Captive Mind Syndrome and the Society of the Spectacle


  • Anton Carpinschi “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University, Iaşi, Romania



captive mind syndrome, (in)voluntary servitude, society of the spectacle, human fallibility, therapeutic self-reflexivity


We live in a society of generalized and manipulative spectacle. But, repeated and prolonged exposure to misinformation and manipulation favors the occurrence of the phenomenon of the captive mind. Often perceived by many of us as a phenomenon that would not target us directly and personally, we are tempted to consider it banal and harmless (the uninvolved observer approach). Using the method of therapeutic self-reflexivity, this essay proposes a different approach: personalized exploration of the phenomenon of the captive mind and, implicitly, its reception as a syndrome at individual and collective level (the involved observer approach). Exploring captive mind syndrome by identifying and evaluating its symptoms is necessary and useful because, being fallible by our own nature, we can fall into the captivity of limits, illusions, and prejudices at any time. In these circumstances, assuming and converting the fallibility into effective actions are the first steps towards counteracting the syndrome of the captive mind and, implicitly, raising the cultural level of the society of the spectacle. Only the breaking of the vicious circle of the complicity of the captive mind with the voluntary servitude and the society of the generalized and manipulative spectacle could allow the glimpse of the horizons beyond the captive mind.