One of our tasks is to avoid “captive mind” syndrome. A key ingredient in this is avoiding being “vacuumed up” in group mental pressures of the moment. Here’s an example:
Think back to the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, the Kubrick classic from the sixties.
Why is it structured the way it is? The “killer ape” discovers the use of skeletal remains as weapons for killing and a bone flies out of his grasp and becomes the spaceship with Keir Dullea and HAL 9000 (the computer), and the monolith and the space “Mysticism” of Kubrick/Arthur C. Clarke.
All of this comes out of Robert Ardrey’s best seller African Genesis from 1961 which obsessed Kubrick. (Ardrey wrote many famous anthropology books such as The Territorial Imperative).
It starts, “Not in innocence or in Asia was mankind born.”
The “not in innocence” refers to the killer-ape aspect of man: man is a talking murderous ape, according to this view.
Not in Asia refers to Africa as “cradle of humanity,” hence “not in Asia.”
All of this Robert Ardrey mental fashion imbued Kubrick and the movie. It comes out of Ardrey’s encounter with Raymond Dart of Witwatersrand University who argued that fossils of early man show signs of blunt force trauma (such as the find, Taung Child) and this indicates that man is basically a kind of killer by nature. This confirmed Dart’s experience as a medic in World War I, where he was traumatized by all the brutality. From 1925 and Dart’s announcements from Africa, these beliefs began to infect all thinking worldwide and the writer Robert Ardrey was the “Saint Paul” of these beliefs with Dart as the origin.
By the time one gets to Arthur C. Clarke/Stanley Kubrick and the movie 2001, this “mindset” (i.e., Dart/Ardrey/World War I/killer ape view) tyrannizes the atmosphere worldwide.
All of these beliefs were refuted later but at the time it was most difficult to fend off this “vacuum cleaner” of intellectual atmosphere.
Thus a task of education is realizing the rigid “pre-shaping” of the mind that can easily sweep one along since one is semi-blind to the very existence of such a “Zeitgeist bullying” and its grip on our intellectual “invisible axioms.”