Entering the mind of protesters

As I am writing this, the sound of protesters at the Supreme Court, outside the Senate buildings and in front of Sen. Mitch McConnell's house is filling the air outside my apartment.

The loud shouting, posters filled with messages and crowd control barriers everywhere are enough to make one feel the world is going crazy.

As undesirable as are protests, they are an opportunity to study the working of the mind of protesters and, for that matter, our own mind, to understand who is in control of it and postmodern influences attacking it.

One place to assess a protester mindset is to understand how free and well directed his or her mind is.

How able is he or she to go within their thinking powers and use them to make wise decisions? How much is he or she free to be himself or herself and not cooped by a crowd mentality? How free are they to make their own free choices no matter to what constituency they belong? In other words, how in control are they in controlling their own thinking?

One of the frightening challenges of our postmodern age is how to resist new sophistical psychological powers aimed at controlling our thinking. Take for example, the advertising world's use of images, slick pithy language, and seductive music and optical illusions to capture our imagination.

A danger exists to a wholesome healthy spirit, as outside influences acquire ever more power over us physically, psychologically, intellectually and spiritually.

Another danger challenging us is a false notion that the human spirit is strong and cannot be suppressed for long, that truth will win out, that those protesting who are under an erroneous illusion will be subdued or die out.

On the contrary, we are learning the painful way how far the power of the state reaches with its public-conditioning organs, and to what terrifying degree it is possible to cripple the spirit, cow the individual and confuse the norms of the valid and the just.

When something outrageous is said, the tendency is to say, "Where is his or her mind at?"

Protesters play an especially significant role in society; they are observers, witnesses, prompting us to notice and correct situations out of order. To accomplish this awesome task requires an extraordinary mind in control of itself, seeking truth and free of undesirable outside influences.

More important, our minds must live the principle that their freedom is a freedom before God. A free mind is a gift from God and, as with all gifts from God, the ultimate good must govern it.

- FatherEugene Hemrick is a columnist for Catholic News Service