One of the challenges I have with the mainstream media, is that what is shown is largely portrayed as the truth. It could be said, that all forms of critical thinking are gradually eroded by exposing ourselves to it. Of course, it could be argued that it is down to the individual to use their own sense of discernment when watching and exposing themselves to such things.
However, for many people whatever they are exposed to via the mainstream media is true and that which is not promoted by the mainstream media is often seen as not true. I just used to the word promoted, and that would seem like an inappropriate word when it comes down to something that is only concerned with giving us the truth right!? I believe no matter what it is or who it is coming from there is always an agenda, even with me writing this, I also have an agenda. What I am saying here, is that no matter how objective something might seem, it doesn’t mean we should allow our critical abilities to switch off.
We are lulled into a place of complacency, passivity and apathy by the mainstream media. Of course we want to be informed about the world and our local area. However, what we don’t want is to become so saturated with fear and so overwhelmed by how the world supposedly is that we can’t function any more.
This is where I think the saying ‘ignorance is bliss’ is extremely true. With the majority of what we are told being irrelevant to our life and very often there is nothing we can do about what’s going on.
A great example of this is from a story I once heard, about an old lady who lives in an area that is low crime and generally peaceful. However through her constant viewing of the media she is too scared to leave her house, all coming from what she has heard on the news. With the way the mind works in seeing everything in black and white, we can hear about one story and through that one event can come to the conclusion through generalising, that the whole world is not a safe place.
This whole occurrence reminds me of a person who carries a history of rejection or failure. They might be reluctant to try out new things, but if they do and they don’t get it right straight away they take it completely to heart. When in reality it was just a one of and has nothing to do with failure or their true value. This is how our mind works; a one of event can very easily become a generalisation and taken completely out of proportion.
I also think that watching the news can be like empathy to the dysfunctional degree. A great metaphorical example of this is contained within the story of how out feeling sorry for a homeless person a man gives his house and money away. Cleary this doesn’t help anyone, and just creates more problems. Yet by watching the news we are allowing our sense of happiness and wellbeing to be effected by other people’s experiences.
So it could be said that we can develop a sense of guilt for leading a happy life and out of that guilt we can easily take onboard the troubles of the world. As a result of this just add to what’s going on, instead of providing some kind of solution.
There is also the aspect of comparing ourselves with others. This could be people in our own country or in other areas of the world. By watching the news people have allowed themselves to become more and more hopeless, and the way to escape that is by feeling as though we are fortunate based on the troubles of others. Now as I have said before, comparing ourselves with others, apart from a momentary release, won’t do much for our wellbeing. I do believe that being grateful for what we have is incredibly important, but I don’t believe being grateful is a valid reason for us to stop growing. With my perspective being if we want to truly make a difference, we have to step into our own power and be the difference ourselves.
When it comes to our own tendencies to be narrow minded and prejudiced, the mainstream media can also validate and support these. Whether is the so called ‘foreigners’ who are taking our jobs, to the bankers who are the ‘reason why people are broke’. The deeper question’s in life and asking ‘why’ instead of’ who’, are rarely asked. This can all lead to a sense of opposition and violence against whoever the media presents as the culprits. The words ‘divide and conquer’ come to mind. This is all running on the illusion of lack and separation. This of course has the potential of creating more violence in the world.
Then, after a certain time of exposing ourselves to the mainstream media we can start to become dependent and addicted to it. I think one of the reasons that underpins our addiction to it can be to escape our own pain and to medicate ourselves with the whole idea that our problems might be bad, but others are worse. With the mainstream media always providing us with all the reasons why our life is a certain way and it is always because of someone else, it is never ourselves, this view point can make us feel powerless and a victim. One view point could be that people spend so much time taking in the news, due to their compassion for others and the troubles in the world. However I believe that compassion starts with ourselves first and if we are not compassionate with ourselves we can never have compassion for others. If we truly love and appreciate ourselves I don’t believe we would allow ourselves to be exposed, so often, to such things.
We are told to watch what we eat, and yet when it comes to our mental and emotional health, we completely switch off and allow all kinds of dysfunction to consume our mind.
And coming back to the dependence aspect, once we have become cut off from own our guidance and connection via intuition, gut feelings or whatever someone wants to call it, we are then reliant on the mainstream media. It doesn’t take much thinking to see that this is a very precarious position to be in. I would say this happens as a result of being completely consumed by fear and as a result we lose our centre. So our ability to listen to ourselves has become extremely difficult.
Bruce Lipton, who is a cellular biologist, has talked about the effects of fear. He mentions that when we are exposed to fear our immune system lowers, blood leaves our vital organs and our intelligence is lowered with the blood coming to the front of our brain. Now, as profound as this is and how it is important to hear it from a scientist, if we think about it, it’s not rocket science to see that constant fear and stress does us no favours.
So, if we get our whole view of reality via what the mainstream media tells us, then not only are we getting an out of balance and dysfunctional view of the world, that is someone else’s perspective, but we are getting an extremely negative and disempowering perspective.
Looking at the mainstream media and how everything is portrayed, it reminds me of our ego and what happens if we don’t observe it. The result is a life of being a slave to our mind and not our mind serving us. Whether it’s the type of story’s or how they present everything in the mainstream media, we can see that there is rarely any kind of observation or detachment with what is going on. With it always being doom and gloom and the end of the world every day.
It could be said that as a way to avoid facing itself the mind creates all kinds of conflicts and dramas. And that the mainstream media is the projection of our own ego.
So in my view, it would be so much healthier if we could have a mainstream media that takes into account the nature of the ego and also what part we are all playing in what’s going on, instead of portraying everything as random and because of someone else. This all sounds idealistic, I know, however I believe that most of the change we see is the result of idealism.
I think the most important thing is that if it is indeed our perception that creates our reality, then it is extremely important that we are vigilant in what we place our attention on and what we allow into our minds.
I think there is great metaphor that shows the power of our own attention, that we can all relate to and is also believable. Whether it is a car or a colour, we can initially see that few people drive a certain car or wear a colour. Once we start to focus on the car or the colour, through our own attention we can begin to see, what initially seemed rare now seems to be everywhere and even common.
So what I’m talking about here is if our own attention works like it does and we draw into our own awareness what we place our attention on, what could the consequences be? Could it be that the reason we often experience what is in the mainstream media is due to own attention being placed on the very things its telling us is ‘happening in the world’? And that if we placed our attention on something else we might experience something different?
As although the mainstream media sells us perspective’s that no one has any money or every is unsafe etc, if we open our mind we can see that there is always people who have money and people who feel safe, no matter what is going on in the world.
Our mind has something called a Reticular Activating System. What this does is filter our own reality so that we only experience that which the mind believes to be true. How the RAS sees reality can be altered, this is done through the process of changing our perception and as we do this our reality can change.
So if that is the case, does the mainstream media have the potential to be a form of mind control, that not only controls how we feel but also has the ability create our own subjective reality?
On one side, the consequences are alarming and on the other side they give us a glimpse of our true potential.
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Oliver J R Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.