What I was programmed for


Personality (given), circumstance (given), culture and religion (both given) programmed me to a great extent* to, at least initially as an adult, not pursue material gain.

What was I programmed for? “God”, “The Truth”, “Stay on the Right Path”, play your part in helping people “see the light”. The pursuit of material comfort, money and status was of lesser importance. Not my choice, mind you, but how I was programmed. Or, I certainly had a choice, like when the reverend tells you to choose between Jesus or Satan when you’re sixteen years old. It’s a choice, all right.

I say that initially personality, circumstance, culture and religion programmed me – or as one religious leader loved to say, compelled me – to do certain things and not others, because eventually I did try harder and harder to make money, and I spent more and more time on it. But, what was my training for it? Did I learn about investments at school? Was I exposed to successful ventures at home as a teenager or young adult? No, and no. What I was exposed to was parents who worked themselves into a stupor to make enough money to pay rent and school fees, and to buy food and clothing and other necessities, but if “God” decided “he” wanted to test you to see how you would respond in a certain situation, “he” simply rolled a stone in your path and then you stumbled. That was my education. That was what I was exposed to.

Of course, I have been deprogramming myself for years. But let’s not imagine we grow up in a vacuum. Yes, you move on and you improve yourself and your life despite psychological stones that had been rolled in your path when your brain and personality were still taking shape. But let’s not imagine who you were as a teenager did not influence how you thought when you crossed over into adulthood, and that decisions you had made then don’t still have an impact on your life twenty years later.

* I know “to a large extent” is a weasel phrase, but we are talking about indoctrination and the influence of the environment on the psyche here – not something you can measure like ingredients for a cake.

[I seem bothered in this text, and in a few other pieces before this one, and after this one. Actually, I was. And I’m not in the habit of discarding notes I wrote in a bad mood when I feel better. They are just as much part of my truth as notes where I’m positive and happy.]