Media Hysteria, Gloom & Doom: A Rant
Whether calling it intention, prayer or “manifesting desire” it is a fairly well accepted concept these days that thought – intention — has the power to effect, even create, our reality. While I believe that intention does influence our reality, I think it is not in the obvious manners many might think, or that pop-wisdom promotes…. It is not about visualizing a new bicycle and somehow magically getting one. Uh-uh.
If our thoughts have power to create reality, or the collective form-illusion we agree upon as reality, then these days it would appear that societally we are busy intending destruction – anticipating evil, birthing bad guys. We are, in fact, risking creating the worse-case scenario — assuming that to think otherwise is somehow naïve, ignorant.
A while ago there was a television show being aired called “Jericho.” Currently it can be found through one of the many streaming/on demand venues. Like many such shows since it is about the destruction of the world as we know it — in this case due to a series of mysterious nuclear explosions set in major cities in the US and Europe. The show centers on a small farming town in Kansas. Is this a heartwarming show of hope and survival, about neighbor helping neighbor facing similar troubles in dire times? About inventiveness, how to turn now anachronistic electric-powered machines into useful chicken coops? About clever people pulling together to create a new way of living? About mankind transcending ultimate challenges? About rebuilding civilization and what that might look like within a totally new paradigm? No; of course not. It is about fear, greed, war and man’s inhumanity to man. The credo touted is “get the other guy before he gets you” not “do unto others as you would have them do unto you…”
Some producers, “creative directors,” writers and business heads choosing, again, some more, to highlight primarily the negative, if not only the negative. Why? Where is it proven that this gets more viewers than a script that shows some balance: the generosity, bravery, thoughtfulness, inventiveness and yes, silliness of humanity as well as the fear, cowardice and evil.
What if we are falling into a trap by being so suspicious, wary and skeptical? By listening to the evening news? By tuning in to shows whose main characters are driven by greed and power-grabs, where the action is murder, rape and war. By believing all the gloom, doom and seeming trivialization of evil on TV?
We’ve been taught, haven’t we, that it is – what — unsophisticated? shallow? to “accentuate the positive, ignore the negative” as the old 1940’s song lyrics go. But I believe we are doing ourselves and our world tremendous damage by doing the opposite, by accentuating the negative and not only ignoring the positive but actively repressing it while glorifying virtually any bad news there is to be had on the planet.
When disaster does happen the media is quick to tell us about it and show us the looting and shootings, but not then moving appropriately to the many people helping each other, rescuing pets and children, sharing food and blankets. How is it even possible to know which – the helping or the hindering – is the dominant response?
From my personal experience (i.e., repeatedly being in the dangerous circumstance of being alone and unconscious while having epileptic convulsions), albeit small and in no way “statistically significant,” it is the former — the helping — that predominates. For all those times I have been so vulnerable – whether in New York City, Bangkok, Tahiti, or Vermont – no one has ever physically harmed me or even lifted my wallet. I’ve been taken to hospitals, covered with bypasser’s coats, cradled on a stranger’s lap; called the next day by the waitress who happened to witness my “episode.”
When information and “news” was local the nature of the news was confined to a particular area or region. Newspapers might cover one, maybe three towns. And while national and world news had a page, its information would, literally, be yesterday’s news. The local paper delivered news of weather, local organizations and community events and leaders. Local events were front page headlines. The impact of said news remained local – whether good or devastating. Neighbors helped; they grieved or celebrated with you. One town might have a fire, another the Annual Bazaar, yet another’s major news may be about a new road being built through town. Of critical import: The attention mass of one community was different from another’s.
With the advent of technology and instant communication around the globe, news of events can be known everywhere – its impact visually transmitted and felt. The event’s attendant “reality” is made more dense by the awareness, the thoughts replicated by all the thought-wave patterns emitted almost simultaneously by all the watchers, by all of our attention-units. Not only our collective unconscious, but a collective consciousness is being formed and massed. This attention massing is a powerful force.
This would be serious enough, if the situation stood as neutrally as that. If we were all left to receive the information and process it as individuals. But it doesn’t and we aren’t. There are many interpreters of the world’s events telling us what happened and what to think about it. The negative is too often what is highlighted. On the publicist’s yardstick Sensationalism has risen above Worthiness. “The Media” as it has come to be known, with its “spin,” as well as politicians, corporations and their personnel are all helping to create the effect that is being experienced by so many minds at once, felt in so many guts at once, resonating or repulsing in so many hearts – at once. What are we, in fact, “creating”?
If I have not made my point yet, think of the Twin Towers in NY in 2001 and the unceasingly – for days — repeated photo footage of impact and the destruction. The coverage did not rapidly progress to footage of people helping others, to the food stands, and clean-up crews. No, it numbingly repeated, with dramatic voice-over, flames bursting and bodies falling, with dire predictions of more to come.
Or pictures of war – any war. There is the function of being informed, and there is the act of being invaded, psychically invaded. Then there is the sheer absurdity — remember the media circus that was the trial and subsequent behaviors of O.J. Simpson? Or the Princess of Wales’ death and funeral?
I choose decades-old examples here for two reasons: first, to not perpetrate that which I am protesting, and second but most importantly, to bring to awareness just how long this has been going on. We are and have been being beaten over our psychic heads with disasters – both faux disasters, those sensationalistic non-news events that we are told are in immediate need of our attention, as well as those that are, sadly, too real enough.
Let’s forget News for a moment and get back to what is supposed to pass for “entertainment.” Given the plethora of criminal shows one study has it that by the age of 14, most children in the US will have witnessed over 4,000 “murders,” thanks to “screens” – TV and otherwise. The number enlarges significantly when the category changes to “violent crimes.” And let’s not lightly pass over TV advertising. Which disorder, inadequacy, disease do we have to worry about possibly contracting and (by buying the product) making better this week?
We have been increasingly enculturated and socialized with Fear. As the population has grown, so too have the societal control techniques that use fear and intimidation. While we can always “turn off the tube,” or shut down the screen the truth is that most of us don’t. And one statistic has it that 98% of all U.S. households have a T.V.
I must work hard, here, at being and staying amazed rather than becoming deeply offended at what our culture has produced in the form of the mass media that infuses us with fear. I fear for the minds and hearts and souls of the people, especially the children, plugged into its toxic flow.
If we choose to revere True Beauty we will not be able to give our attention to such news or entertainment, and perhaps we can start to reverse the current.