And you may ask yourself-well…how did I get here?

September 20, 2009

david byrne talking heads once in a lifetimeHow’d we end up so messed up that we drank and basically went nuts?  I have often wondered.

How many futile thought patterns and attitudes have we learned from literature and entertainment?  How much did we glean from watching movies, television, reading books, and listening to music and end up training ourselves through sheer repetition and familiarity painful and toxic thought habits like:



expectations of love relationships?

These few things alone are enough to drive anyone to drink or drug.  Remember the old Charles Bronson movie series, Death Wish?  Where the main character played by Bronson becomes a vigilante and seeks out and kills those who wronged him?  Or what about the age-old tale of the Count of Monte Cristo?  Or the 1990’s movie series, Die Hard? What about all the old Clint Eastwood cowboy movies where he exacts vengeance and kills the whole town?

Did all of these and many, many more through suggestion, repetition, and familiarity not teach us to be vengeful?  Did these kinds of experiences and conditioning not suggest to us that violence was a viable alternative?  How deeply did these messages get programmed into our subconscious?

Then when we suffered injustices, people were surprised at our level of anger and perhaps our threats or violent retaliations?

What about how we reacted when we got our heart broken… and fell into deep self-pity?  Were we not just living out what so much popular music programmed into us? 

I remember the old Chicago song when I was a kid… “If you leave me now, you’ll take away the biggest part of me”.  And I ended up buying into stuff like this when my wife left and ended up a self-pitying disaster.  Now surely there would have been pain regardless, but somehow my thinking made it into something far more complex and painful than it actually was.

Or what about the fait de compli of all self-pitying, unrealistic expectation love songs of all time?  Michael Bolton’s “How am I supposed to live without you”?  Oh please!  With expectations like this programmed into our psyche… no wonder we went nuts, drank, drugged, and fell for the self-pity gig to the degree we did.  Depression and misery were just waiting for us.  And these are only 2 songs!  Am sure literally thousands more affected us and set us up for failure.

How did we get here?  Well… from what I see…. we programmed a lot of crap into our thinking.  “Entertainment” had a lot to do with it.

Glad to say, am programming much of it out and better stuff in.  Life is amazing today.  I am wiser in my choice of things I let permeate my thinking.





  1. Hi Chaz,

    Its been a long time and I’m now catching up on all my blog reading.

    This post reminded me of a book that I have started reading called Affluenza by Oliver James…it is about how our society – which programmes us to think about number 1 as well as obsession, envious and ‘keeping up with the joneses’. Yes makes us twice as prone to depression, anxiety and addictions than people in other developed nations (non english speaking).

    Your comment that we are ‘programmed’ to think this way just reinforced some of the messages of this book – I haven’t finished it yet but it is very very interesting.

    Always enjoy reading your musings


  2. Ps…nice Talking Heads reference 🙂

  3. Hey Lores….

    Ya… the Talking Heads reference was just borrowing the line from the song. Not sure if the context aligns.

    Amazing isnt it in the world of technology, convenience, medical sciences, physcological academia, and self-help galore that we suffer from depression and axiety more than ever?

    Why? Could it be the expectations set for us and programmed into our minds (mainly by self) through unlimited realtime communication? So we an see what other people have and expect that should be the same for us?

    Without any real comparison of the underlying circumstances of how have some things in their lives while others dont?

    We just compare veneers or appearances…. not deeper truths?

    No wonder we drink, drug, and want to kill ourselves. And remain bound in anxiety and depression so often.

    Just glad there are ways out and that we can opt out of “the machine” as I call it… aka: gross mainstream consumerism.

    Thanks for popping by…. always a pleasure.



  4. All the best pop/love songs are really, really dysfunctional. The consummate in co-dependency, in neediness, in lack of self-esteem.

    I guess the upside is knowing that we ALL go through it. Some of us just handle it better than others.

    But yeah, it doesn’t make it any easier when you’re bombarded with it every time you turn on the radio or the tv. I fall into that trap all the time.

    Of course, songs and shows about happy, functional and well-balanced people are just plain boring!


  5. Love the Talking Heads reference. I think that more of us need to really sit down and think about the exact point that you brought up- “How did I get here” Many of us who have abused drugs or alcohol (or even other things) do so out of this need to fill a void in our lives. Perhaps we are angry at what we think of as being our misfortunes, but maybe its something deeper. Too often, we are afraid to face our fears, not realizing that in doing so, we’d actually be setting ourselves free..

  6. MHR….

    Yes, looking deeper is what I have found helpful. Amazingly so.

    One key for me was to not look deeper alone. It is virtually impossible to spot self-deception and dysfunction by using the same old familiar thinking that has kept us there for years…. or decades.

    To me, the answer to “How did I get here” is largely that I thought and behaved my way here. I adopted patterns of thinking and doing that netted the result of “here”.

    Whether I am aware of it or not, I made many choices that were the main influence in my journey and destination.

    And unless I look deeper… with help…. I will probably continue to wonder how I got here.

    This is one thing I love about 12 step fellowships…. we can borrow anothers perspective and learn something new about ourselves. This is where so much change can come from.



  7. C…. agreed…

    It is amazing how many lyrics are about dysfunction. I suppose this is the stimulous that keeps our attention.

    Yet, on the other hand, one of the reasons I love so much contemporary country is its positive messages. Take Kenny Chesney for instance. So little of his musice is solely negative. If he sings about pain, it is usually in context of moving through it to something better.

    Like “Who you’d be today”…. a song about missing someone who has died…. ends by saying “I know, I’ll see you again some day”.

    Or Brad Paisley and all of his whit woven through his lyrics. Or Dierks Bentley. Most is positive and happy.

    I just cant program in any more crap, negativitiy, or ineffective thinking.

    We all can survive heartbreak. We all can get through things.

    I like Gloria Estefan for this very reason…. most everything is positive. “Get on your feet! Get up and take some action”!

    My favourite button in the car is the one that changes the radio station!



  8. Thank you for leaving such a nice comment on my blog. It does suck to see your life fits in nicely to a song, or even just a lyric, but then again, it’s great to know that these feelings are not limited to me alone, that it’s the human experience. I look forward to reading more of your blog.
    And thanks for reading mine,
    Molly (spacesong)

  9. Molly…. no problem and thanks for stopping by.

    I was bouncing around with some thoughts on relationships and betrayal and came accross your blog.

    Your mention of song lyrics is all too familiar. It just jumpped out at me when life blew up that many of my reactions related to things that were programmed in by music and entertainment. I had no idea they had such an impact.

    Will cross paths again.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: