By Promod Puri
Distorted, false, or unrealistic information twist our thinking. As of result, our perceptions are flawed.
Endeavoring for the true nature of things helps brain circuits to function naturally in the evolution of a sound and conscientious or attentive mind.
Human brains are built for sophisticated and complex activity. It is in this role and treatment that logical and well-grounded thinking can be fostered.
In addition to that, our simple thinking processes play a significant role in invigorated and stimulating brain functioning. These simple functions involve self-discerning and grasping of ordinary tasks and their executions.
In the contemporary tech and virtual world, most of the very basic thinking processes can be taken over by gadgets. For example, Roomba, the cleaning robot, or Alexa, Amazon’s cyber info help. Or when we google to retrieve a word sitting at the tip of the tongue, instead of exercising the brain to do the recall.
With these gizmos and “hey google” help services, in our day-to-day activities, there is likely little left for our brains to do.
Keeping our brains active by doing easy tasks along with the gathering of authentic and honest information and knowledge can help in forming rational and sound opinions and judgments.
Conceived opinions and judgments influence our mindset viewpoint. And most of the time, our actions and reactions are based on retrieving the intellect from the installed position.
Mindset basically means pre-set assumptions or beliefs that are ready to be applied without or with the least entry of new inference or reasoning to a situation or issue. It is a predisposed state of mind, a psychological construct that can be rigid or subject to change.
In a world where our social, political, and religious preferences become our mindset views, this outlook must be created only by logical and judicious approaches. With that rational infusion, the mindset discernment resides well in our intellectual senses that are not compromised by false information.
In politics, mindset views are often generated thru an efficient propaganda assembly line. For example, the mindset impression is that Cubans are well taken care of, happy, and enjoy the fundamental freedoms under the Communist regime. But the ground realities are different. Over 50 years of being in power, Fidel Castro was successful in converting false information and claims to be accurate within Cuba and the world. A period of half-century is enough to impact the genetics of mindset behavior as repeated lies appear honest.
The situation in Venezuela under the dictatorial rules of late Hugo Chavez and now Nicoles Maduro is no different. Appalling living conditions in the country have forced many poor Venezuelans fleeing to neighboring nations like Columbia. But the Leftist minds don’t accept a breakdown of the system reported even thru the eye of the independent media.
What exactly is going on in Putin’s Russia or Xi Jinping’s China is not transparent. In the coverup, what comes out is the processed news that feeds the mindset views globally. In the authoritarian and autocrat regimes, propagated indoctrination is a crucial part of the regulated strategies.
The myth of overall happiness and contentment not only prevails in the Left or Communist domains involved in brainwashing their own peoples, and the rest of the world. Established democracies also indulge in forming mindset thinking in public thru disinformation, hype, and publicity. In a democratic setup, the Left and Right political commitments are quite conspicuous as “Red and Blue” mindsets.
We can recognize no political system is perfect for producing the results the public wants for its peace and welfare. And even if the systems are ideal in principle, their execution is subject to the manner these are manipulated by the leaderships and received by the societies. Still, the mindset convictions are groomed in both the socialist and capitalist structures. The implantation is manifested in all the political ideologies and their running systems.
The political Left-Right binaries seem to be eternal. These binaries reside well in the ideological mindset status quo of socialism and capitalism while the world is getting more integrated through the development of the internet and social media.
In the contemporary world, production and reproduction of fact-based information and knowledge should impact our mindset political views. But this is not happening. Rather extremes of Left-Right scenario we often observe across the globe give a fair assessment of how templated attitude stagnates political thinking.
Left and Right commitments have become our political deadends. We’re not taking the humanistic pathway either where we can set our minds nourished in ethical convictions.
In the realm of religion, most people do not read the fundamentals of scriptures. They gather their religious knowledge or information, not from the revered books. Preferably that is delivered thru the third party, mostly the priest class. The education or learning we receive can be biased or prejudice. But this is where the mindset views are embedded that often stay lifelong or even passed on to the next generation.
In the mindset commitments, both theists and atheists are firm on their radical views if god exists or does not. Over the centuries, both have struck themselves with the myth or non-myth of god. In this approach, separate isms have emerged as atheism and theism. And where the former has a more committed mindset in denouncing the latter rather than putting forward its own non-theist agenda.
Nonetheless, atheism and theism have not gone much further in creating a logical understanding of the natural-world or God.
We often debate that God was self-created, or He is just an imaginative creation of man. But that should not be an issue either. The rational non-set contemporary mind would welcome re-inventing the institution of God.
In this exercise, seeking the practicality of God in its moral-based messages is more acceptable rather than a non-visible physical image residing up there, somewhere.
But we do not want to disturb the status quo of mind struck more in His physical existence rather than seeking His active involvement in our lives.
In social behavior, too, people with mindset attitudes related to race, class, or caste do not think outside the box. The discriminatory behavior toward fellow human beings constitutes the worst kind of mindset attitude practiced all over the world.
The centuries-old caste system in the Indian sub-continent is a humiliating mindset practice by the upper caste against the lower caste members of the society. As a result, prejudices are formed that remain firm as a usual way of life.
Sufi poet-philosopher Baba Bulleh Shah touched on the subject of a social mindset. He stressed for a diligent read and review the mindset behavior that impacts the individual and the society one belongs to.
He says: Parh parh Alam te faazil hoya
Te kaday apnay aap nu parhya ee na.
Translation: one reads a lot to become a scholar and all knowledgeable, yet fails to ever read oneself.
MINDSET ATTITUDE IN MOTIVATIONAL MESSAGES
Another aspect of mindset attitude lies in the popular motivational messages we often come across in social media like Facebook.
For example, the catchy phrase we often hear these days is “be positive.” Precisely, we’re advised to have a positive mindset. But a rational mindset can have a negative or positive outlook as well. It depends upon the outside factors that can be controlled, or maybe not.
“Be positive” is quite a motivational message. But its acceptance and preservation are to be based on realistic recognition of the facts.
The expected positive results from the “be-positive” attitude, in most cases, do not come automatically. For that outcome, the “be-positive” sentiment needs to be fed by willpower. And the latter is attained through strong character built over time with moral commitments.
The “be-positive” stay requires patience. That wait can turn out to be negative too. Of course, we can’t be advised: “be negative.” But this advisory relates to caution or apprehension about things we face or undertake.
A positive or negative attitude is subject to change as nothing is permanent in this world. Realities are a changing phenomenon. Their adjustments are a reality too.
And if the mindset is not exposed to the existing or developing realities, with our cemented views, we soon face a concrete dead end.
FIXED AND FLEXIBLE MINDSET
People, who are adamant with fixed mindset views of issues facing them personally or the society they live in, are trapped in their sealed intelligence. While the world out there is changing. Moreover, Political, religious, and social or cultural fanaticism are the results of mindset biases.
A fixed mindset tends to be wired, plugged in, and acts in default mode.
But in principle, mindset is not a settled term. Instead, it is flexible. It can be allowed as a growth mechanism in our cognitive senses. Pope Francis is one example of a changing mindset towards a more rational and contemporary approach towards issues facing the Roman Catholic Church.
Our set views based on beliefs or assumptions, self-introduced or by others, need to be reviewed for their acceptability and pragmatics. That way, mindset creates a powerful incentive based on rational factors in the changing real world.