With youth: Role models are dangerous

Acharya Prashant
2 min readNov 23, 2022

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Question: What role do examples, ideals, and role models play in this process of conditioning?

Acharya Prashant: Role models play a very important, an extremely important role. Since childhood, these great images are given to us. These images are constantly drilled into our minds by society, the media, the education, and it has been told to us that all these are worth following. This process is especially severe on a small child.

We said, “Mind is equal to brain plus intelligence”, but there is something that we have missed out on and which is that brain and intelligence are not two water-tight compartments, not two separate compartments. The brain itself is the seat of intelligence. The brain is not intelligent but the brain is the seat of intelligence. If the brain is not adequately developed or damaged, intelligence won’t operate.

For example, in animals, because the brain is not adequately developed, hence there is no question of intelligence. Similarly, in the case of the child, because yet he does not have enough grey matter in the brain, hence discretion, and free will cannot be there. So the child is dependent. He has to take knowledge, and information from outside and he is exploited.

Instead of the minimal information that the child must be given for his development, he is handed over a lot of beliefs. Even before you can open your eyes, a religion is handed over to you, a nationality is handed over to you and you have no say in that. Role models are handed over to you. For example, along with the nation comes the father of the nation as a role model. All this becomes very deep-seated as conditioning of the mind.

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Acharya Prashant