Let us hope none of us will be forced to call upon symbolic skills to survive concentration camps or arctic ordeals. But having a portable set of rules that the mind can work with is of great benefit even in normal life. People without an internalized symbolic system can all too easily become captives of the media. They are easily manipulated by demagogues, pacified by entertainers, and exploited by anyone who has something to sell. If we have become dependent on television, on drugs, and on facile calls to political or religious salvation, it is because we have so little to fall back on, so few internal rules to keep our mind from being taken over by those who claim to have the answers. Without the capacity to provide its own information, the mind drifts into randomness. It is within each person’s power to decide whether its order will be restored from the outside, in ways over which we have no control, or whether the order will be the result of an internal pattern that grows organically from our skills and knowledge.
From “Flow: The Psychology of Happiness”
by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi