Public Climate

Is mind-controlling always a piece of good fortune?

FREEZE FRAME BY SYEDA AFSHANA

Hitler in his Mein Kampf writes, “How fortunate for those in power that the people don’t think”. If we go beyond the rash dismissal of anything that one of the true scourges of humanity has said, we can sometimes ponder the usefulness of probing the recesses of a dark mind. If Hitler could find a significant soft spot on the intellectual underbelly of civilization, perhaps his words should serve as a warning for the people at large.
      It is really alarming when thinking indolence overtakes people. All aspects of living are influenced. It leads to what they call ‘Lethargic Public Climate’ wherein people get alienated from their political system and feel helpless to effect change. It is for this Lethargic Public Climate that the ineffective regimes over the sub-continent and Asia continue to thrive without much resistance.
      The sordid saga manifests itself in different forms. The disgusting mental attitude overpowers all. People exhibit utmost indifference towards matters of concern. And where any ‘concern’ is at all shown, it is merely meant to establish one-upmanship. Obstructionist mindset is always working inherently. Ideas are treated good or bad because they belong to a particular group or individual, and not because they deserve any merit or otherwise. Negativist approach becomes the hallmark of people at positions of reckoning. Every problem is complicated by making it a myriad of complexities rather than simplifying it. Those who sound dissenting are branded misfits or lunatics, and tossed out of system like cockroaches. A general mistrust prevails. Life moves sluggishly, devoid of any gusto. Days go by and nights pass as such! Thinking inertia augmented with over-all decline, gets converted into a lasting reality. People become more and more unreceptive and unyielding.
      The fact that the ‘public is alive’ can be a huge nuisance for those who take the advantage of its being dead. For the thick-skinned status-quoists among the ruling junta, who fancy slumbering and confused masses, lifeless public is a piece of good fortune. And in places of conflict especially, where umpteen unknown interests and agencies play ‘multiple roles’, it is but natural that the lethargic public climate will thrive and succeed since conflict itself is a creation of this extended period of Lethargic Public Climate perpetuated ad nauseam.
      Needless to say, the political unrest and instability provides the indispensable seeds for kick starting this malady. The contributory factors that in turn breed this climate are economic deprivation, unemployment, regional disparity, communalism, disease, and rampant corruption in public life. And lastly, the silent eulogization and covert sanction to social injustice by the society—it’s bourgeois and intelligentsia. The upshot is a confusing camouflaged picture. A vicious circle.
      History bears testimony that the only human saviours in such desperate situation are the selfless leaders who live by introspection and possess a futuristic vision of their people and their nation. The absence or otherwise of such leadership will only help some future despot to profit by the intellectual apathy of the masses. If not any single despot, it abets the institutionalized despotism, at least.
      It is also very critical to understand as to who controls the minds of the people. Those who do the mind-controlling, have obviously the advantage of controlling the events. As such, the scam of democracy can actually prove as a breeding ground for mobocracy.
      In his paper The Psychology of Crowd Dynamics, Stephen Reicher from University of St. Andrews, Scotland writes-“Because of their transparent historical and interactive nature, crowd events provide an ideal location from which to generate an understanding of our dynamic psychological nature. It is also an ideal location within which to study that nature. There is much to be gained by restoring crowd psychology to the position of prominence it had at the birth of our discipline, but with the ambition of embracing crowd dynamism rather than repressing it”.
      The mobocratisation of public in our State is perhaps a broader scheme of de-emphasizing the real and bringing up the surreal. In the process, there is an attempt to debilitate the intellectual, disillusion the sane and mentally live, and replace the politically mature discourse of a conflict by trivialities. Those were hey days when some of the fertile and genius brains domed the militant and separatist ranks in early nineties. They were neither an accident nor had they evolved from mobs and crowds. Unfortunate as it is, we won’t produce such stuff in the coming times going by the reactionary obsession we are in the grip of.
      They plan we react, they design we make it a success on our streets and the show goes on and on. We keep on offering them whatever and they keep on devouring our assets. The leaders and ring-leaders keep on parroting proforma statements and our intelligentsia rejoices that resistance is going great. The Bakasura is on prowl and we are bracing up for him with our offerings. The vicious circle that has benumbed us as a whole to get wiped out and be gone, one by one. Perhaps we desperately need to pray in the words of Allama Iqbal:
       Imrooz Ki Shurish Main Andaysha-i-Farda Dey…

      (The author teaches at Media Education Research Centre, MERC, University of Kashmir)

Lastupdate on : Sat, 19 Jun 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 19 Jun 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 20 Jun 2010 00:00:00 IST




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