Saturday, April 12, 2014

Media's importance in life

Often, these days, we know better what a celebrity wore or did on a particular day, than what happened in our country, or more generally in the world. We seem to be less and less interested by important matters, and at the same time, all the more drawn to scandals and other silly events that mention celebrities. And even though the same goes for me, I keep asking myself why... Is it because they are easier to process, and because they are the kind of things you can just hear and repeat and not go through the whole process of understanding its meaning and its importance, or in other words, to form an opinion on those matters? I certainly believe so... And since gossip sells, and important news don't sell that much anymore, a vicious circle happens, leading to a situation where we're not only not that much interested in news, but then we're shown all the more crispy gossips, to then be drawn to that type of non-important news only, which leads to all the fewer serious news shown, to promote all the more gossip and other such celebrity news, etc etc. You got my point. 

And I can't help but wonder to what extent didn't positive thinking influence our interest for serious matters. As I already said in another article, I'm quite a positive person, so you'll get why I was driven to positive thinking type of books. I liked them very much, but what I 've always found wrong was how they tell you to stay away from all forms of negativity, including, amongst wrong friendships and negative thoughts, the media. Well, even though I can get how the media shows you many sad news or unfair things that might anger you, and how it might affect your mood and sadden you, I cannot understand how a wise person would want to wipe out all those forms of negativity from their lives, and that for many reasons. 

A wise person knows that happiness can only be experienced and felt because of the knowledge we have of unhappiness, so that one doesn't go without the other... If it weren't the news, you would obviously get bored with something about your life and find that as an excuse to feel bad at some point, simply because you want to feel bad in order to feel good again... I hope the concept is clear enough. And then again, isn't closing our eyes and not facing reality wrong? How can it be considered wrong to pretend nothing happened when a child is being raped in front of our own eyes and not have any sort of reaction to what happened, if we say that it isn't that bad when you see it through the media? How can one be totally fine and the other unacceptable? Both apathies are wrong, because you pretend that that horrible event didn't happen in order to get on with your life, when you could just have done something. Besides, if you're a parent, wouldn't you want you children to live in an environment where people look at each other and interact, be it in reality or through the media? Where people would intervene when you children are getting hurt? Then why don't you do the same? If you don't have any children around you, just think about yourself, wouldn't you want people to help you when in danger? Then, why not do the same for others? 

Closing our eyes to media is not a choice to be taken that easily. It is easy to do, but there are many consequences. We are political beings, as Aristotle said. We have rights, but we also have duties as human beings and as citizens. It is both a duty and an opportunity to keep ourselves informed of the world evolving around us. We need to learn in general, to know how to tackle with things in life. When we learn how politicians talk and what their real aim is, we become less inclined to believe their every promise. Then, we learn how "reality shows" show nothing but reality. We see that scandals make the front page, even though, most of the times, these are more futile than other articles in the pages that follow. We see how the music industry or the sports industry work, we evaluate how much money it circles around. We learn from the mistakes of others, what not to do ourselves. You might think that it doesn't matter since we're all humans and all make mistakes, but some mistakes are not to be taken lightly. Mistakes could be anything. One mistake is war. You would think that war would have been eradicated, after all those centuries of wars after wars, of people dying for reasons that were not reasonable enough to excuse the slaughter of thousands and thousands of people. You would think that, after so much history, so much information, so much politics, sociology, anthropology, literature, movies, or what will you, we would have learned that war always comes with a heavy price, whose cause will NEVER be worth its consequences. If we watched the horrible things in the media, maybe we would be reminded that death or war isn't a video game or a movie, it isn't entertainment, it is real, it is horrible, and it has consequences. Maybe not directly in your life, but it does on others' lives, and it doesn't matter whether they're near or far from you. It doesn't matter if you'd wish not to have known about it, because it is oh so horrible. It is not because you switch off your television that the world stops hurting. 

Furthermore, the simple fact that you see what happens helps. Maybe not immediately, but one day you'll see it will. Let's create an example. You saw a situation last year, and didn't know what to think about it, so you decided to stay passive, because, of course, we can't all be active to all the causes in the world. But then today, you see another situation, that so deeply reminds you that of last year. You might not have had an opinion as to who was right from wrong at the time, but what you did see, were the consequences of that situation. So what your passive experience will guide you to do, is to reflect upon the facts you see or hear, and anticipate what might just happen now. And who knows, in a few months, you might just as well have found that thing in you that keeps telling you that you have to do something about it. Anything, talk about it, just react to it. And you giving an event some importance will give the opportunity to people around you to be equally aware of a situation that had not yet met their eyes and vice versa. So, not only do you help you, by informing yourself, but you help others, by informing them. Circulate information. Even when you don't know what to think, the simple fact that you hesitate to voice an opinion proves a profound thinking and questioning. And that's all it takes, that's our right and duty, to inform ourselves a few minutes a day, and to communicate it to others. Isn't that worth all the time that we spend gossiping about others, watching movies, or listening to music? Isn't that as enriching as all the other things we do in our lives? Oh and please, don't make yourselves believe and pretend that you don't have time. We all have time. If we can find time for the things we love and for those that we find entertaining, than how come we don't for those we have to do or are important to do? 

If you'd be interested to hear more about how the media is important to our self awareness as citizens, please watch this very inspiring TedTalk speech:

If you'd like to see more specifically what the role of media is in the US, watch a video called "The role of media in the USA", hosted by Riz Khan, on Al Jazeera English' Youtube Channel:

For a 5 pages long insight as to the role of media in social awareness: 

And just for those who want to have a more global image on the "Mass Media Influence on Society" here is the link to a webpage dedicated to that subject, written in very interesting and simple terms:

Have a great day, and keep your mind sharp!

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