Imagine you are in prison. The prison is built in the shape of a cylinder with all doors facing in to the only central courtyard. There is a sinlge tower in the center of the courtyard with high-powered lights pointing out at every angle. A single guard sits in the tower.

One day, a prisoner tries to make a brake for it. He runs towards the closing door. He is shot.

No one else tries to escape for years. Would you try?

What if I told you that the guard is no longer there?

Since we cannot see the guard, the fear of his punishment exists whether or not he is even there. Especially after we know that there is the possibility of punishment, we "internalize" that possibility. After that, there no longer even needs to be a guard in the tower. Such is the power of fear.

But, we internalize other things as well. Species tend to internalize various rules which lead to survival, comfort, "happiness", etc. Society tells us to do that; don't do that. All based on rules produced during years of evolution. But, at some point, we internalize the rules. The society no longer needs to act out to punish our "misdeeds"; rather we ourselves will feel guilty. Guilt then is an equivalent in some respects to the prisoners' fear. It keeps us from doing something that we have learned not to.

Where this is most clear in society today is the internalization of the "quest". Society (with that I mean the capitalist system) has this way of telling people from the very beginning that we must strive, suceed, win, profit. This concept is ingrained (inbreed) in us.

This makes it extremely difficult, then, to overcome. This form of implicit control can certainly be changed, but since we have a tendency not even to realize what's going on, intending rather to continue playing along, inertia sets in. And such a system sticks.