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Understanding mental bondage

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Mental slavery remains the biggest form of oppression till this day. New insights or ideas are what shines freedom from such an oppression — Unarine Ramaru.

Mental bondage refers to limitation in cognitive ability, inherent incapacitation in thought or any form of mind inhibition. A common phenomenon among mortals of all races and realms, countries and climes, mental bondage is neither easily discerned nor acknowledged. The effect is that most often, those who are mentally enslaved mount the podium of sanctimonious audacity and labour diligently in self-elevated altars of hubris. Truly, we live in a global enclave, which houses many enslaved minds.

Mental bondage is normally clothed in the attire of the seductress. Initially, it is appealing and attractive, encouraging and enchanting but at the end it hurts and harms, weakens and is full of wastage. Mental bondage is like the proverbial frog, which was enjoying the warmth of boiling water until the heat became unbearable

Mind the trend of events. Selfish sleeking. Seductive permutation. Salacious manipulation. Slipping into slumber. Then arrive the undertakers. The dirge tolls.

However, mental bondage can be achieved through another strategy. It can be forced and fastened on the individual or populace. In psychological researches, the idea of captive audience is commonplace. Yet, the door of personal choice is not entirely shut in such oppressive and obtuse event. The human soul has an absolute potency to choose between bondage and breakthrough, fear and faith, death and life, regardless the extremity of the conditions.

Yet, there exists a third condition, which enslaves and emasculates mortals into mental bondage. People get into slavery by yielding to unconscious motives. The cumulative impact of unresolved projections as well as autosuggestions can and does enslave many mortals. After responding a few times to these unconscious or subconscious drives, the individual becomes hooked to slavish patterns. For instance, agoraphobia (fear of open or public spaces) can be acquired by allowing subconscious or unconscious fear to develop and overshadow the mind. Instead of digging deep into the mind to unravel the real root cause of the fear, one allows it to linger until it develops into a threatening monster.

Generally, people get enslaved to their cherished ideas, passionate desires or innermost longings. Unfortunately, most of these passions and longings are degenerative, dangerous and destructive. Yet, like the hog in the mire, mortals swim in depravity. The multitude of malfeasance, malevolence and maladaptive behaviours, which characterise mankind today are largely situated in the theory of indulgence in personal lust and lucre. Think of the root cause of such horrendous acts such as debauchery, malice, incest, sexual violence, murder, homicide, genocide, ethnic cleansing, robbery, arson, slave trade and their likes. None of these evils can thrive in a healthy mind. The perpetrators are all slaves of bestial passions.

The fact remains that every form of criminal and condemnable activity is a product of the mind. In the same way, every type of creativity and crowning first resided in the human mind. Made or marred, noble or ignoble, being successful or a failure, is the creation of the mind. This is the reason why the mind is the most powerful machine in the entire universe. Nobody can succeed or fail beyond the realm of their mental ability.

Like someone rightly said, the mind is a goldmine. Consequently, enslaving the mind not only leads to limiting productivity but more dangerously to wastage of great resources. Mental bondage is consequential and systemic wastage of unlimited resources. Consider for an example, a retrogressive policy like forbidding females from acquiring education. The damage and danger of such mental bondage is both huge and generational in negative impact.

Mental bondage is dangerously infectious. The influence is so devastating that the oppressor remains resolute in the implementation of this nefarious agenda. Like wild fire during a strong harmattan season, the fear unleashed by the oppressor harasses, hinders and hamstrings the oppressed into mental bondage. More dangerously, these flames of fear stretch and seduce the larger populace. Recall a case like motorists turning back on a particular road. The consequent behaviour is without investigating the cause of the problem; most motorists would quickly turn back.

Victor Hugo, a survivor of several years of incarceration and oppression rightly noted that the greatest weapon of the oppressor is to gain dominion over the mind of the oppressed. Never let the oppressor or dictators in your home, office, business or government take your mind captive. This is the greatest warfare mortals will ever fight and win.

Studies in Mental Bondage form an essential aspect of abnormal psychology or psychopathology. In fact, emotional and mental disorders are products of mental bondage. Unfortunately, mental slavery neither respects socioeconomic status nor political advantage. As far back as 2013, I had unequivocally sent out a clarion call in the form of an article in a reputable national daily newspaper for the need to conduct psychological test for prospective political leaders in Africa. The need to assess and ascertain the mental status of our political leaders as well as those in other spheres of life such as economic, community, health, and educational and even religious domain mounts up daily.

Think of some political leaders whose performance in office has no significant bearing with their campaign promises; economic and business leaders who waste company resources while their employees are starving; community leaders who are insensitive to the basic needs of their citizens; religious leaders blinded by pride engage in forms of harmful activities against the faithful. All these are manifestations of mental bondage. The logic is that bondage breeds more bondage while liberation engenders more freedom.

Truly, mental bondage is the worst form of bondage because it captures the core or centre of the personality. Consequently, the mind governs the body as well as affects the spirit. We are all exactly who we are in our minds. Noble or ignoble, sane or insane, successful or failures, saved or lost, free or bound; are all products of the mind. This is the reason why we must all endeavour to liberate our minds, nurture, feed it with quality materials until it truly functions as the goldmine it was created to be.

In seeking to understand mental bondage, there exist divers forms of relationships between the oppressor and the oppressed. It is commonplace for the latter to be mentally enslaved. The reason being that the oppressed bears the brunt and bestial consequences of the oppressor. In another occasion, both parties end up as victims of mental bondage. In this occasion, the manifestations of mental bondage such as bestial viciousness, insensitive lifestyle and unbridled wastage of resources increase in leaps and bounds. The third form of the relationship is an ironic one wherein, the oppressed enjoys mental freedom but the oppressor is dangerously bound and fettered.

The testimony of the late South African legend Nelson Mandela during his prison years and the struggle for his country’s independence is a true testimony of this ironic form of mental bondage. Kept in solitary confinement for over twenty-seven years, Mandela kept his mind alive. After his release he refused to yield to bestial passions. In his own words, the Mandiba said that, ‘ resentment is like drinking poison and hoping that it will kill your enemies. As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison’.

In concluding, let me invite the reader to follow Mandela’s example. Anyone and every victim of mental bondage need freedom. It is a personal right and it can be obtained and enjoyed. Shortly, I will return to the pathway of mental freedom.

• Amaraegbu lives in Lagos.


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Mental Bondage
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