The choices, which people make are directly or indirectly influenced by external norms hence such choices are scarcely independent.
Alex: Hey Vir, long time no see… How are you doing?
Vir: Hello Alex…. I am doing great. Tell me about you…
Alex: I am also doing fine…
Vir: It’s been long since we had any discussion, isn’t it?
Alex: You are right. I have been waiting for this opportunity so that we can learn something from our discussion.
Vir: Yes… rational discussion helps people understand things in a better and in diversified manner.
Alex: Then let’s discuss something curious…
Vir: What do you suggest?
Alex: This time you suggest. It is I, who always comes with the topics. I think this time you should take the chance.
Vir: Great…. Then let’s try to discuss something called mind-bending.
Alex: Mind-bending….. What’s new in it? It is a common word used in the language.
Vir: Yes, it is used commonly in the language. It generally means something like mind-blowing, or breathtaking thing/event having a massive impact on the mind.
Alex: Yes, that is what I am trying to tell you.
Vir: I agree with you. But here we will take that meaning a little ahead. Or say we will understand the word from a different perception.
Alex: Now, I am curious. What are you implying?
Vir: That is the right question. Mind-bending is something we need to understand from the different perceptions. According to me, mind-bending is the ability of some person or any entity to bend the thoughts of another person or group of persons as per his or her wishes to achieve a particular end.
Alex: Isn’t that manipulation? It seems the same concept.
Vir: I would not say the same rather manipulation can be considered a small aspect of mind-bending. Manipulation is generally considered a negative concept as it includes profit to one at the cost of the other.
Alex: Yes…. Then, what is the difference? To me, it appears just a fancy name…
Vir: Certainly it is a fancy name but with deep relevance particularly in the 21st century and later ahead.
Alex: Then explain to me the meaning of this fancy name…
Vir: Look mind is generally attributed to thinking, which mostly influences our actions. Mind-bending can be considered as bending the thinking of a person/s whether directly or indirectly.
For instance, people in society choose a particular profession. I believe in most cases their choices are influenced by societal considerations. This impact of societal norms whether negative or positive, is a matter of debate.
Alex: Yes… the impact of society and other factors cannot be denied in our choices. Like, in the USA earlier slavery was considered normal. It certainly was the impact of environmental factors that prevailed during the time.
Vir: Exactly… It took independent-minded thinkers, who resisted this mind-bending to question that very institution of slavery, which led to its abolition. Similar is the case now, but much deeper than earlier it was.
Alex: How is that so?
Vir: I believe nowadays it has become easy to mind-bend people. There are several means which can be utilised to do so.
Alex: Like what?
Vir: Like social media, television, education, societies and so on. These are the media used whether directly or indirectly to mind bend the people.
I believe the choices made by people are so much influenced by the external environment. For instance, our preference for a particular brand of a particular product. In most cases, such choice is influenced by societal appreciation or perception of a specific brand. What do you think? Is that not the case with us?
Alex: I cannot deny that aspect. Certainly, even when we are discussing this topic, we are very much influenced by different dimensions. I cannot say clearly that it is my independent choice about a particular decision.
Vir: Yes… The same is with me and so is with the other people.
Alex: Now, tell me is it good or bad?
Vir: I cannot say anything specifically about it. It is a matter of discussion. It can be good, bad or even neutral. It completely depends upon the situation. It is difficult or even in some cases more than difficult to understand that one is being influenced or being manipulated.
Alex: So how can we make free choices?
Vir: People, institutions and so on keep on developing discourses or trends, norms ethical values suitable for their sustenance. Take the case of China, where the Communist Party keep on spreading its influence by controlling almost every aspect of life to ensure its sustenance.
Alex: Yes… The particular profession is preferred while others are seen in low light and whatnot. But, the important aspect is how can one rise above it and get rid of that mind-bending.
Vir: Like in case of any problem first and most important step is to accept that there is one. And I believe this is the hardest and most important step in any problem resolution.
Alex: Then what?
Vir: Then in this case we need to change our thinking and our perspective about the world. I mean one should prefer a multi-dimensional look at any issue. Also we should I believe question almost everything in our life. Like, take the case of the education system. Here students or other stakeholders should question the method of rote learning and whether it is helpful or not..
Alex: Yes… That can help one look at issues critically and walk towards the truth.
Vir: Exactly… once people start questioning they then try to seek answers, which I believe is the panacea to avoid mind-bending.
Such a tendency can help solve multiple problems in our society.
Alex: Ha… truly. Like hate speech, fake news and so on. In the case of hate speech people would try to look at it with reason rather than emotions. It would help ensure peace in society.
Vir: Exactly… But such questioning should not be just for the sake of questions. They should emerge from the deep desire to find the truth, which leads to the achievement of true freedom and liberation.
Alex: Right… It would lead to chaos and society would crumble.
Vir: And we are social animals and need society to live a fulfilled life.
But that society should not be oppressive, but based on justice, truth and reason.
Alex: Yes… In such a society people would resist mind-bending and question societal norms.
Vir: Yes… It is the most urgent need of this century, considering the prevalent chaos in the world, wars etc., And I hope that people will develop the ability to think critically to tackle mind-bending and utilise for the good of society.
Alex: Certainly, I hope the same.