by Jinryu

I tend to compartmentalise ideas because it’s convenient.  A lot of details sometimes get forgotten in the process though.

Over the past few years, one of the things I’ve observed is that mentality is infectious.  I use the word “infectious” but I could probably say something like “conductive” or “polarising,” in the sense that when X and Y bump together, there is the possibility that X converts Y to become a whole lot like itself.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be a negative thing.

It’s not about X trying to convince Y of anything particular– a lot of this goes on subconsciously.

It could be anything like beleiving in the same religion as people in your neighborhood.  It could also be inheriting low-self esteem because of your parents unconscious projection of self-dissapointment down the family tree.  It could also be the reason why you think guns are a good/bad idea on the streets. -=-=-=-=-=-=-

Take the example of marketing.  What’s the difference between a Prada bag and a generic Walmart one?  If two of them were in front of you, labelled, with similar designs and funcitons, which one would you reach for?

Even if you weren’t going to grab the Prada bag just because you knew you could resell it for tons of cash or something (assuming you, like I, would have no use for it), you’d probably just instinctively reach for the Prada bag.

The “value” of that bag is not something you’re born knowing– it’s conditioning.  The idea that certain things have value is, in itself, infectious– it spreads around.  Popular ideas spread better than ideas that are not popular.


The problem with ideas is that they’re not just fashion accessories that you can wear and discard with the times– some ideas go to the very root of our personalities.  Depending on how we’re raised and the environments we grow up on, there is the possibility that the paradigms of our environments very firmly root themselves in the foundations of our own thinkings.

What I’m addressing, in particular, are issues relating to our ideas of self-worth, love, and place in society.

This goes to a basic nature or nurture debate I suppose– but I’m not so deterministic that I think that nobody can change.  Simply,  I think that there are a lot more factors than people are often aware of, and that knowing of these factors helps to not only understand peoples’ behaviours better.  Knowing what we need to know more about improves our chances of changing our relationships with people for the better.

We never decided how much a Prada bag was worth– someone set a price, and built up an image and a story of what we could be like if we had that bag.

Similarly– we usually don’t know how much we’re worth.  People just tell you.  And very often, we take it.

Parenting is one of the strongest forms of indoctrination there is out there.  Parents can be great, or they can be terrible, or they can be both at once.    People speak of having issues with their parents, or having issues as parents, as if it is something exceptional– it’s not.  The fact is, parents are people, and people *all* have issues.

The first step is to realise that a lot of the issues that we have are because of issues our parents had– and thus, parents blaming the children for this is a multifacted problem.

  • Parents cannot blame their kids for what is essentially the parent’s failure to raise a child they way the parents want to raise them. This a logical disconnect if the parents are blaming the kids for something that is the parents’ fault.
  • Parents, when they are bad to their kids, are often displacing their frustration at their own inadequacy on the kids.  Obviously, this is unfair.  But more importantly, the kids often stop questioning why they are being punished– and then the abuse becomes a self-perpetuating control mechanism that defines the relationship.  The kid responds to the abuse, which gives control to the parent by effectively dumping the responsibility of correction on the child instead of the parent assuming responsibility for the parent.  A kid often is too young to properly parent himself– so results are quite poor, which leads to more abuse.
  • Kids are made or broken on whether or not they have enough foundational self-confidence to make lives of their own.  This basically means that they need to have a certain amount of strength to just be their own people and start ignoring parents’ bullshit.




There are a few things that I’m getting at.

  • Whenever you “know” something, ask yourself why you know it.
  • Whenever you find that you think you know something because they told you, ask yourself (or ask them!) why they know it.



The kinds of questions I’ve dealt with in my own head range from all amounts of topics, and the process of really answering these questions for myself have gotten me in the habit of seeing my relationship with society a lot more clearly. Some of the questions may seem nuts– but the whole point is, the more for granted I assume an answer to be, the more important it is for me determine if it’s really what I believe or not.

As a basic rule, even if people might tell me what I’m worth, I never assume they’re right, whether I think they’re under-estimating or over-estimating me.