TED Conversations

Mitch SMith


This conversation is closed.

Media and the divide of harm

That which goes between us is our media.

Colin Stokes asks us: Are we served by our media? He asks us: Are the movies we watch skewing the functions of our roles?

Here is Anne Summers aproaching the question from a broader outlook, but a narrower focus of intention:

But can we draw back further and discern broader implications?

If this is all true and that which is between us "media" is skewd from our benefit - what is the gap? What is it we are missing? We percieve harm, but what exactly is this harm?

I will lay down 2 ways to approach these questions:

1. Our world views consist of personal experience, and the report of the experience of others. That which we accept in report is assumption - untested, and yet we accept it as if seen by our own eyes. Here is one gap - can we truly separate our own experience from false artifacts in our media? If we can - are we training ourselves and our children to make thesse distinctions?

2. The deficit between Broadcast and Transactional media. In all broadcast media, there is only one active participant - the broadcaster. The reciever is entirely passive - In theatre we call this the "suspension of disbelief" - the material of the broadcast is taken as reality, and yet it is rarely tested. In transactional media, each participant mediates passivity by questioning - are we losing the art of the question?

I argue that the underlying principle goes before modern forms such as movies and internet. I argue that the absurdity of our broadcast-propagandised diet has its seeds well into the past - that it arises from an far older harm which is perpetuated in our media.

I name that harm violence. And I place it squarely at the door of the alpha male - and his ultimate form: the psychopath.

Here is Sapolski revealing the violent patriarchal culture of baboons, and the alternative matriarchal culture of baboons:

Can we learn from this?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Comment deleted

    • thumb
      Jan 23 2013: Hi MIke,

      I never left - been involved in formalising my thesis on a field theory of self-organising dynamics. At hyatus right now - more time for TED.
      Here is the biggie that has me stumped: A field description of "context".
      As social organisms, we cannot stop chewing - it is our species advantage. However, the fodder has a toxin that we had better address as a matter of priority.

      Context appears to be fractal. This makes it intractable without knowing its dimensional degree. In behaviour, context is shaped by competing factors which define the dimensions in which they operate. One can reduce these factors to potential advantage - further reducible to the components of motive (in humans it is the metrics of the proto-self) - however the reduction is multiplied by the boundary of self. A human has 3 levels of self (that we know of) but there is the emergent self of tribe. THe driving energy is "persistence" of self - as described by Darwin .. and in that sense, sophistication is the resort of the fringe-dweller: bacteria need not ask these questions!

      (edit: some development of the theme:
      Context - where, relative to self, is the toxin?
      It can be dealt with in maybe 2 ways:
      1. marginalise it (stop chomping) - this will force it into greater sophistication which may result in its extinction, or in its ultimate success. A risky undertaking.
      2. Ingest it and digest it. It is taken in and the toxin exreted. This requires a process of extraction of value. so to defeat the toxin is to ignore it - go for the nuitritional component and simply crap the rest out.
      hmmmm .. this bares some thinking! I'm getting a good dopamine hit right now!)
      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Jan 23 2013: Yes, but that assumes that the toxin is present only in certain chanels of media. Certainly, it is most noticable in one-way media assertions. But it may lurk in the language framework itself - and will act as a seed into the future.
          The marginalisation of mass media will not happen overall until the toxn is identified - and i note that this particular toxin is linked to an adiction hijack. Your junk-food analogy is applicable. Both toxin and inducement must be clearly identified before an absolute method can be devised to deal with it in all its forms.

          Understood about the TED thing - it is a form of mass media with its own toxins and inducements.

          Happy gardening!
      • thumb
        Jan 23 2013: GIGO (garbage in garbage out) is a truism in computers and in epistomology.
        Vigilance, discretion, experience, wisdom, don't these abilities allow us to safely assess and process media? A liberal can read FOX News and a conservative can read the NY Times. Both will learn something. Information is in the air in the 21st century. We can't stop breathing. Critical Thinking equips a person for safe exposure to the whole range of information, from Truth to Propaganda. Monastic retreat into some ultra-strict Information diet seems like a faulty plan to me.
        • thumb
          Jan 23 2013: I think it is Richard Dawkins who talks about needing to make sure we are innoculated to protect ourselves from the virus of infectious repetition. Said differently, I agree, Edward, that the disposition to question and the skills to think critically are vital tools for life.
        • thumb
          Jan 24 2013: Hi ed,

          as usual you are on the mark.

          It is not good enough to think - one must also do.

          Think is only half. But it is the FIRST half.

          Talk is just gas - if talk does not describe do, then one is violating the "think" that belongs to others.

          Here we go talk talk talk.

          I am chastened. And I thank you.

          So what is it we have done?

          Well, I have turned my back om free-to-air media.
          Only to turn to youtube and TED.
          talk talk talk.

          So what did I do?

          I red the links and papers and checked the data - this is a worthwhile doing - all those who do not check the data have not qualified themselves to add to it .. and yet .. talk talk talk.
          And what did I do?

          I came here and challenged the tedsters to see the gap between think and do - the gap in which harm grows - with a flower of gap.

          Talk talk talk.
          So what do i do?

          I paint a picture - a place of jumping off of the talk - a place to find one's final excuse .. beyond which is no excuse.

          Then I jumped on a bicicle to get a pneumatic link and some 150 grit sandpaper - the pneumatic link is to re-connect the gun-drill to make 1/2 inch bores for the flutes I make. My teacher added some improvements to the tool, and I have to get it re-fited to my operation. Maybe improvement, maybe not - I find out tomorrow when I charge up the compressor and go running with the bulls - such is boring wood at precision. The bore goes through the wood as it turns n the chuck of the lathe - it kicks like a mule, and you have to hang on for the entire cut no matter what happens or ot weill fail - if it fails bad and the drill goes into the chuck then it will break my arm and maybe roll me up like a flesh strip and kill me. So I better hang in there.
          The pneumatic is to blow air u[ the drill to stop it over heayting and to blow the chips out - these are long holes .. no one has any idea how difficult it is to make a tube. Tubes will be badly missed if the wheels fall off our adventure in decadence. Which they will soon.
          How am I doing Ed?
    • thumb
      Jan 23 2013: Is destructive, anti-social behavior an essential characteristic of Alpha males?
      • thumb
        Jan 24 2013: good question Ed,

        Yes. It is part of his education. If he is not recognised and integrated he will entropize everything in his grasp.

        He has excellent empathy - he sees all and he reads minds, but this does not help. He does not know the role of compassion. If he is luicky, he will be thwarted long enough to see that compassion pays-off in the long run.
        Few Alphas are thwarted - they are too damn clever.
        Then we are at the mercy of their instant desires - and we cannot resist - our wheel is within their wheel - we cannot see it and we blame the gods.
        One gets to know this when one meets a few .. they do indeed seem god-like.
        Thank the real god for brain-plasticity - if one survives them long enough, one gets to stand close.
      • thumb
        Jan 24 2013: You know .. the Egyptians knew this. This is what the great pyramids were for. The child king was closed within the sarcofagus, the great stones were lowered. The child-man died, and the god-king emerged. THese were not burial mounds - they were the test of gods. Or so they thought.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.