The Captive Mind and Freed Mind


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The captive mind is an amazing piece of writing by a polish Nobel Laureate, Czesław Miłosz, published in 1953. Though it looks like an anti-communist book, it is clearly a method that he applies to understand the process of Marxism and gets disillusioned with it when he arrives at contradictory conclusions. The work is a masterpiece in understanding how the human mind is enslaved “degree by degree” by the “New Faith” and “New Philosophy”, in this case, the dialectical materialism.

However, the value of the book lies in how the language becomes the source of limited thinking and hence skewed worldview that gets cultivated in that language milieu. It becomes impossible for the individuals to escape from the circularity of the language and the new words.

In India, in the past and the process continues even today, the human minds are enslaved through the myths and now increasingly through language which enslaves the people and do not let them think beyond a particular circle created by Brahminical Hindu religion. The mind gets spiralled down into thinking things which do not free people but in return reinforces that particular way of thinking and being. This is what exactly happens when the Hindu fundamentalists are trying to create the intellectual slavery degree by degree and slowly bringing in people to their own way of thinking and seeing the world.

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Milosz described it as the enslavement through consciousness and people are made slave through their own thinking and being in a certain way. Babasaheb Ambedkar knew the power of Brahminical myths and Rahul Sanskrityatan saw through this Brahminical game as to how Brahmins create and spin myths after myths to perpetuate the enslavement of the masses myth by myth, word by word, and ritual by ritual.

Babasaheb Ambedkar helped to break this enslavement when he left that process which creates the captive mind and he unleashed a new process that frees the human mind. This is what he exactly did in Nagpur when he embraced Buddhism. He rejected the myths, the enslaving words, and the inhuman culture that makes one human being think lowly of another human being. The mind that gets captivated by the caste, its structure, its myths is a mind of the slave which the Brahminical philosophy creates through the process of religious enchantment.

We must all vow to break the force of this captive mind on our own self and help others break free from it. This is the real turning of the wheel of the Dhamma.

Author – Mangesh Dahiwale

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