"The unexamined life is not worth living" Socrates

- - scatterings of ideas sent to my younger self, a sensitive girl who was fooled into believing she was a boy because of anatomy - -

Sunday 30 December 2018

Where Are We Headed?

A few days ago, I joked with K about how hard it must be living with someone who is constantly examining the world. Self-examination continues, but these days it mostly has to do with my reaction to events in our world; our own world, and the larger world around us. Unlike our own, it is so hard to be optimistic about where we (the human race and our 'civilization') in that larger world seem to be headed.

Looking around at how crazy everything is these days, it is hard to avoid noticing disturbing patterns, evident in media of all sorts. Oh, so much of the media is seductive and wondrous. I still recall a friend calling up an obscure song on Youtube I thought was lost forever on a broken 78rpm shellac disk. The ability to share ideas with people across the globe and chat with friends was and still is a sort of lifeline for many, including me. 

Without the 'net, I wouldn't be me, so it is hard for me to admit how negative it all makes me feel these days. It seems clear that without vigilance toward media, we shall find ourselves slaves held by invisible shackles.

The oldest, print media, has declined to the point where it seems hardly relevant, and yet that is where, from time to time, a voice cries in the wilderness, calling for sanity (much as someone writing in a blog might).

Broadcast media, television and radio (again, irrelevant mostly) have become such well-organized tools of control by the rich that one hardly knows where to begin. Hint: advertising is everywhere now. Those five-minute breaks are easily ignored, but much of what might be called advertising appears in the programs, and is designed to wear down the viewer in a subliminal way. It tries to make us immune to feeling, so that we can watch cruelty of every sort, night after night (K and I still remember watching video from the Vietnam War - so immediate and cruel). We can watch fictional cruel people murder and be murdered in return without feeling that it is unnatural. If you approach it as a visitor to the planet might, the repetitious mind-numbing tactics are so overt they make one want to scream and run. More on that later. Don't run. Instead, pay attention as that visitor would.

The media misnamed social is the most dangerous in my estimation. It has the feel of being under our control at all times, and yet this could not be further from the truth. Not sure who originally wrote "the internet is forever", but we could ramble on for weeks on the way this truism has ruined lives. More than that, this form of media, perhaps because it feels personal and controllable, has the power to mess with your life, even though it might change it in a positive way too, as when two people who haven't seen one another for many decades, reconnect, as K and I have. It has the power to change how you feel about just about anything, because many articles are targeted using your own usage as a model. One might consider that the computer "bots" are benign, but look up the word "naive" if you really believe that to be universally true.

When my kids were growing up, we were so lucky. Television and movies were the only media to be concerned with. Some friends thought that keeping their children from watching certain programs was the way to keep them from harm. I wasn't naive enough to suppose that we could protect them that way. Instead, we talked to them about how it was natural to feel envious seeing people on television having things we don't, but real people don't live in "television land". We tried to avoid showing them violence, of course, but we discussed that too. Television can educate you in a negative sort of way; a "don't be like that" way.

I'm not naive (see above) enough to imagine that any power on earth or any individual can fix the way media is controlling our lives now. It seems to me that the very best we can do is to be aware of how it will affect you if you let it. Good parenting these days requires that we do the same for our young ones.

The best you can do is to think for yourself and then be yourself, not who the internet, or some media mogul wants you to be. 
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Found on the internet ...
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A bit of time travel to a sillier time, not a kinder time. Back then a computer was still a person, and  the television was thought to be a miracle that would help educate the young by showing them the world from their home.

GrandDad liked this piece though:

and GrandMa was fond of this one.

I still love my grandparents so much. They couldn't be held responsible for the direction the world had gone or would go, no more than you or I. 

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We Wish Everyone a Wonderful 2019!


  1. Hi Hale,
    An interesting post. Thanks for posting those old recordings which I enjoyed listening to as they reminded me of childhood days. Our culture down under then was mostly a curious mix of US and UK themes. I remember Roy Rogers, Guns Smoke, tales from Scotland Yard, Biggles, Billy Bunter etc. plus the occasional marvellous home spun tales, captured so much more vividly in the exciting imaginary world of radio. Looking back, growing up then seemed as if it was far easier, but there was another shady world lurking, far worse than some of the excesses of today. That hidden world was even more pernicious then social media of today. Just as was the advertising then, that most Doctors smoke Camel Cigarettes and housewives should drink Toohey’s Pilsener beer full strength to say healthy. Do you recall the rigged Marlboro Man.?
    Fortunately, as you know, many of our rather hideous hidden past practices by Institutions have more recently been exposed with Royal Commissions and the likes. The fact today many of us are made more aware of such negative trends is a positive in itself, just as is there is also a growing tendency to fact check commentaries that never existed to any extent in prior periods. Let’s hope a more positive trend can continue to emerge and the social media doesn’t sink the next generation with that anxiety and depression we see far too much evidence of today.
    Best wishers for 2019.

  2. Thank you for the reminder of those deceptions of the past. Thinking back I recall the Marlboro Man, and a camel who smoked, along with several famous people who died from lung cancer and related diseases, who also advertised cigarettes. Who can forget the ads for Guinness? "Guinness for Power!"

    Hopefully, in time, all of the current subversions of health, physical and mental, will be made so obvious as those silly ads of the time.

    Best to you and yours Lindsay for 2019.

  3. A very interesting post. I wonder, with the growing complexity of 'media' and human technological progress in general, whether it all is generating a life form of its own. We of course would merely be cells in its overall body. [Involuntary shudder!]

    If, as the Gnostics apparently believe, there are two creators, God and some Demiurge, I suspect the latter has the "bit between its teeth" at present. That could be the start of a very long discussion!

    Happy New Year to you and your family, however you define your family to be.

    1. I too shudder at that possibility. If, as you suggest, there is a Demiurge, these new forms of media, capable of dulling the mind as completely as possible, are, pardon the terrible pun, heaven sent.

      Happy New Year to you and those you hold dear as well Tom.

  4. Prost to you and your loved ones, dear Halle! Wishing you only the best in the coming year!
    I read your post with great interest, as I have thought long on these matters this year. Recently, I was presented with a fermenting crock. The enclosed instructions directed me to a website, which turned out to be mostly advertising for "extras" ... I thought to myself, all I want to do is ferment cabbage and turn it into delicious Sauerkraut. I turned off the 'puter and took out my mother's old notebook and looked through several cookbooks on my shelves. And low and behold, I think I now have the secret in hand. Didn't even need to wade through advertising! And I certainly don't feel like a "consumer" or "puppet on a string."

    1. Prior to writing this post, I was noticing how very good I've become at ignoring how much (and it is so much) advertising one has to wade through to get what one wishes to see on the 'net.

      Thank you for the reminder that I need to buy some cabbage for a batch of Sauerkraut!

      All the very best to you and your 'family' dear R!

  5. Prost to home-fermented Kraut!!