The Captive Mind

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by Czeslaw Milosz

The examination of Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz's work Insatiability and the Murti-Bing pill plot device that serves as a metaphor for both dialectical materialism and the intellectual deadening brought on by consumerism in Western culture opens The Captive Mind. The second chapter examines how people in Central and Eastern Europe at the time viewed the West, and the third chapter describes the seven different ways that Ketman was used in the people's democracies of mid-20th-century Europe. Ketman is the practice of lip service to authority while hiding personal opposition.

The book's central four chapters then proceed, each of which presents a talented Polish guy who ultimately gave in to the demands of the Communist regime. Alpha, the Moralist, Beta, The Disappointed Lover, Gamma, The Slave of History, and Delta, The Troubadour are all that are known about them. However, it was simple to identify each of the four portraits: Jerzy Andrzejewski is represented by Alpha, Tadeusz Borowski by Beta, Jerzy Putrament by Gamma, and Konstanty Ildefons Gaczyski by Delta.

The concluding chapter of the book elaborates on "enslavement through consciousness," and it concludes with a painful and intimate appraisal of what happened to the Baltic countries in particular.

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— Czeslaw Milosz, The Captive Mind