Tom V. (tiotditv) wrote,
Tom V.
tiotditv

Institutionalisation

I few nights ago I was lying in bed, wondering why in the world I still work at the Witchs now that I have a "real" full-time job. And it didn't take very long for me to figure out the answer - Institutionalisation.

Most people have seen the Shawshank Redemption, and for those who have not, rent it, buy, download it for all I care, just watch it. There is one scene when one of the inmates faces the prospect of being released, set free from prison and ends up hanging himself. To us, who are clearly not in the situation, we fail to understand why anyone would do that, why anyone would take their life after hearing the news that they would be released from prison, would be set free. Isn't that what you spend your entire prison life looking forward to? But it really makes a lot of sense.

People who are exposed to any social institution, big or small, will inevitably become instiutionalised and thus become philosophical - I believe it is a natural progress of individual evolution. When you do something for a long time, especially such a long time that it becomes a part of who you are as a person, you are bound to become philosophical about it. And that is what institutionalisation is all about - when someone is in prison for forty years then prison will become a part of that person, essentially the only part of that person. Releasing that person would be destroying the identity of that person.

The same works for jobs, if you work in a place for a long time, then it will be harder to quit. That job will become a part of who you are and a part of how you associate yourself with the world around you. Quitting a job that has changed you as a person, made you who you are is an incredibly difficult thing to do because first of all you feel that you have a responsibity towards that job and second that you would be willingly letting go of something that made you who you are is in part mental suicide.

You can even boil this down to abusive relationships and households. You only need to turn on SBS for the news or watch some late night documentaries to hear about cases of domestic abuse. In some cases this abuse goes on for years and years and years but the woman refuses to leave her "partner". Why? Because she associates herself and creates her identity as a person around that destructive relationship. Without being beaten up or mentally abused or what the case may be, she has very little - it has become a part of her life to the extent that she has become institutionalised in that horrible situation. As a result, despite the situation being incredibly destructive and damaging, she stays there.

Institutionalisation defines who we are as a person, and it slows down progress as individuals. Next time you are doing something and wonder why in the world you are doing it, you recognise that its a stupid thing to do yet you still do it, ask yourself if you are institutionalised within? If what you are doing is something that has been built up within you.

It is an incredibly hard thing to explain, but a very easy thing to discover and think about and figure out yourself.

Next: Explaining the relationships between employer and employee
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