I have learned a few lessons from Meerloo's book, The Rape of the Mind. First, I have come to understand that the mind is a very strong tool that man possesses. It controls the decisions and actions of an individual as well as determine the personality and the behavior pattern of a person. A person that masters how to manage their mind, then they learn how to take control of every decision they make, both in the short-term and in the long-term. The mind motivates an individual to make decisions, some of which are pleasant while others are wrong. I have also understood that people in influential positions or authority can manipulate and control the thinking process of their subjects. This leads to fear and conditioning.
It is important for one to learn how to control their mind through constant training. This makes it possible to respond appropriately to stimuli like visual and auditory cues (Meerloo, 1961). One of the ways of training the mind to respond to cues is through reframing the thoughts that get in the mind. It starts by engaging in positive thoughts despite the current situation depicting otherwise. Negative thoughts affect the decisions that an individual makes, as it limits their ability to make use of their skills and natural talents. It is also important to train the mind to think differently and embrace positive ideas even though one faces failures in life (Meerloo, 1961). Hence, when one can be trained to respond to an auditory cue by being exposed to different types of voices that require them to make both short-term and long-term decisions. One of the most important lessons that one has to embrace is that it is important to remain calm despite the amount of internal and external pressure that one might be facing. On the other hand, mastering visual cues require constant exposure to different visual elements that can activate the mind to think through both major and minor decisions. The mind stores up images which become easy to formulate ideas in the future concerning what one had digested in the past. Taking control of the mind enables an individual to escape the attacks that happen in life. They reach a high level of maturity.
One inoculates themselves from environmental influences by developing communication and verbal skills that make it possible for one to relate to other men (Meerloo, 1961). This allows one to open up their mind and talk about the thoughts that are in their minds. It acts as a therapeutic experience since people help one ease the negative thoughts in their minds. Speaking with others enables the mind to go through a mechanical process while getting rid of unwanted train thoughts that may influence the negative behavior and perception of an individual. Meerloo (1961) argues that an environment in which a person grows shapes their perception towards life. For instance, when a child grows up in an environment surrounded by love, they will have developed the specific affection feelings towards others despite the negativity they face.
Another way of inoculating themselves from negative influences is by training their mind to remain positive. As an individual grows up, they become independent and have to develop their pattern of thoughts. This means that people who grew up surrounded by people with negative thoughts must train their mind to develop positivity towards life by engaging in conversations with others. They can also interact with people with positive characters who can influence their decision-making abilities. Any personal past that does not add value to the wellbeing of an individual should be cut off from the mind. This creates an opportunity to develop positive thoughts that will help shape the life of an individual later in life. The thoughts and perceptions also shape the illusions and delusions that determine the kind of person they become. A person who is willing to go through a change process will adjust, and even though it might take more time than anticipated, it will generate positive results in the long-term.
I have also learned that people can be trained to respond to the stimuli of cues to kill others and kill self. One of how an individual can control the mind of another is by planting evil thoughts in their minds, which makes them hate other people (Meerloo, 1961). For instance, one can convince one group of people that the second group of people are enemies. Convincing each group of the evil side of the other creates a mental image that the opposite group is indeed an enemy, and any action one group makes is negatively received. This results to hatred and misunderstanding between two groups of people who are fed with negative images about each other with the aim of causing a rift that would make it impossible for persons from either group to relate with each other on a mutual understanding. This increases the possibility of a person from either of the groups killing the others with ease. On the other hand, one can easily kill themselves if they have a negative perception towards life or give up easily. Hence, after going through any struggle, one can easily give up and commit suicide. It is also possible for an individual to influence the other to kill themselves by always stating negative comments about the person. For instance, a prisoner may kill themselves if they get a constant reminder that they will never be free in their lives and will only continue to suffer while in captivity may choose to commit suicide and escape the suffering. Once an individual controls the mind of another, it becomes easy to manipulate and influence the decision-making process. This is because, through brainwashing power, it is easy to capture the mind and directly influence the behavior patterns.
People can be trained to comply with the rules and regulations that govern them by instilling fear in them (Meerloo, 1961). This is because people obey authority because they fear the negative consequences that may follow them if they fail to respect and uphold the rules laid down. The power of suggestion also can shape the behavior of an individual since it sends a message to the brain on what to perceive and expect. Influence becomes hypnotizing when the subject is unable to think independently and have to rely on another person to make personal decisions. This makes it hard for one to use their minds. On the other hand, influence may be termed as a brainwash when the subject fails to develop their ideas or decisions without consulting their leader. In addition, it becomes hard for a follower to detach themselves from another individual, who they consider a leader or influencer, which makes both major and minor decisions on their behalf. The person in authority may threaten the followers of negative consequences if they fail to consult the leader. The constant fear may affect the thinking abilities.
The above lessons have a big impact on my Christian walk since I now understand that a mind is a powerful tool that can lead one to sin even though their body is willing to obey. This means that I should feed my mind with the right content as it has a direct effect on the decisions I make in my Christian life. I have also learned the importance of remaining true to the teachings I receive in my Christian walk since they feed my mind, which in turn shape my perception towards life as a whole. It also influences the type of relationship I maintain with other people, irrespective of whether they subscribe to my Christian values or not. The important thing is ensuring that the mind is free and open from any negativity that may interfere with the beliefs I uphold of ensuring that I do good acts at all times. I have a high chance of influencing people to accept Christianity as long as I can control their minds. This would come from the constant communication I send them as well as reminding them of the need to uphold the values taught in the religion, as it will have an impact on the life they live after they leave earth.
Meerloo, J. A. (1961). The rape of the mind. New York: Universal Library.
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