I’ve just finished reading this book – Free Your Mind – Laura Dodsworth & Patrick Fagan – which I would highly recommend. This is a follow on from Laura Dodsworth’s previous book – A State Of Fear – which went into some considerable detail as to how fear was deployed in order to get the populace to comply with the measures that were imposed upon us during the Covid ‘crisis’ in 2020 and 2021. What follows is my attempt at writing a book review, an art I’ve never been able to fully master!
The strap line on the front cover is: The New World Of Manipulation And How To Resist It. At some level, most of us realise that we’re being manipulated into thinking and behaving in certain ways by advertisers, journalists, corporations and governments. This is sadly, tragically even, an integral part of modern life. People react to this manipulation in a variety of ways from zoning it out, finding coping mechanisms to deal with it and sometimes, simply falling for it and going along with whatever is suggested to us by the aforementioned advertisers, journalists, corporations and governments.
The aim of Free Your Mind is to help people strengthen their coping mechanisms in order to be able to filter out the numerous ways we’re being manipulated, making it easier for them to think for themselves. In a media saturated, permanently online society, filtering out all of the attempts to manipulate and control us is bloody hard work and that’s something that’s acknowledged in the book. Nothing we really desire in life ever comes easily, and filtering out the crap we’re bombarded with in order to be able to freely think for ourselves comes with the price tag of a struggle.
What Free Your Mind does well is examine all of the ways that are used to persuade and cajole us into the patterns of behaviour and consumption desired by our corporate masters and then offer rules to adopt that give us the chance to put up some resistance. Yes, I know that may be entering the realms of the ‘self help’ manuals that some of my former comrades would decry! However, there are times when bullet point summaries can be incredibly useful, particularly when they come at the end of a chapter that forensically takes apart an aspect of how we’re getting manipulated.
What I appreciated was the refreshing honesty of the authors in admitting that they have been taken in by manipulation. Also, the admission by Laura Dodsworth that she was addicted to Twitter and that she had to go to a retreat for a digital detox was a welcome one. None of us are perfect and we’re all liable to fall prey to the numerous and continuous attempts to manipulate and control us. The fact that Free Your Mind is written from this honest perspective makes the book a lot more credible and useful than one loftily penned by someone who has never succumbed to any attempt at manipulation, and is a so called paragon of virtue when it comes to managing how they use social media.
Anything that can foster a climate of healthy scepticism and of questioning what’s being done to us and why it’s being done to us, is welcome in these weird and increasingly dystopian times. While there is a growing climate of scepticism and cynicism towards the media saturated society we have to endure, contributions that helps to clarify these feelings and galvanise people into taking action to regain a sense of autonomy are more than welcome. So on that basis, I would definitely recommend reading Free Your Mind, not just for the guidance on how to resist manipulation, but also for the analysis of the ways that we get manipulated, cajoled and controlled.
Lastly, but by no means least, I feel obliged to point out that as a political activist, a significant part of what I do is attempting to change how people see things and galvanise them into taking action. In other words, I’m also in the game of persuading and manipulating people to change the way they act! None of us are innocents in this game, none of us at all… It’s just that some actors are more professional because they have an immense amount of resources to back them up. The problem is that those with the most resources have the most nefarious motives in wanting to manipulate our minds. All the likes of us malcontents have are our integrity, our actions, our words and our memes…
Please note that these memes are copyright free so you can share and use them as you see fit:)