Our lives in a cage

We are all slaves to the routines of our ancestors. We eat at set hours, we work at set hours, and we watch television at set hours. We imprison ourselves in our set ways because for the most part, we choose to not break free.

We submit to living our lives in the cage that society puts us in. We know it. We just try to make our cage as comfortable as possible. We make this decision consciously, based on information provided by our unconscious, based on learned fears. What else are we to do? We have to eat, to advance our careers, to interact with those that we surround ourselves with.

The 2008 French film ‘A L’Aventure’ explores this in efficient detail. It tells us that the way we see things is pre-digested. What we perceive is unconsciously orientated by acquired knowledge, which conceals certain truths, and forces us into a dreary existence.  In this example from the film, the young woman Sandrine is talking with her mother about her decision to leave her boyfriend and embark on a journey of self-discovery:

Sandrine: “I’m practicing freedom… Your respectable straightjacket is not for me”.

Mother: “Don’t get on your high horse… It’s hard not living like other people… You’ll learn that at your expense”.

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The 2011 American film ‘Moneyball’ also looks into behaving out of habit, both our own habits and the habits of those who came before us. It examines how perceived bias is accepted as truth.  We imprison our thoughts and behaviours in the cages of our ancestors. Paul DePodesta, whose work in baseball is the basis of the book and film ‘Moneyball’, asks ‘The Naive Question’: “If we weren’t already doing it this way, is this the way we would start?”

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