In Freedom Without Permission, Isaac Morehouse talks about the conveyer belt, a paradigm of linear, externally-defined progress. As Morehouse explains, we’ve all been put onto the conveyer belt: “You are plopped onto a production line at whatever stage you’re supposed to be based on arbitrary things like your age, class, and gender. Then you let the belt do the work. By essentially doing nothing but what you’re told, you get handed certificates at each next stage. 18? Unless you did something truly outrageous, here’s your diploma. 22? Here’s your degree. Degree? Here’s your job (or so you’re led to believe). Most people believe this and live this.”
Instead of actively moving in the direction that is right for us, we do what we’re supposed to do and let the conveyer belt move us along in the same direction as everyone else. The problem is, being on the conveyer belt is frustrating and unfulfilling. It doesn’t allow us to be in control of our lives. To change this, Morehouse writes, we’ve got to get off the conveyer belt.
It’s easier said than done. It’s hard to get off the conveyer belt, it’s hard to shake this mentality when almost everyone else lives their life by it. As a child I was Homeschooled and I sometimes felt uncomfortable knowing I was on a different path than most kids. Today I sometimes feel this same discomfort when I find myself on a different path than others, but it is a discomfort I embrace. It’s better to adjust to the discomfort of rejecting the status quo that you’ll feel for a bit than it is to live a life that will always be dictated by the expectations of other people.
Morehouse points out that people who get off the conveyer belt don’t struggle any more or less than those who stay on. Of those who jump off, he writes, “They have a hard time too. But it’s a different kind of pain. It’s the pain of working to achieve a goal they’re passionate about that has huge rewards when won, not the pain of subjugation to a monotony that brings you nothing in return.”
This is the kind of pain I want. This is why I want to get off the conveyer belt and make sure to never get back on. I’m only interested in living a life that occurs after the jump.