Bounded Choice in Goan Society

By Dr Mukul Pai Raiturkar
18 February 2018 17:08 IST

Some days back there was a suggestion from a group of intellectuals. The “usual suspects” of Goan society whenever it comes to seeking freedom of the mind, reform, scientific temper and spirit of inquiry. Some of these intellectuals are members of the Dakshinayan Abhyan. Some like me are free in the real sense of the word perhaps. Suggestion was that an attempt be made to rename the square adjacent to Pandava Chapel in Aquem as Chandrakant Keni Square. I was informed about this very late by Lokmat Editor Raju Nayak, only after there was a strong objection to this name from the adjacent Church. I was informed probably only to forestall any comments from me and my friends on social media. But I decided to ask some of my “Christian” friends whether they could help out our “usual suspects” in their worthy endeavor. Chandrakant Keni’s work is without a shadow of doubt secular and remarkable. However without a single exception all my friends refused to support this cause. They preferred to make a choice bounded by their social, religious conditioning rather than by unfettered rationality. Or so it seemed to me.

Some more days back I had the opportunity to interact with a Sahitya Academy Award winner “Hindu” Goan who was consistently attacked because that writer was dating a person of another caste. A bounded choice of the same caste mate was systematically imposed on the writer-- by those who went by social, religious, caste conditioning rather than by unfettered rationality. Or so it seemed to me again.

Hence this article to understand the science behind the functioning of Goa’s social collective consciousness -- more so the consciousness that has developed in recent times.

 

“For those who stubbornly seek freedom around the world, there can be no more urgent task than to come to understand the mechanisms and practices of indoctrination” – Noam Chomsky.

 

Bounded rationality is the theory that when individuals make decisions, their rationality is limited by three factors:

  1. The tractability of the decision problem
  2. The cognitive limitations of their minds
  3. The time available to make the decision

 

Bounded rationality implies that humans take reasoning shortcuts that may lead to sub optimal and sometimes self destructive decision making.

Bounded Choice deals with the second of the above three factors --- The cognitive limitation of the mind. A very serious factor.

Bounded choice implies that the boundaries of knowledge are shut tight and reinforced in three specific ways: Through the process of resocialization within the closed belief system, through the use of ideology and through social controls within the system.

Thus in closed, self sealing groups not only is rationality bounded; even choice is bounded. Such closed self sealing, sharply bounded social groups are called CULTS and the binding force on cognitive ability is called cult indoctrination.

Cult indoctrination and freedom cannot coexist -- may it be the freedom of the individual mind or the freedom of the democratic society.

 Bounded rationality may coexist with freedom and is often rectifiable through dispassionate introspection but not bounded choice. Bounded choice is the social manifestation of thought reform arising out of a well coordinated programme of coercive persuasion. Coercive persuasion is the scientific name for brain washing through a carrot and stick approach. The carrot and the stick may be material in nature or spiritual. To rectify bounded choice, the victim has to walk out of the cult and ongoing coercive persuasion. After walking out, the victim needs rehabilitative counseling called Exit Counseling which may last for months, till all traces of indoctrination are gone from the UNCONSCIOUS MIND of the cult victim.

It has to be emphasized at this stage that bounded rationality and/ or bounded choice are not synonymous with militant fanaticism, though they can be the harbingers of militant totalist or separatist fanaticism if not diagnosed and treated within the individual and the collective consciousness of a civilization at an early stage.

A CULT can be either a sharply bounded social group or a diffusely bounded social movement held together through shared commitment to a charismatic leader. It upholds a transcendent ideology (often but not always religious in nature) and requires a high level of personal commitment from its members in words and deeds.

The definition here is not meant to be evaluative in the sense of implying that a group is good, bad, benign or harmful. Rather it is meant to convey a systemic view of such a group, which is composed of a charismatic relationship and a promise of fulfillment along with a methodology by which to achieve it.

Cults are frequently “totalistic” and “separatist”. Cults are totalistic when they are exclusive in their ideology (that is, it is sacred – the only way) and impose on their members systems of social control that are confining and encompass nearly all aspects of life.

Cults are “separatist” when they promote withdrawal from larger society.

Both totalist and separatist persuasions have the potential to acquire militant proportions.

This article is written with the sole intention of shedding some scientific light on the “cult culture” that has emerged in India in recent times.

Reader is welcome to contact me for additional information on cults and their effects on the mind.

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Dr Mukul Pai Raiturkar

Dr Mukul R Pai Raiturkar is a consultant pediatrician & neonatologist practicing in Margao. He is the co-convener of Ami Goenkar, an organisation of secular young Goans working towards a novel approach to religious-political issues of Goa. Son of veteran Goan freedom fighter Mr Ravindranath Pai Raiturkar, he exudes unshakable faith in a liberal, secular and free spirited democracy of India.

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