Monday, February 21, 2005

How we get indoctrinated

Azly Rahman
14 Feb 2005

To understand how our consciousness is constantly being fragmented, and how the self is constantly deconstructed and reconstructed, and how ‘truth’ is an ever-changing ‘construct’ based on the intended and unintended designs of forces of economic and cultural production, we must understand what ‘indoctrination’ means.

A doctrine is a set of concepts produced from a particular point of view that is then packaged by the believers into a regime of truth that is then propagated via enabling technologies. Indoctrination then is a process of enforcing the doctrine that contains ‘truth-force’.

The believers of a doctrine often use the state apparatuses (the branches of government, the media, and the educational sector) to further promote the doctrine. Intellectuals that become promoters of ideology become the ‘intelligentsia’. Hence, at every epoch of human progress the intelligentsia is produced through whatever kind of political state that is established.

Let us look closer at how ‘truth-force’ works in the process of indoctrination. How might this force become brutish and violent in the way it shackles the human mind? How might ignorance be multiplied and becomes hegemonic?

There are many ways ‘truth-force’ can be funneled into the minds of the people for example, through education and the means of modern communication. ........

Truth-force and theocracy

The producers of truth may tell the people anything that may strike fear in their hearts, strip them off the necessity to think and to philosophsise.

“It is better to be feared than to be loved,” said Machiavelli.

The poor, ignorant, and the meek, as well as the sure and confused among us will all be saved in this grand design of the production of truth.

Why do we need to follow this and that law of the theocratic state when we sense that there is something oppressive about it? Why do we need to surrender our individuality to the dictates of a few theocratic leaders who came into power through a successful production, promotion, and propagation of the ‘truth-force’?


The believers in a theocratic state live in a tight regime of truth. Higher truths become unattainable because the free will and freedom to philosophise is weakened and slowly destroyed.


In a theocracy, people become afraid to think. Because, to question and to think means to subvert one's belief system. It is better to have all of the answers than some of the questions, say these people.

There is the fear of being drawn into polemics as well as into the complexities of things that make authoritarianism the best alternative. It is this feeling that makes those in power produce more and more ‘truth-polices’.

We must begin to become scientists and philosophers that will inquire into the practice and the future of theocratic states. We must engineer a ‘renaissance’ in the practice of statehood.


Let us not be afraid to think, to question assumptions/status quo, to voice any dissecting views as Singapore doesn't belong to the govt or the elite few but to all Singaporeans.

Let us be the makers of our own history.