Friday, May 25, 2012

Television has ruined America.

My problem with TV is multifold. First it speaks from a position of authority it often hasn’t done anything to maintain. Fact checking has drifted off in popularity. It is a passive form of communication on the part of the viewer. Humans are wired to learn from input from visual and auditory communication, it is how we evolved to be such a successful species. We have a rare skill to take in information through other people and benefit from it. Many other animals have learned behaviors that they take on by modeling their parents. Learning to hunt for example is innate for reptiles and some birds, but most mammalian hunting patterns are passed on less intrinsically generation by generation.

Humans surpass even this ability; by passing ideas on through many generations into the future and across great distances, thanks to the development of language. This innate ability, the ability to learn from other people who we may never meet face to face, has been corrupted by people who wish to control societies at meta levels. Television sets norms. Mirror neuron response is automatic and innate. We often are not even aware of the influence that sets the tone of lives. If you see people modeling behavior, regardless of whether on a screen or in real life, some small part of your brain is calculating somewhere if the behavior you are witnessing would be beneficial for you to emulate.

The passive level of “entertainment” has another effect as well; when you read a book or a news paper you can stop at any time, take out a pen or pencil circle a word or bracket a section of text, research the topic and make an informed decision whether you agree with the statement or not. If you are having a conversation with a person, and they make an informative comment about a topic, you can ask them questions, learn more about the concept or the motive behind their desire to share it with you. But with television, it is like being lectured to in a crowd, it is very hard to pause and research a concept further. Some small part of your brain stows stuff away as “potentially useful information” with out vetting it, as the next rapid fire talking point comes up.

(I invite you all to open a new tab on your browser and look up “mirror neuron response” to check and see if I have given you an accurate picture of the phenomena. I write this blog pretty informally, Usually you are reading an unedited first draft. Hence the name “mind access“, this is how I write “off the cuff" so to speak. That said, all I have in the world to work with is my perspective, and as much as I like to think I have the facts correct, I could be wrong. I encourage people to find factual errors in my work and post them in the comments below, it not only helps other readers, it helps me by honing my understanding.)

Television is a creation of man, and there for subject to mans own shortcomings. For things to be broadcast as news, they have to be news worthy. No body tunes into the ten o’clock nightly news to hear about the small good things people do for one another. You get the occasional story about a person who overcame terrific adversity to triumph at some goal, or nice thing a notable person has done charitably. Rarely do you see behavior like polite driving or being nice to the person who is selling you food. So some of the most important parts of maintaining a healthy community are not part of the mass zeitgeist.

The result is a tendency to rely on television for you sense of community (though beloved characters in sitcoms or what ever) and withdraw from the community in general. This is then exacerbated by the mostly negative  nature of televised new and information. News hours are flooded by rapes, murders, hostile nations out side of our borders, and many other negative images. This becomes the perspective of the “out side world” and paranoia creeps in. The truth is the world isn’t out to get you, most of the time the world doesn’t even know you exist. Ask your self. “Do I know the names of more people; in my favorite show, or the people who live on my block?”

Worse yet, some people have realized the full potential of these effects and strive to manipulate public opinion. It might be a product they wish to sell, or a political agenda they wish to forward. They understand more about the way a human mind works than you would be comfortable knowing, many multi millions of dollars have been spent on marketing research. It is one of the best funded branches of psychological research.  (Again, don’t take my word for it, use the critical thinking skills that are one of the best gifts of your evolutionary heritage and research it.) You can make a pretty safe bet that they understand how your mind works better than you can.

So through the practice of laissez-faire fact checking and repeating talking points they can manipulate society at large. This is the mechanism that is used in our democracy to bend the public will into acting against its own interests and towards the interests of a handful of moneyed elites. This is the tool they use to create cracks in the social structure they can then cleave into voting blocks. This is the weapon they use to control our elected officials. Television has the effect of homogenizing cultures locally and globally.

The first step to living your life for your self and not the aims of others is to banish television from your life. The good and enjoyable parts of it are not enough to justify exposing ones self to the threat posed by insidious agents. From preventing the environmental damage that results from wanton consumption to empowering people to become more invested in their community as well as the direction of our nation, it is imperative that the human race moves past the TV era.

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