As a person, I don’t hold a lot of grudges against society. I’m not into protesting animal testing, fighting for wadge equality or much of anything on a political science level. Its not that I don’t have opinions on how things should or shouldn’t be or what is or isn’t fare, I just don’t make those things a top priority in my life. As of late though I read an article from psychologytoday.com entitled “Agreeing with The Four Agreements”. The article goes of a basic synopsis of the book “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz, but didn’t address anything I didn’t already know. What did catch my attention however was the antidote made in the third paragraph when author John A. Johnson Ph.D said:
Ruiz says that children do not know any better than to agree with the adult realities into which they are indoctrinated.
This observation Ruiz makes in the beginning of his book is something I also covered in my previous blog post about the societal dream, and is one of the main claims in his book. I love the four agreements as a book, and it is important to realize that because I love this book something about the message is connecting with me.
Another book that had a substantial impact on my life and and also connects to this idea of indoctrinating children was Louis Lowry’s “The giver”. In “The Giver” the main character Jonas lives a life in a “perfect” society. Perfection is achieved by eliminating all fear, pain, and in most cases all emotion from society by manipulating its citizens. Jonas however is in a special condition because he is assigned to be the apprentice of the giver; An old man with the ability to see into an archive of dreams and has access to all his emotions. As Jonas spends time learning from the giver he becomes aware of all the flaws in society but must keep them to himself to avoid inevitable intervention by the government.
Jonas is the perfect bridge between these two books as he unifies the ideas of both books. As Ruiz puts it in his book: we are all trained from birth to be what society wants us to be just like how Jonas was trained to be the “perfect” citizen by the society he lived in. But Ruiz also puts in his book that we can try and apply the four agreements into our lives to help us see past the wall of illusions set in front of us. In a way the four agreements are like the lessons taught by the giver to Jonas in order to help him see what the world was really like. Both books portray a society that tries its best to provide for its people, but have fundamental flaws that develop and get in the way of what is truly best and only by intervention and learning can one see through those flaws. Both books portray that there is something wrong with the worlds we live in but the issues are complex and hidden away so that they are not easily solved.
Solving problems was the entire reason I got into reading books like “The Four Agreements”. As mentioned in my first blog post I had an anger problem so I took to reading to help find a solution. What I found was “The Giver” a book I fell in love with that presented the idea of seeing past what is right in front of us in plain sight and challenging what you know. From “The Giver” I kept reading until now where I find myself with “The Four Agreements”- another book I love. Until recently I didn’t know why “The Giver” had such a substantial impact on my life but its connections with “The Four Agreements” have made it more obvious. Both books talk about being sculpted into what others want us to be but offer a way to overcome the mold made for us and turn ourselves into what we want.
Psychologytoday.com probed my interest into just why the books I read mean so much to me. Both “The Four Agreements” and “The Giver”showed me a society takes its morals and sticks them to you it is important to know that there is a way to see past what is obvious in order to come out fully as our own person. Just like Jonas I am trying to find my own way in life and he showed me it can’t hurt to be prepared with the lessons of the wise. I read “The Four Agreements” because it has made a difference in my life just like Jonas met with the giver to change his.