A Brief Examination of the Concept of Control
Control: vb. to direct the behavior of (Merriam Webster)
What’s on my mind?
The amount of control we humans have over our lives. How much of it do we really have? Well, you decided to roll out of bed and perform your morning routine or you chose to snooze your alarm and go back to sleep. Nobody grabbed you by the waist and took you out of bed- at least I hope not because that would be uncomfortable. Additionally, you decide on what outfit to wear, what music to listen to, and what actions you take. You’re the boss. You call the shots in your life. No one else does.
However, is that entirely true? Are you really the boss? Do others have just as much control of our lives as you do?
Social proof reveals the influence people have on a person’s decision making. Before someone buys a product on Amazon or on another website, you check if it has been reviewed by more than a few people. If that is the case, you quickly scroll to the bottom of your screen, read some review, and then decide to close the tab, continue online shopping, or click “Add To Cart”. While the you ultimately made the decision, you were influenced by other people’s opinions about that item.
Additionally, social and cultural norms influence your behavior. If an event announces that the dress code is all-white, you are very likely to flex in all white (or at least wear a white piece of clothing). In Twi-a Ghanaian language-when speaking to an authority figure, one says “please” prior to beginning a sentence or when ending it. It is a norm in Ghanaian culture that people typically adher to. In those instances, you either choose to follow the norms or else experience various levels of discomfort and/or backlash.
From a egregious perspective, someone nearby you can pull out a gun and open fire for no reason. In that moment, the person has control over whether you live or die. Such a thought is scary yet true. Thus, there’s only so much control you have.
From a spiritual perspective, God has control of everything and everyone, as revealed in Proverbs 16:9 KJV: “A man’s heart deviseth his way; but the Lord directh his steps”. In the blink of an eye, He could wipe out the Earth through a plague, flood, or other means. Yet, He chooses to not be domineering and grants us free will. He bestows upon us some level of control. Salute to God.
The concept of control is complicated. However, what seems to be clear about it is you do not have as much control over your life as you may think. Other people and God play a part in it too. Such a realization is humbling and even frightening too.
 Merriam Webster. (2020, September 25). Retrieved from Merriam Webster: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/control