In the advertising field this longing, which is deeply embedded in every one of us, is exploited in more and more refined ways: By linking a service or product with a blissfully happy person or a harmonious situation, it is suggested to the viewer that thanks to the use of this product you will become successful, beautiful, desirable, rich or whatever – and this will (also) make you happy. We have already dealt with this briefly in the section on the needs of humankind.
Why does advertising promise us harmony and happiness? In the objectives of companies we don’t often read that they would like to make people happy. On the other hand they do speak more frequently about maximising profit and suchlike. Although advertising naturally is also intended to convey information, the statement «buy our product so that we can obtain a higher profit» would be much more honest in most cases1.
Therefore once again the question: Why does advertising not just communicate matter-of-fact things, why does it appeal to our feelings and longings? The answer is clear: As we have already mentioned several times, in every person there is embedded this longing for the highest goal of perpetual harmony. This longing can also be exploited to maximize financial profit, to achieve power – yes even to manipulate other people. A great majority of people in the «developed» countries allow themselves to be manipulated or at least be strongly influenced in the way described above of their own free will.
What can we do to extract ourselves from this influence? The answer is: We must know what we want in our lives. Set our own clear objective. In this way we will finally do what we want and not what others would probably want us to do.
He who doesn’t pursue clear objectives can easily be used by others to achieve their own goals. A goal can only be reached when a goal exists. A goal which does not exist is impossible to reach!
Let’s summarize the situation up to this point: Our behaviour in a given situation depends on our own objectives. What we can achieve in our life depends to a large extent on which objectives we are pursuing. It is therefore worthwhile taking time to consider our objectives.
The course of our life depends on whether we strive for goals and which goals we are striving for. Whether we strive for our own goals or allow others to set them for us. We can distinguish between three fundamentally different options in setting our long-term objectives:
1. We wish to learn to rigorously respect the basic rights of existence in all our decisions.
Here we provide our subconscious with a clear signal, we can build our pyramid and take off our glasses of subjective perception.
2. We set ourselves other concrete goals, for example power over others, financial wealth, fame, helping other people etc.
Here we also provide our subconscious with a clear signal. It will also support us in reaching these goals. The longing for harmony however will not be satisfied by this.
3. We set no goals for ourselves. Or we set several mutually-exclusive goals for ourselves.
Since the subconscious has no clear guidelines it cannot support us. There is a great risk of being misused by other people for the achievement of their own goals.
People who can be classified in category 2 of the above list are frequently seen by us as being successful and they are admired. Since they normally rigorously pursue their objectives they will probably achieve them – as do those in category 1 by the way.
Much more tragic is the fate of people in category 3: Very frequently they have not set themselves any goals at all, or if they have they are the sort of goals which are mutually exclusive. The pursuance of mutually-exclusive goals is frequently synonymous with the state of having no goal. They are dragged backwards and forwards between these non-compatible goals, since progress towards one goal is the same thing as a step backwards from at least one other goal.
He who, like the people in category 2 for example, wants to strive for power, wealth or fame needs as many other people as possible who will give him this power, money or admiration. Naturally it is primarily those people without their own clear goals as described in category 3, who are useful here. Those who don’t set their own goals can more easily be manipulated by others.
Have we therefore found the «culprits»? Are the people in category 2 the «baddies» who are responsible for everything that is wrong on our earth? Shouldn’t we at last tell those people who strive for example for power, wealth, admiration or fame what’s what?
Again this connection is however not as simple as that! Another person can only influence us, exert power over us, receive admiration from us etc if we want it or allow it. We are not helpless creatures who can be exploited by others against our will. It is only if we permit others to have influence over us or exercise power over us that they can also do just that. If we allow ourselves to be controlled and influenced by others we should not blame «the others», but rather we should see this as our own problem! It is entirely our responsibility not to allow this to happen if we don’t want it to happen.
Most people in our society today do not give much thought to their goals in life – or maybe they do shortly before their death, when it is already too late to change anything in this life. Because of this the chances are very great that consciously or unconsciously they will be used by others in order to achieve their goals.
If we set ourselves clear objectives and also if we pursue them, we will prevent others from being able to exploit us. We more-or-less work on or for ourselves– and this must surely be more satisfying than chasing one way after this goal, then another way towards that (externally-set) goal!
1 We will discuss the objectives of companies in a later volume of the book series «Time for change» in more detail.