Driving under the Influence (DUI) is against the law, and rightly so. But something equally as dangerous is what I like to call Living under the Influence (LUI). The United States is a free country, as people like to say, so that means we have the freedom to live as we choose.
Live as we choose. Do we really?
Children live under the influence of parents, other adults, and peers. People in general live under the influence of various religions and philosophies, advertisements, the media, the government, and on and on. True, some people, such as the Amish, opt out of mainstream influences, but no one escapes. The Amish still live under the influence of their group. And while we can argue that some influences are "positive," the fact still remains: everyone lives under the influence.
What would an individual be like without the influence of others?
What is an individual? Is it an imaginary concept, or can a person living under the constant, multiple influences of others ever truly be considered an individual?
"To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive.” – Robert Louis Stevenson