stupefying, mindless, or obedient?

Extra post today!!

I just finished writing my last post on “Education” when I got a comment on it from Hudson Howl (thanks) and a new post in the inbox from Speccy. Read this one!! It is about how George Osborne was booed at the paralympics, and it refers to another great blogger, Sue at Diary of a Benefit Scrounger. Speccy and Sue write differently, but clearly, with compassion and often with a good whack of anger, but somehow never ever with self-pitying or whingeing or arrogance about others. [Fun and joy there too]

The context of these two posts is very British, but it seems to me there are equivalent types of systems everywhere inadequate humans have tried to balance the economy and pretend hope we are still good people who look after those less fortunate who can’t manage for themselves. But what I have just written is maybe exactly the problem, the economy is put first, and the need is second, or way down the list, as if some of us are UP and some are DOWN, some of us HAVE and some of us HAVE NOT, rather than all different, with different needs and abilities and we are all in the one system, one world, and forget to co-operate and get on with doing what we can, knowing others too do what they can. And no-one is saying it is even or fair or that it isn’t going to need a lot of work to make it a better world/way of living in it.

So this is how it connects with my recent education post:

I boil over often about how much education by well-meaning people is appalling, in its capacity to stupefy, to create mindless followers, to make out of anyone what my sister calls “Blind Obedience” especially in that the blindness is that the stupefied person does not know they are stupid.

So much education ignores we are all in it, in a moving living system, and much of what we do is in actuality ‘mindless’ by which I mean unconsciously motivated and not understood thoughtfully. Emotion, reaction, unconscious, happens first, before you even start awareness – that’s why it’s mindless. There are loads of psychological experiments about this, the most famous probably Milgram, who got some people to apparently give other people lethal electric shocks. The issue in all of this is that of AUTHORITY. People, especially including me, are very very likely to mindlessly obey anyone or any instruction they see as an appropriate authority.

Unless, they observe themselves doing it. Then they are able to stop and think, in mind, can even assess what sort of authority is speaking, and is it appropriate.

As my parents (appropriate authority, see?) would have said … Catch yourself on… Thank you thank you Mum and Dad and many since who gave me space to “Catch myself on”,  at least often enough.

So I think many of those in positions of power, have got there because their own particular brand of mindlessness never lets them catch themselves on, they have become STUPEFIED. They keep going, along the track, well-trodden, well learnt, passed on by a stupefying mindless authority now in their own heads. They fool others as well as themselves, look as if they know what they are doing. They do, they are carrying on as things have always been done.

Anyone who has a vote and votes in any context/country for this kind of mindless power, anyone who is with others, say teaching?, say parenting?, catch yourself on, ask who is this authority being used for, me, or the other I am ‘helping’. And then ask again, but if you are like me where one of the blind obedience rules is was self-doubt, then do something, the best you can at the moment, paralysis is another kind of stupefaction, and don’t forget to look at what happens with curiosity, interest and no calling yourself ‘stupid’. So…



Then your reaction will shift to being a response. If there are times you might have to ‘go along to get along’ that is different. You are not passing mindlessness on. Good luck. Enjoy living.

[References re the power and how people in authority can use/misuse/abuse the power they have are all over the web. If you are theoretically minded, there is a great but psychoanalytically technical paper, “The Fascist State of Mind” by Christopher Bollas, which you do not have to believe just because someone of that ilk wrote it.]


2 thoughts on “stupefying, mindless, or obedient?

  1. Again more shtufffs to think about an more links to follow, thank you!

    My knee jerk reaction, as most always is to relate in terms of my own life; labeled a slow learner, introverted etc etc but artistic ‘oh ya never was easy with that one as it was most often said in ‘freakishly different from others’ tone – all of which are someone else’s markers ‘mindlessly’ handed out by some authority and their disciples. Turns out I wasn’t a slower learner, am actually a faster learner am just slow to respond. I needed and need time to decipher, tear it apart and draw my own conclusions. Introverted – I now take as complement -goes right along with taking time to make ones own conclusions and responses. Artistic? That might explain why I exist as a enigmatic persona of digital vapour.


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