By Promod Puri
Distorted, false, or unrealistic information twist our thinking. As of result, our perceptions are flawed.
Endeavouring 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. 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 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, there is likely little left for our brains to do in our day-to-day activities.
Keeping our brains active by doing easy tasks and gathering authentic and honest information and knowledge can help form 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 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 power, Fidel Castro successfully converted false information and claims to be accurate within Cuba and the world. A half-century is enough to impact the genetics of mindset behaviour 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 to flee to neighbouring 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 happens 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 authoritarian and autocratic 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 pretty 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 leadership and received by the societies. Still, the mindset convictions are groomed in 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, the production and reproduction of fact-based information and knowledge should impact our mindset and political views. But this is not happening. Rather extremes of the 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, 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 revered books. Preferably that is delivered thru the third party, mainly the priest class. The education or learning we receive can be biased or prejudiced. 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 whether 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 than a non-visible physical image residing 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 behaviour, people with mindset attitudes related to race, class, or caste do not think outside the box. The discriminatory behaviour 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 a diligent read and review of the mindset behaviour 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 see on social media like Facebook.
For example, the catchy phrase we often hear 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 based on realistic recognition of the facts.
In most cases, the expected positive results from the “be-positive” attitude 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 harmful 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, we soon face a concrete dead end with our cemented views.
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 results from 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 toward a more rational and contemporary approach to 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 natural world.