single. Person.
Remember the movie Dead Poets Society? Of course, you do. There is a classic scene where Mr. Keating (Robin Williams) has his students outside in a courtyard and has there of them walk around it together. They all start off on their own stride and suddenly if, by magic, they start to walk together in a uniform march. One foot in front of the other. Then the others start to clap in unison to encourage the march. Step, clap. Step, clap. Step, clap. They had conditioned themselves to join the tribe and act as one so they didn’t seem abnormal or… odd or different.
Mr. Keating makes this point. He also states that artists much break those kinds of feelings and be one’s own self. He calls it conformity.
I believe we are conditioned to conform.
The conditioning starts at an early age. Most of us are conditioned to be ‘one of the crowd’. We are taught to ‘not act silly’ and to ‘grow up’. We are taught to be versions of our parents, our peers, our guardians, in hopes that we can ‘fit in’ with everybody else.
That sounds really, really, REALLY boring.
Now, I’m not saying that it’s not a good thing to join a club or be part of a pack of friends where you all fit together and like the same things. I’m not saying that at all. What I’m saying is that you need to condition yourself to think for yourself. When a situation arises that you feel uncomfortable with or it sends your ‘spidey-senses’ tingling and it feels completely wrong, you MUST take a stand, even if it brings you woe and you become shunned by the group. You must know when to break away from the group and lone wolf it if you need to.
Speaking for somebody that was born in the very early seventies and grew up in the eighties, that kind of conditioning wasn’t in high regard. Most were taught the same things and told to be a certain way. I didn’t have parents that absorbed the sixties like some parents. I had older parents, both born in the 1930s and they were raised a different way. Not a worse way, just different. They were taught to be a certain way and they passed that way on to their children. That’s how it worked.
As a grew older, I started to see differences in how I was raised and how others were raised. Some had stricter parents and some had more flexible ones. I had friends that weren’t allowed to date until they were eighteen and I had other friends that were allowed to drink beer as a teenager. My first drink was at a friends house that I was spending the night with. His mom made me a strawberry daiquiri. I thought it was just a strawberry slushy. Later I started to get dizzy and feeling so sick, I had to call my mom to come to get me. I didn’t figure it out until much later, in my twenties, that I had what I had. My friend was allowed to have that but only when he was at home and under parental supervision. Different conditioning.
As a parent now, for more than seventeen years, I have seen my own type of conditioning with my daughter. I started off being the typical dad. In my defense, most first parents are like that. They tend to be over-protective with everything. The grip on their child can become too tight. Then I started to let the grip loosen as time went on. I was seeing how she was and figuring out how I really wanted her to be.
I wanted her to be exactly the way she wanted to be. That requires not pushing and pushing at the same time. You want them to find the things they love and once they do, push them in that direction when they need it.
OK, conditioning can be a good thing if used correctly. If you condition your children and yourself to be open, flexible, understanding, caring, thoughtful, positive (as much as possible), and to seek knowledge, then it’s the best kind. Conditioning them or yourself to be the opposite of those things are absolutely the wrong thing to do. That can also go against the grain of a lot of people. I see people every day seek to invoke negativity in everything they see and nothing you do or say will make a difference.
These are things that we must not condition ourselves to be like. Or to promote it. Or to pass it on to our children. You have to let them be exactly who they want to be, who they need to be.
Isn’t that a good condition to have?
So, go wash your hair, sit in the cool air, and condition yourself… correctly.
-Loyd Elmore Jr
May 17th, 2019
I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me.