TED Conversations

Mitch SMith


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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?


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  • Jan 29 2013: Thank you.

    Just when I was at the point of despair thinking I can never again be astonished by the tripe I read on the Internet, you have gladdened my heart.
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      Jan 29 2013: Hi JJ,
      We teach each other how to treat us.
      It is difficult to teach a media which does not listen.
      This is the mark of the alpha male: "my way or the highway" - it's easy to spot.
      As Sapolsky has observed, once this attitude is removed (by tuberculosis in the case of the baboons), the community can snap into a more stable pattern.
      If one looks at the physiology - baboons are adapted to a carnivorous diet - our assumptions would insist that they could not possibly be a peaceful species. But our assumptions were wrong.
      Humans, on the other hand, simply do not have the carnivorous physique .. we are, at most, omnivores - our blunt teeth and slow bodies indicate we are basically herbivores.
      If baboons can do it, so can we.
      These are phase-change events - they happen suddenly.
      All you need is the crystal-seed - and the tripe can turn into gladdness.
      One starts with one's self.

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