Reclaiming Reality – Managing Media in the Media Age
…where earlier media formations had served to gather people into communities, to conserve traditions, and to propagandize new ways of living, spectacular media serve to promote an endless round of imaginary desires that in turn maintain endless over-consumption through which the overproduction required for the survival of capitalism can be regulated.
Cubitt, Sean. “Media, History of.” New Dictionary of the History of Ideas. Ed. Maryanne Cline Horowitz. Vol. 4.
Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2005. 1392-1397. Gale Virtual Reference Library.
“I get the news I need on the weather report.
Oh, I can gather all the news I need on the weather report.
Hey, I’ve got nothin’ to do today but smile…”
(1970) Paul Simon – The Only Living Boy in New York.
This presentation concerns media and people. It’s about our idea of what media is and should be, our use of media, and our acceptance of media as an arbiter of what we deem important.
It is not a call for the elimination of media. This is not a call for monitoring media. It’s not even a call for change or sanity in media. There are thousands of opinions on what’s wrong with media and thousands more purporting to have evidence that media is evil. There are detailed theories concerning why and how it should be changed, monitored, censored, etc.
It is also a considered fact that uncensored media is essential for functional Democracy to prosper.
I don’t believe there is any need for further investigation into the Jekyll/Hyde nature of mass media. Instead I present a representation of one view of the structure of media, an explanation of the influence media inherently asserts and suggest the pursuit of alternatives which for the individual may enable a controlled, manageable media experience.
My contention: current media has lost all connection to journalistic integrity and is beyond redemption due to control exerted by the ownership responsible for the regulation of its canon (political/corporate interests). As a result, anyone wishing to live a life unhindered by its influence has no choice but to unplug. Media asserts emotional interference into your life. Emotional enticement is one hallmark of media’s audience seduction. If media is involved, emotional buttons are being pressed; it takes energy to feel emotions, it takes energy to run your life.
It’s not bad to empathize with humanity, it’s not wrong to view the outside world and to have feelings or emotional attachment to issues concerning the welfare of our planet or its inhabitants as individuals or groups. It’s just that you only have so much stuff. You can’t give everything. This is not a “bury your head in the sand” approach. I am not encouraging people to become ludites, to regress technologically. Rather, this is a “be careful what you allow past the censors” approach. In our case the responsibility for censorship should be taken from the controlling social institution whether that be government, media itself, or an independent entity, and assumed by the individual in order to provide a conscious arbitration of what that individual finds valuable or even acceptable in his or her life.
You need to be connected in some way in order to initiate change in your world. Positive motion results from action and action is one result of dissatisfaction. But there is a point where information can bury you. To pick your battles or even to ‘pick your awareness’ may be the much needed ‘step back in order to step forward’ perception altering application of reason a person can embrace in this – The Information Age.
You can (should) be the controller of the flow of information that affects your world, but through a kind of trust inspired complacency, an encouraged parent-like lulling of common alarms, the control of your environment has been left to the institutions that require your unquestioning co-operation to thrive. Most of all – these thoughts are not the presentation of a conspiracy theory. It is not my contention that some great power or group of people intentionally set out to dominate the earth by controlling every broadcast entity on the planet even if this is in fact the status-quo. Rather it is my contention that over time the power, the emotional nature, and the reach of mass media have made necessary a choice by the consumer of whether they want to trust or even allow intrusion by something possessive of this level of influence into their lives.
It’s time for you to be aware of media power and human choice.
Is there is a way of ‘reclaiming reality’ from the media? That is a discussion for the individual. Can someone function inside that veil and remain unchanged? Each person must be their own judge.
As a species, humans are a confusing study. On one hand we’re self-aware and able to understand the consequences of our actions. On the other we’re able to completely ignore alarms and consequences and forge on ahead oblivious to the collateral destruction we wield as we strive to exist or excel at the game of life. Collectively it’s as if we’re an entity in its youth, unlearned, and trying to find a way forward.
This planet, this universe is a place of great joy or of great concern depending entirely on your point of view.
There are thousands of belief systems that have developed as necessary accessories to existing, thriving, or smashing ones way through this life. In the world of self-help books, new age philosophy, alternative thinking, there are numerous theories concerning where humans fit into the grand scheme of things. Any story you care to imagine can be molded into allegory; a desired platform or alternative to the existing one.
And people seem to need a new injection of alternatives every few years in order to just make it possible that there may be something better.
Through all of this the state of ‘human-hood’ still seems stunted. There is a warlike essence about the governments and religions that dominate the planet and these organizations spread their creed through the media channels invented to inform and entertain their societies. Anger, greed. power, desire, want, impatience all the qualities of a poorly behaved teen are the qualities that are predominant in the information presented to us daily by the channels of communication to which we are subject.
We’re a young species. A child, really. We’re just learning to deal with our nature. Our egos.
Clues abound to help us; nature, pure science, all the things of peace and love, all the wonder surrounding us, the concept of God. But it’s as if all the time, while our collective consciousness is trying to lead us to maturity (we’re desirous of peace and comfort), our egos are inventing governments and religions; powerful, iron-clad dogma machines driven by canon counter-productive to peaceful ends; monotheistic mammoths head to head – suit-clad tribal throwbacks threatening each other with shields and swords. The incidental clutter of their idealism becomes our reality, cemented and reiterated daily by their grip on our information feeds, and the calm of introspection – the place necessary in which to grow – disappears in the noise.
The place this discussion holds on our planet may not seem substantial. In reality, it’s no more than another idea presented in good faith to help people who may feel overwhelmed and lost. But in my heart it’s a way whereby an individual may be given time to formulate a beneficial thought. It’s a means to calm the mind and allow it to think what it will, naturally, without influence.
The impetus for this writing is my feeling that it’s time for this kind of thought. I believe it’s necessary to have this discussion. Amongst others and within ourselves. And it’s likely the most important part of this discussion will be you.
Some may find these ideas trite. I’ve been told the whole issue is pedestrian, or that I’m speaking to the converted. It may also be that there is just no interest at all in the discussion of this issue. I don’t have any explanation for my dedication to this other than it may be a reflection of fear I feel on my own behalf. Regardless, I’m willing to risk revealing my own vulnerability for some shot at the greater good. I hope this is a trigger – that you will supply your thoughts on how to mitigate this beast. The prequel to that discussion will be this information presented in good faith.