Author Jay Cradeur raises some questions about what we know and what we think we know.

During the past month, I have been driving for both Uber and Lyft. It’s sort of like being a taxi driver and therapist in one job. Driving people around, one begins to notice trends, similarities, and common responses. For example, I have observed that many men get loud and aggressive (and obnoxious) when they drink. Women tend to get silly and chatty (and flirty). When I talk about my 15 months in Thailand, everyone (and I mean everyone) says that they want to do the same thing. When I share about my Facebook consulting business, everyone (and I mean everyone) says they would like to have their own business that would allow them to be in charge of their own time and have more freedom. Observing life as I do, I began to wonder where do all these behaviors and ideas originate. In other words, whose agenda are we living? Or to put it even a more direct way, whose life are we really living?

During a recent drive, I listened to one of my favorite podcasts, WTF with Marc Maron. I love this guy and hope to meet him some day on my own podcast. He is me with a tad bit more addiction and darkness.   On this day, his guest was Crispin Glover. You may remember Crispin Glover from movies like Back to the Future (“you are my density…”) and The River’s Edge. Crispin Glover is fascinated by and dedicated to the eradication of propaganda. They spoke very passionately about how the corporate funded movies present a very specific way for men and women to live and relate to each other. As I thought further about the podcast, I become unmoored. I asked myself, rather dumbfounded, “Is anything that I think truly my own, or am I just a puppet on a string?”

I have a very strong desire to travel back to SE Asia, live in warm sunshine, spend time with my favorite woman, eat fresh food, swim in the crystal clear water, and wake up happy. Do I want this? Or do I think I want this because I have seen it in movies and been brainwashed to think this is a wonderful way to live my retirement years. I wonder… The thought that my entire life has been a manipulation leaves me reeling with doubt and seething with anger. When I hear that 85 people in the world own 50% of everything there is to own (Source: Oxfam), it makes sense that those folks are manipulating the masses to keep us content and malleable.

What do I truly want? What do I truly believe? What do I truly know to be true? These are big questions. Perhaps asking these questions will not bring me any closer to contentment or happiness. However, I want to know! There is something in me, and perhaps in you, that wants to understand how I have been manipulated. Perhaps in the understanding of the manipulation, I can be freed of it, and live a life with my own thoughts, my own desires, and my own truths. That sounds like an essential goal worth going for.

The article originally appeared on the Good Men Project Website.