Imagine you could start new. Just wipe the slate clean and start living life on your own terms, free from the expectations of others or society.
To do this, it’s important to understand social conditioning.
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.Steve Jobs
What is Social Conditioning?
Our thoughts are behaviors are moulded from a young age by our friends, peers, family, the media and society as a whole. This happens through a process called social conditioning.
Social conditioning: The sociological process of training individuals in a society to act in a way that’s broadly approved by the society and various peer groups.
The result is a set of given social patterns and structures in society. In fact, a lot of our beliefs, customs, etiquette and mannerisms come from social conditioning.
Other manifestations include:
- Family life
- Popular culture
Though we learn and come up with ideas on our own through a set of unique experiences that are our own, our learning is heavily influenced by our interaction with society. This includes everything from the way we’re brought up to the types of information we consume.
Are You a Free Thinker?
Most of us like to believe we’re free thinkers but the reality is we’re all part of the matrix. Every single one of us has been influenced by our external environment.
We’re constantly being programmed. Ads, Authors. Friends. Magazines. Parents. Peers. Politicians. Professors. Radio. Siblings. Teachers. TV. They’re all affecting our way of viewing the world.
Most of us never notice the influence of social conditioning on our thinking. We don’t give thought to how our environment has helped shape us. Even for those who do, we never fully realize the extent to which it shapes our perception and way of interacting with the world.
This leads us to blindly follow what’s being idealized in the media. We’re conditioned to be consumers.
The key to waking up and being more of a free thinker is education.
Quotes About Social Conditioning
“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill — the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill — you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.”Morpheus, The Matrix
Society is in a state of constant flux, but there is something that does not change: the vast majority of people conform to whatever is normal for the time. They play the role allotted to them. Conformity is a constant because humans are social creatures who are always imitating one another.Robert Greene
“One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them.”Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
“Some habits of ineffectiveness are rooted in our social conditioning toward quick-fix, short-term thinking.”Stephen Covey
“We have to create culture, don’t watch TV, don’t read magazines, don’t even listen to NPR. Create your own roadshow. The nexus of space and time where you are now is the most immediate sector of your universe, and if you’re worrying about Michael Jackson or Bill Clinton or somebody else, then you are disempowered, you’re giving it all away to icons, icons which are maintained by an electronic media so that you want to dress like X or have lips like Y. This is shit-brained, this kind of thinking. That is all cultural diversion, and what is real is you and your friends and your associations, your highs, your orgasms, your hopes, your plans, your fears. And we are told ‘no’, we’re unimportant, we’re peripheral. ‘Get a degree, get a job, get a this, get a that.’ And then you’re a player, you don’t want to even play in that game. You want to reclaim your mind and get it out of the hands of the cultural engineers who want to turn you into a half-baked moron consuming all this trash that’s being manufactured out of the bones of a dying world.”Terence McKenna
“Don’t hold together what must fall apart. The familiar life crumbles so the new life can begin.”Bryant McGill
“Beginning with Santa Claus as a cognitive exercise, a child is encouraged to share the same idea of reality as his peers. Even if that reality is patently invented and ludicrous, belief is encouraged with gifts that support and promote the common cultural lies.”Chuck Palahniuk, Rant
“Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.”John F. Kennedy
“The collective dream is the hypnosis of social conditioning. Only sages, psychotics & geniuses manage to break free.”Deepak Chopra
“If you don’t have a plan, you become part of somebody else’s plan.”Terence McKenna
“The reflection of the current social paradigm tells us we are largely determined by conditioning and conditions.”Stephen Covey
“The things you read will fashion you by slowly conditioning your mind.”A.W. Tozer
“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”Friedrich Nietzsche
“But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”George Orwell, 1984
“The reward for conformity was that everyone liked you except yourself.”Rita Mae Brown
“You are an explorer, and you represent our species, and the greatest good you can do is to bring back a new idea, because our world is endangered by the absence of good ideas. Our world is in crisis because of the absence of consciousness.”Terence McKenna
“Mindfulness helps us freeze the frame so that we can become aware of our sensations and experiences as they are, without the distorting coloration of socially conditioned responses or habitual reactions.”Henepola Gunaratana
“Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behaviour. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You’ll learn from them—if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn’t education. It’s history. It’s poetry.”Holden Caulfield, Catcher in the Rye
“Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion.”Jack Kerouac
“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”George Orwell, 1984
“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”Mark Twain
Questions & Actions
- How have the thoughts or beliefs of others help shape my perception?
- What have I been choosing as a result?
- What new choices can I make from this moment forward that will help me achieve my own goals?
Have any other social conditioning quotes you’d add to the collection? Which is your favorite? Let me know in the comments.
You might also enjoy these related quote collections: