By K.I. Love
Change [rehabilitation] starts with the individual. The person has to want to change, grow, and learn. This has to be a personal decision. This is a process that takes place naturally when our results don't meet our expectations. In other words, when our circumstances are in contradiction with our desires, goals, or self-image, we entertain the idea of change.
This contradiction causes us anxiety and/or pain in some shape or form. When our lives don't align with our ideals, then we move to correct or re-align ourselves. We rationalize the situation or minimize the problem so that we can eliminate the anxiety or discord in our lives.
What I have presented is an emotional process that we go through when we encounter a problem in life. Men are moved by their emotions. Therefore, if we are to attempt to influence people's behaviors, attitudes, or conduct, then we have to stir their emotions -- to produce anxiety and mental discord within that individual. You have to magnify and display the error in their thinking. If you can help a person see their blind spots, then you have the power to influence their thinking and therefore their actions.
This is the essence of education -- to broaden perspectives so as to see thoughts, ideas, and actions in their entirety, as opposed to just a fractional percentage. How can we act tactically when our strategies are based only on a fraction of the data? If we do that, then our actions and performance will always come up short and/or produce failure. A limited view always limits the viewer and therefore limits performance. "When you know better, you do better."
For that reason, we must always strive to learn, to progress, grow, and evolve in our thinking. What doesn't evolve, dies, becomes obsolete, and therefore becomes dominated by what is stronger, newer, and superior. If you look at history you will see that every culture that refused to evolve collapsed and/or was socially dominated [conquered] by a more progressive [advanced] culture (i.e. the Samurai class of Japan, the Zulu tribe of Africa, the Native Americans). If you reflect on this truth you will see that it parallels our position as a criminal class and prison culture.
Your station in life is a direct reflection of your performance (i.e. your intelligence, skillset, know-how). Intelligence is the ability to master one's environment, path, or way of life. If your current or past performance [habits & thinking patterns] are the reason for your position at the bottom of the food chain [social ladder], why continue to perform in the same fashion? We perform according to a belief system. It's what filters our perceptions.
We have to evaluate and inventory our thoughts and belief systems because they create our conditions and our circumstances..."if you want to know what your past thinking was, then look at your present circumstances... if you want to know what your future circumstances will be, look at your present thinking." As long as you continue to entertain the same thoughts and attitudes, you will obtain the same results. What's the difference between rich and poor? Winners and losers? The successful and unsuccessful? It's their mindset, attitudes, and habits. "Success is the effect of successful habits."
If your opponent or competition keeps beating you, dominating you, or is superior, do you keep fighting him with the same moves, set of skills, and technology? No! You integrate those strategies into your own fighting style, then improve them -- you evolve.
If we are to improve our condition and elevate our status [social], then we must evolve. We have to update our skill set, add depth to our thinking, and elevate our minds. We know how to resort to violence, rob, steal, and lie. That's what put us in prison. The question is, What else can you do? If this is the extent of your knowledge [skill & know-how], then you will never elevate or improve your circumstances.
To truly elevate, we have to develop our intelligence on all three levels: mentally, physically, and spiritually. The streets focus on physical intelligence, money, and the material items. In other words: daily survival. The mind is focused on the effects of actions and thoughts, not their causes. When you insert mental intelligence into the equation, you start to realize that your thoughts physically manifest your circumstances. You're dealing with causes.
Spiritual intelligence assigns purpose to your thoughts. It teaches you that there are two natures within man: a higher nature and a lower nature, and that the higher nature should always control the lower nature. By aligning our thoughts and actions with our higher nature, our performance is allowed to reach its fullest potential.
My vision for the prison culture is to see it evolve into a culture of progressive thinkers; to become an institution that truly rehabilitates and educates prisoners. I see this taking place through a rehabilitation and education program initiated by prisoners. A program based on universal principles of success. A movement I call the "Internal Progressive Movement."
"I cannot make a man honest...but if I dispel ignorance, he will become honest himself." --Manly P. Hall