What is the Mind and how does it form Political Opinions?
So what is a mind? We all know and use that term all the time, yet even academics and scientists are yet to fully agree on what a mind is.
For some a mind is the private space where thoughts and thinking occur. This includes intentions and will, which might be perceived as energy beyond thought, an impulse or a power of sorts.
When we examine this private mind space we discover a few things. Thoughts arise and disappear; they arise by themselves and disappear by themselves.
Thoughts are often connected to the energies in ones body, sensations and feelings.
If we decide to think about a topic such as politics or our next holiday destination or what to cook for dinner, we can point the mind towards this area of thinking and thoughts will arise related to that subject.
When examining thoughts further we find thoughts arising precisely related to the physical body, such as I am hungry, or I need a pee. Other types of thoughts could be classified as the intellect or creative aspect of the mind, and also heart or feeling based emotive thinking.
As well as this we notice a stream of thinking. What Gary Weber calls the blah, blah, blah mind, a stream of mainly self-referential thinking, similar to a movie narrative of sorts. This part of the mind also becomes engaged for various reasons, such as after an argument with someone, or if trying to solve a work problem for instance. As the digestive system of the body digests food, the brain and its calculations produce thoughts.
A further definition of Mind includes perceptions, the totality of seeing, hearing, sensing, smelling, tasting, feeling, all of these are within what we could describe as Mind.
Indeed some scientists, philosophers and the spiritually awakened, speak similarly when they say that the world itself is just made up of how the brain perceives it. It is like the matrix, we are engaged in an energetic manifestation.
The world is made up of seeing, hearing, sensing etc, all of which themselves are known by the Mind. This knowing, or consciousness, or awareness, is at the heart of all experience. Scientists are still looking for the source of consciousness in the brain, and yet the source is not in the brain, rather consciousness is the source of the universe, and it is the body brain, which is the receptor or satellite dish or radio.
So for some, Mind also signifies Awareness or Consciousness, that which knows and contains and makes up all experiences.
The same Awareness, which is aware of my thoughts and experiences, is the same awareness aware of yours and everyone else’s thoughts and experiences. So there are not many different separate consciousnesses, there is just one universal consciousness. This is what the ultimate truth points us towards; we are like characters in a play of our own making. (In fact we are the play, the actor, the director, the audience the entire shebang.)
Yet regardless of this deeper truth, we all have a private body mind, a private space and intelligence. It is this that we commonly call ‘my mind’, and it holds beliefs and opinions about the world, the world of human affairs and societal functions.
How does a Political Mind form, opinions, beliefs, and policy?
We could look at our private body mind as a computer, what information we input into it will swirl around and beliefs and opinions will form.
In this sense, a young child’s mind is like “clay in the hands of society” (Jack London, White Fang). Most of us therefore are heavily influenced by our parents, grandparents, teachers, siblings and the media consumed when young. These all create deep impressions upon our minds, forming our habits, beliefs, behaviours and opinions. In the field of politics, it creates inherent biases, hatreds and aversions to one political party or system over another.
As we grow up, new influences and experiences arise, and for those with a passion or interest in topics such as politics and society, they can break away from early conditioning and form new beliefs and opinions as they reassess the world.
For example a phrase often mentioned is:
“If you’re not a liberal when you’re 20, you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative by the time you’re 30, you have no brain.”-François Guizot
It also seems apparent that various leaders and their parties become loathed or loved depending on their actions and the groups which they offend or enrich. For example Thatcher and the Conservatives 1980’s UK, still today are either loved or loathed depending who you talk to who was affected by their policies during that period. If someone becomes deeply scarred by the actions of a political party it is likely they can never trust or vote for that party in the future.
Identity politics as mentioned briefly in another article is also key. The mind loves its identities; its identities enhance its existence. That is why when ones views are challenged it can provoke anger and pain. As if one were going to die. A death of a belief or an opinion is like a mini death of minds ego, opinion of itself.
To give a brief example of my conditioning, neither of my parents were political or opinionated. However one set of grandparents were very left wing, labour supporters, who believed in the welfare state and workers rights etc. My other set of grandparents were very right wing, conservatives believing in low taxes and small government.
Both heavily influenced me, and it has meant I have never voted for either one of these two main parties. In fact I could say that I am sickened by both of these two main parties. Although I’m not sure if that is conditioning from my grandparents or from my own observations and experiences of the world.
The good news is I have a good understanding of both sets of views and have a rather centrist libertarian bent if I had to classify it with words. (I’ll write a future article on policy ideas). (Check out political compass for your position.)
What’s my point?
Two main points:
Firstly we need to understand the truth about History, Historical events, Political and Media propaganda and biases as all of these things contribute to the information that we input into our computers (our Minds).
We need to understand what happened and why it happened, what worked and why it worked, what didn’t work, and why didn’t it work.
If we input false facts, and false beliefs, if we input propaganda and illusion, if we input lies instead of truths then we are going to come up with faulty conclusions and solutions.
Media, governments, and schools all dumb things down, history is rewritten, lies are swallowed whole. Quite simply take in a lot of faulty incorrect information is only going to create more problems for our futures.
This is why the truth is so important and we all have a responsibility for educating ourselves as to what exactly has been going on in the past.
There is a created mainstream perception of certain events, which does not explain the truth of matters. Often the truth is complicated and difficult if not impossible to fully understand. However I salute all those who at least take the time to explore these subjects. (I’ll write a future article about the most important of these mainstream lies).
The second point is this; we need to examine our hearts and minds, our wisdom and love and uncover what we believe will work and won’t. I wrote about the scale between love and wisdom, to be frank many people take extreme stances upon this scale, which is often unrealistic and causes unnecessary division.
We must examine our beliefs, and uncover our naivety, at the same time as remaining optimistic and creative. Consensus between us all might then be found.
Peace, Love, Truth.