“Life is a slate where all our sins are written; from time to time we rub the sponge of repentance over it so we can begin sinning again.” George Sand
George Sand was a woman also known as Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin. In the late 19th Century she wrote about the social conventions that bind a wife to a husband against her will.
The System conspires against us.
It’s absurd, but something generally referred to as The System really does exist, furthermore, it’s an entity we have all been complicit in creating. And, in my view, it’s one of the uncomfortable flaws of Social Democracy.
The System is defined as a group of interacting, interrelated, or interdependent elements forming a complex whole and its purpose is to control, at both the macro as well as the micro level. Depending on circumstances, the elements in play at any given time may vary person to person.
All those years ago, when I set out to reclaim my sanity, it was important to understand The System’s impact on my life, its strengths and weaknesses.
First, I made a list of all the organisations and “set ups” I dealt with either directly or indirectly. There were the obvious candidates – banks, credit card companies, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, utilities, insurance companies and so on. There were also a few not so obvious ones – loyalty cards, gym membership, library cards, magazine subscriptions and so on.
Second, I ranked each one in three ways. Firstly, the stress each caused. Secondly, the degree to which I depended on each of them to enrich my life. Thirdly, the ease with which I could dispense with or ignore them and still have a fully functioning household.
Finally, I connected those organisations with shared dependency – car insurance to car tax to road license, bank account to direct debits to credit cards, debit cards, store cards and bills, electoral register to Credit Reference Agencies and so on.
It was a very simple exercise but the image of my life’s infrastructure was truly enlightening. I saw, unsurprisingly perhaps, most of the elements linked back to financial networks in one way or another. Also, even though I considered some of my lifestyle choices (gym membership, mobile phone, magazine subscriptions etc.) were a low priority I found they are managed by The System at the same level as my more critical suppliers (utilities, insurances, etc.).
The System does not prioritise according to my needs or the needs of my family but rather in the collection of data about the way my life is run to control me and maximise their revenues.
The scariest, yet most obvious discovery was that the common link between them all was my data (and I hadn’t even begun to explore social media yet!) Most organisations, and almost every aspect of my life, could be linked to Credit Reference Agencies.
Rebel Rules: Due to their sheer financial might I knew from the beginning it would be well-nigh impossible to tackle these organisations head on so, taking a leaf from my grandfather’s book, I started to draw up plans to confuse and obfuscate them. These plans included:
I broke the links between me, supplier organisations, Credit Reference Agencies and other Commercial Data Gatherers. Remember, you only need worry about Credit Reference Agencies if you are planning to purchase debts.
I invented a persona for each category with names similar to my own but different enough to recognise who was mailing and calling me. Note: AKA (Also Known As) names must never be used on official documents (Inland Revenue, Passport Office, DVLA etc. which are quite safe in any case because none of them has a direct connection with Commercial Data Gathering organisations.*).
In the UK, it is perfectly legal to go by whatever name you want whether you change your name by Deed Poll or not. The only document which must carry your real birth name is your Birth Certificate which may, believe it or not, represent you in Court because under Common Law, your Birth Certificate is you. It’s also advisable for a Marriage Certificate (which confirm status rather than identity) to carry the same name as the Birth Certificate.
*Except Electoral Services.
>Location when written: Dubai<
>Music I was listening to: System of a Down ~ Toxicity<