One way of looking at this is to say that it is easier for people to connect to the mainstream media than ever before, another way would be to say that it is has never been easier for the mainstream media to get into people’s minds. However, no matter how one looks at it, it is clear that times have changed and it doesn’t take long for information to be shared and then received.
The Modern Word
In the past, the news was mainly dispersed through print and through sound. This then changed when the television was invented and this gave people the chance to watch what was taking place in the world.
As a result of this, one no longer needed to expend as much energy when it came to the news. They could sit passively and their mind would simply absorb everything. Whereas before, one would have needed to use more energy in order to be kept up to date when it came to what was taking place in the world.
When the world change is used, it is often seen as something positive, but change is not always positive. And when people no longer needed to use as much energy and could simply sit back, a radical shift took place.
It is often said that human beings don’t like to think and will therefore do everything they can to avoid thinking. Cleary this perspective doesn’t apply to every human being on the planet, but at the same time, it would be inaccurate to say that all human beings like to think.
So as a result being able to watch the news, it meant that people were encouraged to be passive. There was no need for them to think about what they were being exposed to or to question what they saw.
And if one has just come back from a long day at work, the last thing they want to have to do is to use their brain. The media was seen as a trustworthy source; as a source that was only there to inform people about what was taking place.
The Visual World
Fast forward to today’s world, where people now have phones that they can watch the news on, and this is simply part of life. For some people, this is the only thing they have known. No longer does one need to read, the only thing they need to do is to find a video.
And what can’t be denied is that it is a lot easier to watch a video than it is to read something. But just watching videos doesn’t develop one’s mind in the same way as reading does.
Reading allows one to develop the ability to reflect, to think critically and to be mindful. One’s ability to focus and to gain a deeper understanding of something is also something that takes place through reading.
This is not to say that videos should be outlawed and that reading is the only thing that matters. To watch a video is passive and is therefore easy, to read is an active process and this means that one will need to use more effort. Both are important in order for one to avoid being out of balance.
When one is passive and doesn’t think about what they’re being exposed to, they are wide open. There is then no way for them to know if what they’re allowing into their mind is true or not.
This is why videos are so powerful, as they can end up bypassing ones rational mind. Ones emotions are then triggered and one is unable to think. It then won’t matter whether what they are being exposed to is accurate or reflects reality, as their mind is not longer in use. In the words of Nassim Nicholas Taleb - ''We are not rational enough to be exposed to the press".
And if a human beings ability to think is out of the way, then it is not going to take much to control them. But if human beings in general are too irrational, as Nassim has said, then surely it doesn’t matter.
However, while human beings are irrational, not everyone is going to be on the same side of the spectrum. This doesn’t mean that some people are unable to be deceived; it means that some people have developed their critical abilities and some people havent.
People are generally taught what to think, but what they’re rarely taught is how to think. And just because ones emotions are triggered by the media, thereby causing them to feel as though what they are being exposed to is true, they could be deluding themselves.
For example, one can watch a film and feel as though what is taking place is real and in this instance, one knows it is just an illusion. However, when they watch the news and feel a certain way, the same outlook is unlikely to arise.
The media has an agenda and this means that one has to protect their mind. In many ways, the intention of the media is not to inform people, it is to condition them to perceive life in a certain way.
Oliver J R Cooper