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Seeing the Illusion: Fear & Reward

by Dr. Stewart Bitkoff

So what is this illusion that you are talking about?

It’s a variation of the fear and reward manipulation which every educational, social, business, religious entity uses. It runs something like this: look we have a potentially good thing going here (promotion, success, heaven) and if you want to join in with us; then you are required to follow what we say to do. If you don’t want these rewards and join: remember you are doomed to either failure, a very hard time, you may even piss God off or become someone with little social status.

We live in a capitalistic society and most people grow-up believing- I want to get a piece of the action (money) - so I’ll follow along with the rules; it’s the same with religions and family structures. What’s put out there- here are the rules and expectations- accept them or reject them; that is up to you, but if you reject them it’s a hard way to go without our help.

As I was growing-up, the American Dream went something like this: go to work for a corporation or large employer and they would take care of you financially- from cradle to grave; buy a house on credit- a 30 year mortgage, finance a car, get an education (student loan) and get married. This is the way to success and happiness.

Today, many of the aspects of this dream lie about in ashes. Like millions of others, when I first had a family I bought into this dream. Yet, over the years I realized that the only thing taking out a 30 year mortgage, buying things on credit did for me- was make me a slave to my work every day and not complain- because if I complained- I wouldn’t get promoted, loose my job or appear un-American; after all I had to take care of my family and make ‘the monthly nut’ (bills) just like everyone else.

In America, often we forget there are other ways to do things. Meanwhile my brother has built 2 homes with minimal financing; one of these homes being in Mexico and the other in Idaho. Fortunately, he has not been enslaved in this particular trap- helping the person who sits on top of the banking industry, mortgage financing scheme get richer. He tells me, that now in Mexico they have introduced installment buying and mortgages. Where this has been done, coincidently, there has been a tremendous rise in stress related or western illnesses (high blood pressure, anxiety, and lack of work enjoyment).

The sad part of our western capitalistic illusion: the way to happiness is through consuming, owning, and installment buying; is that it keeps us so very busy struggling to keep-up- we don’t see what has happened to us nor have time to express the inner person. That person who likes to sing, dance and smell wild flowers-that eternal child of the universe and spiritual traveler in all of us. We are too busy not wanting to miss all the new gadgets: flat screen TV, phone with the latest capabilities, new car that we become over stressed working for them, with different physical ailments and often traveling hours to our jobs.

Caught-up in the daily grind of working to pay bills, many forget life is a wonderful gift- filled with love, creativity, beautiful sunsets, and people to love.

When we are immersed in this illusion and expectation that material happiness will be ours, often we shift off center and don’t have time for simpler, holistic things. In this age we are seeing the collapse of many cherished institutions and beliefs- Governments, corporations, and standard religion cannot save us. Each of these structures has a vested interest in keeping the old system going; what will save us is that after the collapse of these structures, people will be forced to unite and replace these systems with others that work for the common good.

You know, it is possible to work together, we see it every day- usually in an emergency situation or after a catastrophe of some sort; people show-up from every where trying to help.

The best way to free people from their own expectations and an unhealthy level of selfishness, is to realize this trap individually and teach others- it is in everyone’s best interest that people be treated fairly, fed, not robbed, cheated or raped. For you see, I am my brother’s keeper, because we share the same Father; and if my brother is not fed, one day he will be at my door, demanding what is his.

In the Far East, Terrorist Leaders are presenting the fear and reward manipulation is this way. We want to be good Moslems who do God’s Will; so we must spread Islam, fighting and killing those capitalists who do not believe as we do and worship the God of money. Then our reward will be in heaven; today many are being brain washed into believing this terrorist ideology and manipulation.

Any person or society can use ideology to control people, particularly, when the ideology is exclusive and tied to the reward and punishment manipulation. In the world today, religion and nationalism are two very common and dangerous examples. We are right and they are wrong; and because we are right- the other must do as we say. Remember, the task of the spiritual traveler is to see beyond ideology and manipulation, so, they are not controlled by these strong thoughts; being able to suspend them for a time, eventually awakening other forms of consciousness that arise from the mystical, spiritual part of our nature, and reside deep within.

As spiritual travelers, we want to freely choose actions; like paying off a 30 year mortgage, to make our lives more comfortable and enjoyable. We want our world to be a place where people are free to express the higher part of them self and are not controlled by what others think or say; having been taught to see beyond fear and reward- living a more complete life.

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