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Many readers may be unfamiliar with the terms in the book's title, but Bob Gebelein provides a simple, reader-friendly definition to explain the premise of his book: "Human beings as social creatures are immersed in a sea of other people's thoughts. This mental environment, like the air, is invisible, but also like the air it has an affect on our lives, especially if it is polluted," Gebelein says. "By 'mind pollution,' I just mean things we are persuaded to believe that are not accurate." He shows readers how to free their mental environment from mind pollution. The book dissects the most important thought influences in modern culture and shares Gebelein's own journey toward creating a new way of thinking and living. Gebelein believes psychotherapy is key to mental and spiritual growth, and says undergoing psychotherapy will bring greater understanding to the concepts in his book.
The Mental Environment (Mostly about Mind Pollution)
Omdega Press (2007)
Reviewed by for Reader Views (3/08)
The author Bob Gebelein defines mind pollution as “…any thought, idea, fiction, hypnotic suggestion, judgment, etc. – any mental input – that makes one’s view of reality less accurate.” The author extensively discusses these inaccuracies. He uses both research and his own personal experiences to delve deeply into the subject. He feels that mind pollution is mainly created by “social manipulation.” We are conditioned to believe that if we don’t think as others, we won’t belong. Normative pressures influence us to feel the need to fit in with the norm. Ridicule is used extensively by society to keep people at a level where our culture feels they belong. This can be erroneous and limiting to one’s personal growth. He sees our cultural as currently being heavily influenced by three areas: religion, academia, and the New Age Movement. He uses examples of the New Age Movement from the Course in Miracles.
Gebelein started contemplating his own personal experience at age nine. In “The Mental Environment,” he discusses the paths that he took to find answers. This included extensive sessions in psychotherapy. He also discusses dream analysis and hypnotism. The information that he provides outside of his own personal experience is referenced. This material is very deep and complex. I found that his candid personal experiences helped bring more meaning to the material and make it easier to understand.
Gebelein discovered that sometimes it is necessary to spend time in solitude so that we can free our minds of the pollution that comes in from outside sources. He relates a personal experience that he had. He also refers to Thoreau’s experience at Walden Pond. Solitude without the influence of cultural input helps a person to truly be able to hear and think for himself. The more aware that we become about how our mental environment influences us, then the more we can work on freeing ourselves.
I found the information presented in “The Mental Environment” to be profoundly true . I do not like knowing that my outside environment has so much influence over my inside environment. This is something that I had already been contemplating on my own. The media does a wonderful job of manipulating me and my friends into buying expensive products that we really don’t need, just so we can fit in. I need to take more stock in my life to decide what I really think I need to be content vs. what the outside world is trying to convince me I need. If nothing else can convince me that I need to make some changes, it is the thought that I am being manipulated and controlled by forces outside myself. It’s time for me to shut off the TV, cancel the magazine subscriptions and just sit down and breathe deeply. This is a book that should not be missed. When you read “The Mental Environment” and see the intrinsic value that it holds, you will want those close to you to read it as well so that you can share in the changes that you will ultimately want to make in your life. Kind of ‘Mind Controllish’ sounding, but this time the choices will be coming from within you.