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How to Live Outside the Box

Have you ever stopped to think about how much of your life is just a matter of following predetermined rules, which you have learned from your parents, your culture and your education?

Have you ever desired to step outside of that "box" and become a truly autonomous individual?

Well, I can tell you, it's a lot harder than you think.

Just consider some of the things you may want to question, and therefore may want to discard, in the process of freeing yourself from the shackles of various pre-programmed auto-beliefs.

Education: A better term for this would be brainwashing. And this accusation is supported by the fact the whole education system is controlled by the state, and that they won't let go of such control.

My own children are long grown up. But if I was starting over, I'd seriously consider not sending them to school at all!

Seriously, I think the idea that children should be "locked up" in a government-controlled environment from the time they are five (or earlier) is really scary.

Who said this type of education is necessary anyway? Is there any scientific proof this stilted process is any better than simply learning the basics, then being encouraged to follow your own desires and interests from then on?

I know my own father, in Scotland, left school at 14. And yet, he was much more literate than most 20 year olds today - in the sense he had a full grasp of the English language and a fully competent understanding of mathematics. He was equipped for life at 14 - and thereafter, his "education" consisted in following his own dreams, and learning what he wanted to learn.

In my book, a basic education should be able to stop at around 7 years old - to be followed by encouragement to learn that which is of interest. In other words, to follow one's passion. As I'm sure you know, when you have a passion or keen interest, it's completely natural, and enjoyable to learn about it.

"But", I hear you say, "what about a college education and a degree - so our children can grow up and get a good job?"

Which brings me to the second idea that should be challenged.

A Job: What's a job? It's when you sell your labour to someone else - in return for money. The whole of our educational system is geared towards teaching children how to get a job. Nowhere is it taught how to CREATE a job.

A job is the last thing you should want (if you value your freedom) - as it ties you to the objectives and requirements of another person or organisation. Why settle for a job, when you could create your own? Why be bound to someone else's goals, when you could be dreaming and acting on your own?

I'll tell you why, because state education has completely removed both the desire and the means to do so.

All that's left is the crazy drive to get everybody "educated" in order to get into university - where they can get a degree, to show a future employer - in order to get a job! It's a merry-go- round from bizarro world!

If I had a young child now, I'd want them to grow up without this mind-numbing rubbish being drilled into them, and for them to enter the adult world as someone fully believing in their ability to create their own job, and generate their own income - doing what they LOVE.

I think this is the reason I admire British billionaire, Richard Branson, so much. He lives totally "out of the box". He is not limited in his ideas as to what he can and cannot do.

He started out in business in mail-order music. Then one day had the idea he'd like to have an airline (Virgin). And wow he wants to take tourists into space. He's a man who sees no barriers and takes no prisoners. I can only assume that while growing up - in spite of any official education - he must have been exposed to a lot of liberating ideas about his own ability to lead a life of his own choosing. A truly self-made man.

Religion: Now here's a big one. It's obvious most people don't choose a religion - it's simply drummed into their consciousness at an early age. How else can you explain that a Catholic country produces millions of Catholics - rather than Muslims? And vice versa.

Now, if you're religious, don't get offended by what I'm saying, but rather put yourself outside your own head for a moment, and think about it.

Have you ever stopped to really consider what religion is - and why you should believe in one?

Have you ever really, seriously set out to prove the validity of your own beliefs - or did you just acquire them by osmosis?

I can tell you, there is a very good reason why Jesuits have always said if you give them a child until he is seven years old, then he will be "theirs" for life! They know a thing or two about the power of religion - or the power of any belief system that is inculcated at such an early age.

I grew up in a very religious home - and as a result, came back to the "fold" after a brief rebellion during my teenage years. However, after a studied re-evaluation when I was older, I discarded my early beliefs. And as a result, I brought up my own children without religion. Strangely enough - they don't miss it!

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying you can't believe what you want - I'm just suggesting that such beliefs (if not chosen rationally - but "absorbed" while growing up) can be counter- productive to you leading a life of your own choosing.

Of course, I shouldn't have to point out that the history of war and conflict - including the present day - has a lot to do with the consequences of irrationally held beliefs.

You can "test" this assertion for yourself - by noting your own reaction to the word "fundamentalist". If you're like most people, it will have a negative impact on you - and will probably conjure up images of zealots with a scary look in their eyes, or worse, who pose a potential threat to your own life.

But what IS a "fundamentalist"? It's just someone who believes 100% in the literal meaning and edicts of their own particular religion. This belief is not usually of the scientifically proven kind, but rather a deeply held conviction born of cultural and educational input during early childhood.

The State: This is also is a form of religion - the secular variety. We grow up worshipping the state. We sing national anthems. We fly flags. We fight and die for it. We pay taxes. We vote. We even kow-tow to the very people who have the gall to call themselves public "servants" - while acting like public slave masters. And in the UK (and other Commonwealth countries), we used to stand to attention at the end of the movies - to the tune of "God Save the Queen".

The state is a form of madness. It's the fundamentalist belief that disorder can only be managed by force; that the economy is some sort of machine; and that people must be herded like sheep - lest they go astray.

The question is: how do you undo a lifetime of brainwashing and gain the knowledge, conviction and courage to live outside the box?

In my own experience, there is really only one way - to expose yourself to very different IDEAS. To challenge your intellectual status quo - by confronting a completely different view of the world, and your place in it.

And if someone asked me to point them in the right direction, and suggest sources of such radically different viewpoints - I'd probably say, "start by reading these four books".

And here they are:

"Atlas Shrugged" - by Ayn Rand. The story of a man who decided that evil only existed because people gave it permission - and so organised a "strike" of all the people of ability. He secretly persuaded all such people to escape to a private hideaway - and engage in a form of passive resistance, by removing their sanction of such evil.

"Sic Itur Ad Astra" (This is the way to the stars) by Andrew J Galambos. A brilliant and challenging thesis that debunks the "party line" that the state (force) can ever deliver freedom. He goes on to outline why he believes that freedom is a product, and how it must, ultimately, be delivered by the market.

"How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World" - by Harry Browne. A challenging look into the cultural blocks to the achievement of our own happiness - and how to free oneself from them. He also discusses the essential difference between direct and indirect action - and shows why direct action is the only way to achieve one's goals.

"The Internationalist Blueprint" - by Nicholas Pullen. A complete overview and set of strategies for becoming what is known as a Perpetual Traveller - or an "international citizen". The book thoroughly explores the nature of state power - and offers a practical way to escape the worst excesses of it.

The first three books can be got from Laissez Faire Books

"The Internationalist Blueprint" can be purchased from within our own web site. For more information click here.

Thinking outside the box is one thing - and a necessary first step. But thinking alone doesn't achieve anything. Thinking needs to lead to action - to LIVING outside the box.

I'm not saying it's easy. But it can be done, bit by bit - if you have the flame of desire for a freer life.

Yours in freedom

David MacGregor

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