Mental Pollution and Society
Let’s take the case study: you have been hearing constantly about one life-threatening disease or another hitting the human race every few months. Recently Covid 19 has made a permanent home in our news feeds. How it spreads, what kind of a virus is it? How and how often does it mutate. How long does it take to incubate, the potent vaccine when and if ever invented to save humans from it?
In short from getting infected to finally in the grave you come across a constant stream of disaster reporting, whether you are exposed actively or passively these days is no less than a pandemic itself. It elevates stress levels and triggers symptoms like anxiety and trouble sleeping. We are talking about something (a virus) we cannot see and have no control over, but seeing all the damages it’s putting from health to economy.
Let me introduce you to phenomena you might be suffering from unknowingly that needs to be addressed or at least be known widely.
Some years ago when huge billboards captured our fascination and all the fashion industry giants jumped to the opportunity to display their brands at all the prominent places of the city. One local brand decided to strategically place a ginormous billboard featuring a very famous and gorgeous foreign model to represent their clothing line at one of the flyover bridges. Now the placement was made as such that this huge billboard was visible right from the hike of the bridge until you passed it over an almost impossible curve. At which if a driver didn’t pay attention to manoeuvre at a reduced speed. He was bound to hit the wall at a deadly speed. My city saw some horrible accidents at that point causing loss of lives and monetary damages. This fashion brand took pride in securing that expensive strategic spot and causing havoc in those few weeks.
What is Mental Pollution?
Physical environments significantly influence our cognition, emotions and subsequent behaviours, including our relationships with others. Use of the internet was not very common in two decades ago. The majority of people were still saved from online hazards. But now internet use is considered as important as food. The effects may be a more subtle yet rampant form of distraction.
Imagine the incomparable amount of uncontrolled exposure to images of different sizes, qualities, and shapes displayed on billboards, shop windows, posters, brochures, magazines, ads, TV, movies, videos, websites – that flood our senses. That result in massive ‘mental pollution’. Does the term seem new? You might have experienced but not know it consciously. It is one of the main reasons why so many people cannot accomplish maximum performance academically or professionally.
This might need some detailed explaining when a seemingly harmless activity can have detrimental effects.
What Happens Then…
We unnecessarily complicate stuff when, to shake off the intense nagging of responsibilities towards family, work and even personal self-enhancement or even as simple as tidying up the home. We instead start to procrastinate. The procrastination in turn leads to chaotic and disturbing emotions ranging from a sense of insecurity, incapability, shame and guilt and unmet deadlines.
Generally, people complain of having a confused state of mind. That they cannot concentrate. The feeling of boredom now sets in faster and the main reason is constant mental stimulation. The applications like tik tok and fast motioned videos have conditioned us to jump from one thing to another without finishing first. While our minds are designed to expect the closure to make sense of any situation. It leaves us confused with no connection between situations.
Poor Learning and Memorization
Students say that the process of memorizing and learning lessons now takes longer than in the past, and forgetfulness is like an infection. It has become prevalent among all levels of society due to polluted minds teeming with irrelevant information. The bombardment of unwanted stimulation is consequently deteriorating focus and concentration. We experience fragmentation of thought and poor decision-making ability.
Procrastination an Added Weight
Procrastinating is a double-edged sword. We put off immediate concerns to get over the feelings of boredom, loneliness or depression and spend time on social media when we should be attending to more important things only adds up to the feeling frustration and not achieving anything because you may be using it as a way to distract yourself from unpleasant feelings or self-soothe your moods.
Bullying Behind the Screen
A very common modern-day form of harassment is cyberbullying. Taken in the stride of modern democratic need called freedom of speech, cyberbullying is a sinister form of bullying that can drive people into a deeper mental health crisis when they see that you have no control over the things people post about you and spread malicious gossip. Social psychology says that people say and do things in an environment where they will not be recognized by people that matter. Owing to anonymity aspect of forums seems to give a free pass to people hiding behind a screen to say horrible things to each other including personal critique.
Acceptance of Impropriety
Think now for one thing these unwanted images are mostly in defiance to a decent culture and general morals. Things that no one religion has claims on. It distresses a person’s mental energy when suddenly feel short of self-confidence because you subconsciously got exposed to an image or a comment that demean your worth. Discontentment with our lives stems from these unconscious comparisons with the unattainable and to some extent impossible pictures of beauty and possessions.
Dwindling Self- Worth
In the race of being popular and inventing a personal identity. At that point of age self-worth is derived outwardly at tender impressionable school-age young people feel pressure to post regular content about them to get comments or likes or respond quickly and enthusiastically to friends’ posts. Our whole sense of self-esteem relies on a number of likes and approval from strangers that don’t even matter.
No Time to Reflect
The consequence of this pandemonium is that we ignore that most important side of being human. Having no time for self-reflection, every spare moment is filled by engaging with social media or leaving you little or no time for reflecting on who you are, what you think, or why you act the way that you do—the things that allow you to grow as a person.
Mental pollution has greatly compromised our abilities to respond to situations, make effective decisions, correlate scenarios, understand our own emotions, and develop a meaningful relationship not only with others but with our self. Not to mention resurrecting our frail moralities.
It is of utmost necessity to identify our personal reasons of mental pollution to achieve our full mental capacity. We cannot attain peace until a serene state of mind to be able to connect better with the world around us.