05 May Taking a break from information can calm the soul
In this timely, + Perspectives, I would like to explore the hot button issues that push our collective buttons. It hardly matters what “side of the aisle” you find yourself on, if we can just agree that our buttons have been mashed.
It’s OK. It happens to the best of us, this button mashing.
In these times, it’s never been easier to be heard given the social media engines at our collective fingertips. A big question that we need to start asking with social media is, “Just because we can add to the cacophony, should we?”
Let’s assume that most of us have nothing but the best of intentions.
I intend to make a fine, but important, point. However, before I do that, please know I’m not endorsing any sort of violence, immorality or –ism.
Previous paragraph said, let’s take a step back from the vitriol of hot button issues, not because you’re wrong about a certain issue, but careful consideration is needed as there are 1,500 newspapers, 1,100 magazines, 9,000 radio stations, 1,500 TV stations and 2,400 publishers owned by six corporations.
SIX CORPORATIONS control, that’s right, control all those media outlets. The power rests in the hands of an elite few that likely weren’t elected to any office.
Do you really think that propaganda died on Sept. 2, 1945, aboard the USS Missouri? Of course not, it’s just gotten more sophisticated.
Now, we invite propaganda as gospel, 24/7/365.
Is it all garbage? No, but the best way to manipulate is to have at least a kernel of truth in what you’re propagating.
I barely passed, or remember, my college course in statistics, but one thing that has always stuck with me is that statistics can be made to say almost anything. Ponder that as you lap up and vehemently spew stats at whoever you perceive to be in the wrong.
Good questions to ask are before any contact with others: “Is it helpful? Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary?”
“Fine Sutty, I hear ya, but I have to do something. I have to vent. Movements start with one voice.”
You’re right, of course, but that voice is heard more effectively with love, compassion and acceptance of our neighbors.
For starters, pray and send good thoughts to a situation. Naïve, you say. Well, I disagree, but I submit that naïve is thinking the media doesn’t have an agenda that sells the masses on vaccines, for instance, or can’t get a president elected.
It only took the media playing Howard Dean’s yelp on a loop to derail his 2004 campaign. ‘Memba that? That’s where the “real” power lies.
Regardless of what we feel about a question like gun control, let’s start asking questions like, “What monster is actually being fed when all the media at our fingertips rallies against guns and 2015 broke records for gun sales?”
Even if you like guns, is putting the latest Sig Sauer .45 on a charge card fear-driven when you’ve got a dozen other firearms to protect against a home invasion? Or are you feeding into the media madness?
Do you fancy yourself a modern day Gore Vidal or William F. Buckley Jr.? In case you don’t know, they were pundits who tore each other apart on live television before it was fashionable. As a matter of fact, their displays during the 1968 presidential election year probably saved ABC from becoming a footnote in television history when referencing “The Flying Nun.” The insults in one particular exchange followed these distinguished gentlemen to their graves.
Controversy sells. Why? Because we buy it and feed into it. We crave it. We have to make New Year’s resolutions to cut back on it, but alas, we want what we want.
Does it have to be this way? No, it starts with one person deciding to starve the media machine of mayhem and fear that affects both sides of the aisle. A synonym of mayhem in this case could be division. It’s the old divide-and-conquer routine that works only as long as we allow it. We’re more alike and connected than the elite few would have us believe.
All I ask is that you pay attention to what you’re doing while you’re doing it.
This is the heart of meditation.