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    Programmed

    We are so programmed to think in a certain way, behave in a certain way, feel in a certain way. We have lots of Desi culture programmabilities to fall back on every time we need to make a decision or live our lives. True that we might make the same decision even without such a programmability, but that's not the point.

    I don't really want this to turn into some sort of individual freedom kind of discussion but there is a lot thoughtlessness involved in programming us.

    Would I ever be taking a daring step like, say, starting my landscaping business at the age of 50 just because my job does not inspire me anymore even though I'd be making tons of money? Even though kids are all grown up, going to school, and can take care of themselves?

    We have no idea what to do with our lives once we have achieved what we aspired for, do we? It's always about education, marriage, kids, and then... well, 'then' is such a blank spot.

    #2
    >>We have no idea what to do with our lives once we have achieved what we aspired for, do we? It's always about education, marriage, kids, and then... well, 'then' is such a blank spot.<<

    Hov, after kids we can interfere in our kidís lives, and their kids lives etc etc. No seriously youíre right apart from being so íwell programmedí (not necessarily a bad thing) we do lack the concept of ídare to do moreí, or what to do when youíve done íeverythingí? I guess till now our societyís (desi society in general) biggest concern has been íhow do we survive this moment?í Thinking about new adventures and possibilities is risky and luxury for most of our ppl. I guess there is so much struggle and constant fight in our common manís life that there is no time to think like this.

    Most of our ppl are working to earn a living and not because their job is helping them grow Ė thatís just an extra plus if it happens, whereas not many of us would accept a job that just gave us a paycheck at the end of the month and nothing more. Thatís coz economically we are more secure today, we donít survive each day, we live and enjoy life in a different way.

    I donít think this programming was thoughtless, it was necessary, however not updating our programs would be thoughtless, and youíd do that coz now youíre programmed to think differently So youíll adjust both programs so they donít create a mess in your head. Your priorities change with time, but for some ppl time never changes.

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      #3
      But Roman, do we always have to go for 'more'? What we have achieved might not be enough, but if it fulfills our current needs, why get involved in a venture that might or might not turn in our favor?
      I think one cultural aspect involved here that keeps us from taking a detour in life is involvement in our kids lives, like Saba mentioned above. Western culture doesnt call for parents to 'save' their money so their kids can have a better life after them, and hence, they are much more prone to squandering their life savings on a trip around the world, or a trip to the Vegas strip. Whereas parents in our eastern culture will always think about their kids, even if their kids are making more than they themselves. And if not the kids, grandkids. We are culturally programmed not to step into anything unorthodox even at age 20, let alone at age 50. In Pakistan, the question asked of a kid who just matriculated is, will u be studying pre-medicine or pre-engineering? And if the answer is anything different than these two, its met with ooohs and aaahs.

      But if u do decide to take up landscaping at 50, could u do my yard? cause i will have one by then inshallah

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        #4
        Sabah,

        I agree to the reasons you mentioned on why it's so. However, I still think bringing us up was a thoughtless process. It was thoughtless towards our selves, the person we are, the individuals we were going to be. Yes, it was caring and for our own (perceived by our parents) benefit to be like that, but mainly it was all about Career and kids.

        There was so much thoughtlessness involved in seeing if what they perceived well would make us happy or not.... or even more importantly, if that's all happiness is about?

        I think in our culture, the teachings we receive from older generation are more prescribing and stringently outlined. And that's what our programmability is. The measures of personal success are very limited and wrapped up in a box.

        Updating the program is nearly impossible for most individuals. What we are is how we grew up. There are deviations, but not drastic and frequent. This is so because we have developed a certain social instinct to survive based on our upbringing and we always fall back on that instinct whenever there is a chance to.

        Akif,

        No, we don't have to go for more. We can be content with our present means and current needs but the point is does that happen because of our programmibility or our own spurs of whims or level of aspirations?

        Before I came to US, I went to an academy for few months for my masters in English literature because I liked it. My aspirations were totally different from my cousins of same age groups.

        Academically, I have always been a little careless person so never worked hard during my F.Sc. While I had cousins who were studying to become Engineers or Doctors, I was doing something that was sorta out of way. Whenever there would be sort of family talk on the topic, I'd always be mentioned as 'oh, he isn't really doing anything'. I still hear this once in while that it was good that I got the opportunity to come to US otherwise 'I wasn't really doing anything in Pakistan'. And this always piss me off. Why do people always measure your success in terms of what they feel is the appropriate scale? And they always try to program you according to their scale as well?

        BTW, don't worry, even if I won't take up on a landscaping business opportunity, I would still be glad to do your yard.

        Comment


          #5
          >>I still think bringing us up was a thoughtless process. It was thoughtless towards our selves, the person we are, the individuals we were going to be. <<

          Aha so thatís what you meant, yes I agree that you rarely see a different or uniquely programmed individual in our circle, as we all have or have had same basic goals. I agree that our programming does not allow us to polish individual qualities, so as Akif mentioned most desis are, or used to be, in selected fields, docís engineers etc. Being a shoemaker for instance is not good, or so our programming tells us. Not be cause itís a bad job, but because it doesnít give you much, economically. So yeah now we agree

          Iím not sure that it was so thoughtless though, our elders saw any new trend as a challenge and risky Ė so in a way, it was and still is their way to protect us against risks or failures. In some parts of Pak, your reading skills and philosophical mind earns you no respect at all, are you physically strong enough to protect your family and feed them, youíre perfect, so in those areas, if you give birth to Einstein, heís parents would most defiantly try to re-program him.

          >>There was so much thoughtlessness involved in seeing if what they perceived well would make us happy or not.... or even more importantly, if that's all happiness is about? <<

          Iím sure youíve heard about those ahem moti ladies, who say being big means youíre happy. You rarely hear that today, why? Coz once we focused on food and day to day survival, were you able to do that, youíd be happy. Now our definition of happiness has changed Ė I still might think that life is about eating a lot, while youíd have different view on this. For me happiness and peace go hand in hand. Itís about having control over my own life (at least), knowing what I want and that Iím moving towards my own goals. Itís about being able to define goals, have the freedom to think and act as an individual. I donít think we have known the concept of individuals or personal goals before.

          >>The measures of personal success are very limited and wrapped up in a box. <<
          Yeah, a job has to earn you a lot of respect; you should have at least a few helpers, a big house (meaning good salary). Now a lot of good connections as well. Where I come from respectful job is very important

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