Being an occasional author and speaker, I spend a fair amount of time observing the act of communication.
Recent events have started us all to thinking, “why does this other person, or group of people, not see or acknowledge the obvious?”
It is easy to jump to an easy dismissal of saying “this machinery of this person’s brain is clearly defective.” This is an inappropriate use of a machine age reference point that we like because we can understand it. After all, if a machine does not work, it’s broken, so if a brain does not work, it must be broken as well. Sometimes we call this being “stupid.”
But I am having trouble with this easy answer, because there are people who can do calculus and other complex tasks who yet seem to be unable to see, comprehend, and acknowledge obvious facts. After observing this for a while, I have come to understand what I call the mind lid.
Eyes and sight are wonderful things. Well, most of the time they are. But every once in a while there is a bright flashing light and it hurts to look at it, so we close our eyes. We occasionally cover our ears and hold our noses too, but the eyes have their own mechanism. And the mind has this capacity as well. Just as the eyeball has the capacity to shut out painful levels of light, the mind also has a capacity to not acknowledge certain information. Actually, the brighter the light, the more the eyes shut in response.
This attribute of the mind is way too juicy of a vulnerability to be left alone by those who seek greater power by any means possible. It is just a theory, but I do believe that much of what is going on in the USA these days, politically, economically, and artistically, all has to do with the misuse of this attribute of the mind.
You see, the more you introduce ugliness or unpleasantness, the more the mind has to shut its perceptions down in order to cope with the pain. Once a large number of people have shut down their own perceptions to protect their spirits from extreme ugliness, they are now intellectually blinded, and must rely upon some other entity for guidance. From a certain angle, this can be very handy. People who think for themselves are the bane of political parties and con artists. If people being intellectually blinded benefits you in some way, you are incentivized to introduced as much ugliness into the public discourse as possible.
Leaping to the side, I hate to be the one to say it, but an awful lot of art we see these days is just . . . ugly. You can call it lofty or high or abstract, but at the end of the day I have to numb myself in response to it.
Art, in my opinion, should be something so gorgeous and pleasant that you actually want to raise your mind lid to better drink it all in, even if that means seeing painful things that you once closed your mind to. I think this is one of art’s primary social purposes, to open perceptions. But when someone plays an abstract piece of music that is just rambling atonal noise, the final result is a callous growing over my perceptions to cope with the unpleasantness. Something similar happens to children of dysfunction; when they grow up, they may have managed to blind themselves to the pain of their past, but then they have kids, the kids force their mind lids open to stuff they don’t want to look at.
We all like to think of ourselves as conscious logical creatures, but this is simply not the case. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, has to limit their perceptions, otherwise the swings from ecstasy to excruciating pain would make us non-functional. We have to have eyelids to make it through the day. We also need mind lids.
Leaping to my grand conclusion, we should not get too distracted by the individuals who are currently running for office. They are not the vile enemy. They are just tools of the political and economic forces that hold so much sway over the electoral process, and the uglier these propagandists can make life appear, the more blinded and thus less able to see the wider truth we all become.