Tuesday, November 18, 2014
The Changing Tide of the Media and Our Addiction to Stimuli
The following is a freelance contribution to the blog from Helen Bootie. [She puts into words what many of us know deep in our subconscious, and I thought you would enjoy it. Love and light- Lynn]
It’s difficult to go throughout our everyday lives without being bombarded by stimuli. In the bustling city, we are showered with the visual and aural, and whether we feel connected to our urban roots or not we often reach a kind of isolated “zone” where we become oblivious to the sights and sounds around us. Somehow, it manages to penetrate our subconscious. Even far from this environment in the comfort of our remote paradise in the wilderness, achieving a Thoreauvian state of natural paradise is a challenge. From smartphones and laptops to tablets and the tech world becoming further spread and more inescapable (for better or for worse) we are finding ourselves in an onslaught of media. And mainstream media, along with its perpetuation of specific cultural ideals and condemnations is also particularly problematic, often drawing us away from our own intuitions and causing us to detach ourselves from our true nature.
We Are Programmed What to Think
When we are submerged into the news of the day by one of the mainstream networks, we have to ask ourselves – what is the entertainment value of this story? What is the message being communicated in the broadcast? Whether it is liberal or conservative media, the days of completely objective journalism are long past for the majority of networks. Producers, writers, reporters and anchors – as well as technicians – are told what to communicate to their audience. And when we consider that all major networks are corporate-owned, as well as the government, then we must logically conclude that news is not here to inform but to project certain values and beliefs.
Additionally, we can look at the media which influences our lives through free and cable/satellite television. While there are, without a doubt, several thought-provoking stories and artistic concepts which challenge the mainstream, we are dominated by a reality TV syndrome which popularizes consumerist culture and is made all the more appealing because viewers can become rightfully angry at the protagonists on-screen in a country where quality of life is set at odds against equal rights, fair pay, being able to buy a home, find work, receive good healthcare, and a variety of other issues. As huge amounts of our population are cut off from access to these resources as well as education, we become less empowered – and succumb more easily to the controlled stimuli which are flung out at us.
Breaking Up with Addiction
We are faced with a huge addiction problem. We are programmed to believe that we are entitled to material goods and to become fulfilled by them by our staunch work ethic, which is actually exploitative with little rewards. In our restricted schedules, we seek instant gratification and we forget how to connect with the true world around us. And when our hectic world gets to be too much, we often turn to drastic coping techniques. More than ever, not only American adults but our youth are particularly vulnerable to substance abuse as they look towards a future which frankly isn’t as promising as it once was for younger generations. Just as dangerously, the addiction to drug culture (including the prescription meds manufactured by pharmaceutical companies) continues to grow along with consumerist culture. This is the world in which our governments want us to operate; a generation with a clear head and heart are more likely to demand proper policy and incite revolution. We live in a world where generosity is scorned in the dog eat dog game, and self-motivation – while celebrated on the corporate, career-driven sense – is looked upon with contempt. So we must take hold of our lives and break away from this obsession with stimuli – learn to embrace our strengths and move forward, whether it is recovering from long-term problems with addiction or changing the way we approach life.
Follow Your Bliss, Clear Your Mind
Great thinker Joseph Campbell has always encouraged us to “follow our bliss” and he also discusses the importance not only of the individual whose life is fulfilled but of a society which can collectively think on a scale which transcends current mainstream culture. This is not only achieved by discovering the ethics and the wonders of the ancient world’s great mythologies and culture, but about becoming more informed and open-minded as well. It is critical that we use the free domain of the internet as much as possible, and stay aware and alert about the news and stimuli which strives to control our lives. We must always be analytical and look for alternative resources wherever possible, and embrace the cultural creative mantra as we change the course of history towards a more sustainable and human future.
at 6:05 AM