Saturday, June 21, 2008

Why Do We Think the Way We Do?

"Journalism," like every other -ism, is an indoctrination of how the world should be seen -- with its adherents at the center of that world, as the bearers of the only true god, or truth. They cannot believe that the ways that they see things, are not a biased point of view, but is "objective" reality -- and therein lies their blindness.

In every field, there has to be a healthy questioning of their assumptions -- and their own authorities, and not merely questioning the authority and credibility of every other -- while their own is left unchallenged. Every great seeker of wisdom and understanding has made this their primary task in the communication of any knowledge.

That is very different from the self-indulgence of journalists relating what they wish others to know and think of them -- as the singularly most caring, compassionate and fair-minded people on the planet. They always seem to express surprise and outrage at the suggestion that they could be biased. That is telling.

But not only journalists think that way -- but everyone thinks and is “taught” in that manner, that theirs is the ONLY way, and nonbelievers should be pitied at best and destroyed at worst. However, what is different is that journalists, with their central role and importance in communicating the information, are tempted to abuse that trust, as people in any self-designating and self-defining field will.

This is largely subject to the politics of that culture -- which is not as altruistic and non-self-aggrandizing as most would have us believe about themselves. That is true for “teachers,: politicians, ministers, lawyers, as well as journalists. They all have their so-called professional ethics, which they offer, gives them automatic immunity and protection against corruption and deceit.

But the truth of the matter is usually something different, with individuals ranging from one extreme of the range to the other, so that no blanket generalization is likely to be helpful and unprejudicial. That’s why the easy reference to one as a “liberal,” “Democrat,” “socialist,” caring, compassionate individual should not be taken at face value, but is what a calculating person wishes one would think -- or better, not question about them.

Meanwhile, the “Republicans,” and other non-believers of the unquestioned purity of their consciences and actions, should immediately be dismissed, as having no other concern but to callously outrage every sensibility “decent” people ought to have.

One should read the news with this healthy inquiry into the nature of the observer influencing and altering the “observed.” That is the way reading is done at the state of the art.

So please pay attention a little more to these things this election season so that the day after the elections are over, we’re not asking, “How the heck do we get such poor leaders to represent us?” There’s a reason things happen.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Challenge of these Times

I guess most people have figured out by now that the era of ostentatious consumerism is over, and economy and efficiency are now in -- and that means making changes in one’s personal adaptations, rather than thinking the solution is to change everybody to one’s liking. That is the problem of our times -- that when everybody does one thing, or doesn’t do it at all, it creates great disruptions in the economy and society -- because even in thoughtful, well-designed buildings, if everybody decides exactly at the same moment, that they all want to get out, you can’t build a door wide enough to accommodate that demand.

Some people, notably Democrats, will demand that all facilities must be built for every contingency -- no matter how improbable, unlikely and unwise. If one person, they will argue (and often sue), cannot get out the door as fast as anyone else, some great injustice and irreparable harm has been done, scarring that person and subsequent generations of that person, forever -- and then the cost of reparations will be infinite.

And so to prevent that liability (or the possibility thereof), billions and even trillions must be spent to avoid bruising those feelings of even the possibility of offense, And of course, the standard of these behaviors, will be those in society who are most sensitive and offended at everything, writing lengthy treatises, legal briefs, and tireless letters (emails) to everyone on their ever-expanding mailing list hourly -- to keep them informed of what everyone is doing that displeases them.

At least that is the impression given reading the public forums (newspapers) so that one realizes that those persons must obviously have dedicated their lives to telling everybody else how to live their lives as a proxy for not living their own. Their self-appointed job is to manage everybody else, and “change” the world to suit them, so they never have to change and accommodate anybody else.

But if one can exercise individual choice and initiative, the world’s riches are theirs for the taking -- for the problem is not the lack of resources, but that everyone wants them at the same time, or doesn’t. Those who can structure their lives to avail themselves of such opportunities, experience life very differently than a relentless competition for everything -- which is the experience conveyed in the mass media, because it is that kind of competition for that massive audience -- that doesn’t exist otherwise.

The power of the mass media was to get everybody to do the same thing at the same time -- culminating in the million people showing up for whatever reason they did -- to demonstrate whatever it is they thought everybody else was also there for. Those opportunities changed, when the markets became niches and targeted as is possible with universal media accessibility, rather than control of the masses. A lot of people still haven’t figured out that shift yet -- and especially the people in “mass media” and “mass communications” -- still thinking it is a matter of time until a return to their former glory days of exclusive control.

But regardless of whether they are aware of the problem and their ineffectiveness at dealing with them BECAUSE of their professional training, they have been changed nevertheless, as everybody has. For this reason, generalizations have become irrelevant in favor of the individual’s actual experience -- or what has been dismissed as “anecdotal evidence,” which was to suggest that that was merely illusory and deceptive, while those “in control” of the mass media and institutions, controlled the “truth” of what people ought to believe.

Reality is the actual experience -- and not what you've been told to think it is.