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 22 2013: Media influences us; and that is inevitable. If the media doesn't, something or someone else will. But the facts and fictions of the media are what they are. The world is a place of diversity; there are so many stories under the sun, so even our personal experience should not be taken as the sum of all experience and wisdom.
    Generalisations are our ways of understanding the complexities of life and living; but we should be aware of our tendency to generalize at all times, so that we do not become a fool with only a simplistic view of life.

    Some people do believe everything served by the media without questioning; this is unfortunate. But the media should not be blamed. In films or theatre or novels, conflict makes the story engaging and interesting; so there is always a difference between the narrative universe and the real world....sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.

    We should always examine ourselves, to be aware of our prejudices and generalisations, and of the effort of the media to provide quality programmes.
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      Jan 22 2013: Nicely said!

      It is all true, but my question attempts to gain more comprehension of the generalities.

      Firstly - there is no "the media" this is too general. At its base it is more useful to definine it as "that which passes between us". From that basis, we can begin to discern types of things which pass between us. What you call "the media" might represent modern broadcast media including mass methods based on printing. That, in turn is based on writing, which is in turn based on spoken language - and this is where we find, not only a specific definition, but also a map of turning-points. It is at these turning points that we may be able to discern errors or potentials buried deep in the past. These questions are rarely asked, but need to be asked now with the language media exploding through the internet.

      At each of the "great leaps" of communication - what did we miss? What have we forgotten?
  • Jan 23 2013: Image happens to be powerful as Cameron Russell mentions in her talk.
    And consequently, the message that an image tries to show us could be harmful or beneficial.
    Well-plotted stories are quite the most influential ones.
    Yet, ironically, those kinds of things rather make us raise more profound and broader questions to ourselves.

    When I was a teen, I couldn't help watching all those K-pop stars’ music videos and stuffs like that 'cause they looked so pretty and nice.
    I knew it was meaningless and useless for me to watch all those stuffs, but all of their images in media literally captured my eyes.
    It might have influenced the way I think of fashion or one’s appearance, but there was this inkling that I should stop being fooled by them.
    I knew those could be a bad influence because there was a possibility that I could be obsessed with looking "cool" as most of my friends wanted to be.

    "are we losing the art of the question?"

    I think we're not losing it. We're just ignoring it.

    And again, ironically, what taught me to realize that images can be ‘superficial’ is media.

    There surely are 'good stuffs' on TV, internet, and Youtube.

    I try to extract good messages from them and then ask myself what I can learn from them.

    Now I often—sometimes smirkingly—smile when I happen to watch all that fancy music videos, which are rather focused on fascinating images, not music in itself(I’m not saying that all music videos are, but quite many of them are.)

    Once they captured my eyes, but now I can think of them as some sort of ridiculous dreams.

    Media experience can teach us better.
    …which brings us back to your vey question, Mitch.
    (We’re not just meant to be passive.)
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      Jan 24 2013: THe story that we see is all of the ego. THe ego lives in the autobiographical self.
      Here we tell stories - the stories are to make predictions - if it turns out OK, we try it.

      But the autobiographical self is not our true self - it is our true self that has no words - it has the body, it has the senses and it has the muscles. The true self is what Damasio calls the core-self. OUr body and its feelings are the proto-self.

      My work shows me that there are many many selves in the story-place. I also know how the stories can be twisted.
      We have "world-view" which is the total of all our maps of life - but these maps should be from our life. The stories in media become part of our maps - and it is not our life. This is where the gap lives - our world view does not know the difference between experience and fiction. And the only way to tell the difference is to ask or try. Try can be fatal .. best ask first.
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          Jan 26 2013: Hi Mike,

          The world view is like a predicion space.
          It serves us really well for the most part.
          The problem is that media is "pre-fabricated" perception. One has to observe the crafting to know if harm and poisons have not been added in that fabrication.

          I agree that such social media sites as TED consume enormous chunks of our "agency" .. and it is well not paid for. These things will ultimately collapse along with all the other parasitic forces chewing on us - the host must eventually collapse for lack of value returned. We all have to eat.

          The good thing is that the true value producer will come out on top .. I applaud your shift towards value.

          In the mean time, forums like TED act as catalyst to precipitate more people into understanding true value. THose who persist in pushing paper and coins around and destroy value in the name of civilisation will be somewhat bewildered when their willing horse vanishes from under them.

          We are here devising the arts of vanishing .. there is value in that ;)
  • Jan 22 2013: Hi Mitch,

    You are bringing up several connected issues.

    First, let us acknowledge, as an observation, with no intention of pointing blame, that the human species started as a violent species. The notion that we should become non-violent is correct, but it is relatively recent (when using an evolutionary time scale), and it is in conflict with our evolution. The human male is literally born to be violent. For a boy to become a mature non-violent adult requires large doses of training and socialization. It is no wonder that some males never learn the lesson of non-violence, but it is proper that we should question the number of violent males and continually attempt to lesson that number. While one in five females are raped, there is still much work to be done, and some of that work involves the media.

    "can we truly separate our own experience from false artifacts in our media?"

    Certainly. This also requires training and, perhaps more importantly, a willingness to put in the effort to question the media. I certainly taught my son; he is convinced that all media are distorted.

    "are we losing the art of the question?"

    Not here at TED. I think most people question the media, but perhaps not sufficiently. It is very difficult to read or view a story, and then question and examine how you are using this story to support ideas that you already believe. Sifting the nuggets of truth from the media requires difficult work.

    There is plenty of blame to spread around. An audience that is willing to listen gets a big part, but a commercial media that intentionally chooses and shapes stories for monetary gain is also guilty.

    I do not agree with the attitude that the media is what it is. The media is the result of people making choices, and they must be held accountable. The simple way to hold them accountable is to shut them out.
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      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!)
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          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!
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        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.
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          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.
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          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?
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      Jan 23 2013: Is destructive, anti-social behavior an essential characteristic of Alpha males?
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        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.
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        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.
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    Gail .

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    Jan 22 2013: I can learn from this. You can learn from this. Those who do not want to learn from this will not allow themselves to.
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      Jan 22 2013: Exactly!
      One has to ask the advantage of ignorance.
      There is a robust discussion about the genesis of conspiracy theories.
      Mostly I see them as an example of tribal self-scaring.
      But one thing they demsonstrate starkly is the difference between politics and science.
      Those who take the podium of "conspiracy" are not interested in facts - only effects.
      Politics adores the untested/untestable assumption.
      One needs only look at Lord Monkton to see the arts of political deception at work.
      In this he clearly exercises gross advantage in the utilisation of existing ignorance while inflating that ignorance in the process - it is pure psychopathic artistry which deserves it's own place at the Luvre!
      So then - what is happening with media portrayals of sexual behavioural "norms"?
      Who are the perpetrators of ignorance? And why? What is the advantage of being ignorant?
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        Gail .

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        Jan 23 2013: I think that there are two kinds of ignorance. Willful ignorance and unintended ignorance.

        Example of unintended (learned) ignorance: I learned - in school and from my parents - that I am not as "bright" as those who make major decisions affecting my life. (I would ask a question like 'why does congress do this when ...'. ) I was told it was because they lived in an intellectual realm so high that simple people like us can't understand it. I believed this. I therefore assumed that when I read something that didn't make sense, it didn't make sense because I was too stupid. It took enormous courage to accept the fact that I am not stupid. I was stunned when, as I began educating myself, I discovered how much information had been withheld from my formal education - and how much of it was OUTRIGHT lies. My self-assessment changed - as it should have long ago because I do have a high IQ and I knew my number. Until I dared challenge what I had been told was true, I just assumed that those other people must have much higher IQs because they made no sense to stupid people like me. I didn't begin educating myself until I was in my 30s, and only then did I begin to see how much of a danger I had been to myself and my society because of learned ignorance.

        Then there is willful ignorance. These are the people who hide inside a FALSE sense of security. They live fear-based lives. They are intellectually lazy as a consequence of their fears They pretend that they are powerless so that they can tell themselves that they do not have to accept responsibility for their decisions.

        Whether intentional or not, ignorance offers a FALSE sense of security. It also offers an unhappiness that becomes so commonplace in their lives that they can no longer see it in themselves.
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          Jan 24 2013: That is pretty much on the mark.

          On top of that, the discovery of the extent of brain plasticity shows us that the very notion of IQ is too broadly applied - anyone can develop "genius" so long as there is not some major injury of deformation of the brain - and even then, plasticity can go a long way.

          What i am beginning to explore is the actual physical manifestation of "assumptions".
          An assumption is at the root of an ignorance. You have identified the passive and active parts of that.They are either acquired or induced.
          From a neural network perspective, and assumption is an incomplete spatial or causal map. These maps will demonstrate their stability by what we experience as "doubt" or "un-confidence". It has to do with no exit from a stimulated network "nexus" or if the exits are more than one. That's the simplistic model - but good enough for discussing the principle.
          Usually, such unstable nexuses will trigger curiosity, but may also lead to frustration and be dulled-down.

          But there is a more intrinsic process at work. Our experiences refine our respones to various contexts in our environment - this is how we adapts so well. But these processes can only be as good as the experience - experience is essentially "local". I cannot have experience of what is happening on the other side of the mountain - it might have water running uphill and flying pigs - I cannot know, I simply assume it is the same as here. This is good enough - my assumption serves me whilever I am on this side of the mountain.
          This, in neural science, is called a "local minimum". It is the thing which is responsible for people not seeing things in plain sight. One could say that it is a nexus map which has become stable - it has an output and it has a stable single output. It can be no other way. So If I fail to see a pig that has flown over the mountain, I will continue to not see it till it hovers down and kicks me in the nuts - thus setting up a brand new map.
          There's the rub.
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        Gail .

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        Jan 24 2013: The reason that I began educating myself in the 80s is because my "untested assumptions" kicked me in the behind, and I was forced into another reality where my previous assumptions were clearly a figment of my imagination.

        My worldview crashed. In one very startling and horrifying moment, I realized that there is no justice, equality, or freedom in my culture or in my life. Even now I am shocked that I believed that there was, having grown up in the 50s & 60s when women like me were not considered fully human and blacks were horribly treated. I knew these things, but I was so well indoctrinated (in government sponsored mandatory education) that phrases like "America is the land of the free", and (from our pledge of allegiance) "...under God, with liberty and justice for all" took precedence over what I saw all around me. I assumed that educators were being honest so I simply didn't see any conflict - until that moment when my worldview came crashing down. (I think that's what you mean by local minimum)

        My response to that was INITIALLY to raise my hand up to God and ask .... at which point, I saw all of the conflicts in what I had been taught and what I had learned on my own, and I realized that "God" was just another of those ideas without merit. That was the scariest moment. Terrifying even. But I could not unknow what I knew and fear was no longer a soothing comforter.

        I sat at my table literally dumfounded. I saw only two choices. Refuse to participate in the abomination and starve to death, or find an evidence-based worldview to replace the one that had just failed me. The 1st was emotionally compelling but a waste. The 2nd seemed beyond me - I didn't know how or where to begin. I didn't know what I didn't know.

        At that moment, a friend (who managed a book store) stopped by the house on her lunch hour. She walked in, put a book on the table, said "read this", and left. (Something not done before or since).

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        Gail .

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        Jan 24 2013: (continued...) The book precisely answered the 2nd question. Now incomplete (nearly 30 years old), it was called "Einstein, Wittgenstein, Gertrude Stein, and Frankenstein". I read the book amazed, and when I put it down, I was INTENT on creating a worldview for myself. It would be evidence based and that meant that it would not fail me in even the more dire of circumstances.

        From that point forward, every sweep of my eye gave me much more information than I had seen before. I heard more in conversations than I had heard before. I became self-aware (eventually)

        I would say that I overcame my ignorance at the moment when I heard myself ask a question in question form. (Rather than the rhetorical, "How could that happen!!!", I asked with curiosity "How could that happen?"

        This is in part why I love Sir Robinson's TED talk about schools killing creativity. My new-found intellectual curiosity inspired me to reach ever-forward.

        For me, it took a moment of crisis. What I had believed was unbelievable.

        Humanity is walking to a crisis point. It is unavoidable - though when it hits is anyone's guess. When it does worldviews will come crashing down. I think (suspect) that THAT is unavoidable as well. For me, therein lies my hope for humanity. What seemed to work doesn't.

        Thankfully science has evolved enough to answer some of our most basic questions and it provides enough "evidence" to sustain a kinder, gentler, more empowering worldview. It's a worldview that is gaining unorganized world-wide popularity - one person at a time. It is a curiosity inspired and intent driven worldview.

        My theory is that without an intervening motivator, people will continue to find solace in their fears that blind them to the ability to perceive great wonders (regardless of the cause). They will cling to their ignorance and call it their savior, and there is no way to reach them.
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          Jan 25 2013: Cudos to you TL - for what it's worth.

          I am fixated on the harm . because the harm is what makes me cry .. sadness it the the blue of the rainbow, and i will always cry. But the harm is not blue, it is black .. it hurts and those who pretend that there is no blue and talk about "the persuit of happiness" become grey, and the harm takes them as a way to spread. This is called "depression".

          The rules .. every rule creates 3 ways - the winer, the loser and the cheat.

          Be a cheat .. winners and losers are stuck in the rule - it is the cheat who gets to change the rule.
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        Gail .

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        Jan 25 2013: The currently accepted worldview allows cheats - and even encourages them. But there is a worldview where cheating isn't possible and the very thought is irrational.

        You and I see the harm, but if the harm becomes the best thing to hit mankind since mankind left its hunting gathering ways, then those who survive will establish a new world and a kinder, more gentle, and more empowering social system. It is that upon which I try to keep my perceptions fixated.

        Keep your eyes on the prize, my friend. There are more of us than you think. Many are in various stages of awakening - to the point where it is being talked about openly. I recently heard some important person on TV say, "You don't have to have awakened very much to know that ....." It struck me even though I don't remember who said it.

        As you don't have the ability to reach those who will not hear, your only reasonable choice is to facilitate your own evolution. It's a rather isolating experience at present, but oh - so worth it! I run into enough people from time to time to know that I am not alone. I run into them through the internet far more often than I run into them in person. But they are there - each having come into self-awareness via their own routes. The amazing thing is that each wakes up into the same understanding of how reality works - no matter where they came from.

        A better day is coming. But you have to take the LONG view to see it.
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          Jan 26 2013: It's just the nature of rules.
          The universe has no regard for them.
          We will make new social orders, but to avoid the boom/bust we will need to understand the reasons for it. Money is one, misunderstanding of human capacity is another. Our institutions are too ambitious, and largely uneccessry.
          So far it seems that we have abandoned our tribal roots too hastily - the power of the tribe needs revisiting. It could well be that institutions should not appy within the tribe, but as a method for regulating inter-tribe dynamics. A tribal structure of around 200 individuals needs very few rules .. this thing we call "freedom" - it is eroded by allowing tribes to get too big - by attempting to codify mutuality, the institutions displace our tribal mutuality and throws compassion from our considerations - discression is lost, and harm arises in the mal-adaption of our laws. It can work a whole lot better - but first we must stop making "death" a thing, death is not a thing, there is only life here.
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        Gail .

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        Jan 26 2013: so true
  • Feb 18 2013: I don't think that many people believed anything they watch and hear from the media. Because I don't really believed everything I watch and hear from the media, although the media has long been a powerful tool for communication and issues.

    The newspaper has been in existence longer than others (television and radio) and still is one of the most trusted and used in decision making. The media plays an important role in communication and issues facing the community, state, and notion. The newspaper is often thought of as the best resource for tangible, detailed information about the local, state and issues.

    Sometimes, newspapers try to present a balance of news and viewpoints so that readers can make decisions based on reason, rather than on emotion. Though some readers believe that a newspaper continually shows favoritism, the daily reader of the newspaper will discover a balance in the presentation of information. Reading one day’s edition may seem to result in many stories or issue, but the next day’s newspaper may carry more news and opinion.

    Balance is achieved over a period of time, not necessarily in one edition; therefore, it is wise to read the newspaper every day to receive a balance of news and opinion.
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      Feb 19 2013: Now stop thinking about an elephant?

      You see, I just put an elephant in your mind and you can't resist it.

      Now tell me about the balance of broadcast media ;)
  • Feb 14 2013: the psychopath...

    humm let me think...

    Often intelligent and charismatic. An inability to feel remorse regarding consequences of their actions. The ability to lie without feeling guilt. Use of violence and intimidation to control others. Satisfy self serving needs. Expansion.

    Well that just about defines how most CEO's see their roles in multinationals. And since they own the media, why are you even posing this question :)
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      Feb 14 2013: Hi Tify,

      Funny how these converstaions tend to cross-link.

      Corporations tend to attract Psychopaths because of the standard corporate definition. The standard corporate entity is not interested in people beyond the resource they represent. Psychos are comfortable with that.

      That said, not all CEOs are psychos .. the relationship is corollary to a certain extent, but not causal.

      It might very well be true that the corporate definition was devised by a psycho, but it's more likely to have been just one of those mistakes of technology - along with the atomic bomb and GMOs.

      I am beginning to see a pattern that might have use.

      Humans seem to be enormously creative. We create incredibly robust systems which tend to take off beyond our control. They are usually intended to serve "the greater good" whatever that is.

      For instance, money seems like a great idea - there are so many benefits to not carrying around 12 cabbages, a kitchen chair and a wilderbeest just to trade for a few bags of corn. But currency in circulation must match current value - so currency must be created and withdrawn to maintain the exchange standard - otherwise artificial inflation/deflation occurs. And then one has to account for investment by inventing money for credit. ANd that makes money a token of trust. However, When money becomes defined as a token of property, it becomes an expression of violence - and trust is replaced by enforcable contract. Once it becomes an expression of violence, violent entities can invade it - and voila! The financial insitution - money-contracts in circulation which add nil value, and in fact, destroy value.

      Democracy is like a good idea. But modern democracy includes the dissolution of government at the end of each electoral term - and must be re-built by the voters. This prevents governments from persuing permanent survival - but it has been invaded by imortal political parties.

      Always the parasite corrupts our creations.

      And media? Propaganda perhaps?
      • Feb 15 2013: Hi Mitch,

        it is, isn't it.

        I think money in some ways, like the other points you mention, is fundamentally flawed in respect that is removed, and abstracted from what reality is. Money, is not food, its not health, it's not anything. And it in it's abstraction does not allow you to see the real product, nor it's value.

        And therein lays the problem, if it does not represent the item, but is an abstraction, why oh why are we surprised when people loose their morality.

        The problem with money is, it requires you to do things you normally wouldn't do.
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          Feb 16 2013: Yes.

          These abstractions create a potential that we do not comprehend. Emergent things that are invisible to our senses.

          Money is an expression of trust - trust in value of self and other. Democracy is also an expression of trust - trust of representation in leadership. But when you look closely, these are made necessary by distrust.
          These things are created by distrust, and it is through this gap that the parasites invade.
  • Feb 13 2013: Old fashion media forced you to see propaganda while you see a game, a movie; ... well, while you are entertaining yourself, to create an artificial need - mostly capitalizing in our animal instincts: "you have to buy the last model car to get a woman, so your neighbor can envy you, etc. etc.; hate, envy, jealousy, violence etc. " today we have other options and more people are turning off the TV and picking what they want to see on the internet and local markets. At some point products will have to stand for their real value, small business will flourish and the monopolies will collapse giving birth to a healthier economy ... altruism and utopia for some people realty for others!
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    Feb 12 2013: Would agree that any medium that wants to 'pitch' a certain message will ultimately be harmful because it does not offer a balanced picture. There is definately re-interpretation of data, to give one example there is a theory called 'Attachment Theory' which is a very popular way of looking at what happens in families. It is often quoted in the context of western culture 'nuclear' families. Many, many academic studies have taken this theory as 'the truth' rather than 'a particular person's take on the truth'. This 'theoretical lens' has been adapted and evolved, it has been challenged due to it's western culture bias. So what started as an idea has evolved and grown because it seemed to offer a relatively simple answer. Would suggest always a second-take at least on any process of interchange. Any communication is for a reason, that is why a decent education is so important - the time and space to interpret and challenge also so important. Teaching someone to read in the first place is so very, very important and so many children don't even get that opportunity in life.
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      Feb 13 2013: The harm lies in ignoring the basic principle of advantage.
      One can hitch one's cart to a beneficial agenda, but wisdom is to be ready to un-hitch at a moment's notice.
      I observe that the truth is unknowable - instead we have various levels of "belief" (aka "perception"). All that can be done is to follow where truth seems to be going.
      The "gap" - the divide of harm seems to lay, not so much in the gap between perception and truth, as in how wide that gap is and how it came to be so wide.
      If one comes within proximity of truth, then things go well for that one.
      So this delivers 2 mindsets - the first is not afraid of others posessing proximity to truth and encourage it, the second is to treat the truth as a personal threat and attempt to turn others away from it.
      A great example of the latter mindset is Lord Monkton and other members of the Marshal institute - they caused great damage to the word "balance" which has been active as a principle of subversive bias ever since. In the media, the word "balance" has now become synonomous with political correctness and has induced a massive gap between knowledge and truth. This technique has been taken up by all the perverters of the world. Knowing this helps.
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        Feb 13 2013: Mitch you are so insightful. I am sure you know of the sayings when someone offers a 'toast' either health, wealth and happiness or health, wealth and wisdom. It is part of the joy of getting older that we are more knowledgeable but I guess that comes at a price. Facing up to your own truths is a complex process. So pleased to see you being a guiding light to so many. In the meantime just look after yourself as well, get out in the sunshine if you can, it helps enormously.
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    Feb 11 2013: It really amazes me at how people think that media causes violence. It might have an influence on the choice of method but violence is something each of us has the potential for.

    Violence is a choice. There may be precipitating factors but many of us go through the day without acting on that choice. Even though we really really want to. We have learned and rehearsed a different response.

    So violence is natural if you do not learn a different response. That is why most violent people come from a violent history. It is what they learned. But I think it is rare that someone learns violence from TV or video games, or media. We would all be killing each other.
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      Feb 12 2013: yes - it gets gnarly ..

      but media is just that which passes between us. If what passes between us is violence?

      Well. perhapse violence is a form of media?

      Like - if I violate you, it is probably the most direct transference of information I can imagine.

      It's not that media about violence is a problem .. but that media which IS violence is a problem.

      Does that make sense?
      Check out the Marshal institute - this is what I class as media-as-violation. The gap itself.
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      Feb 12 2013: The problem Linda is that media, enhanced by the internet has brought in many areas of human experience that were once considered to be small niche outlets, like the porn industry.

      People watch porn and some of it involves violence and they try it at home, perhaps discovering they like it.

      Many children, mimick what they see on Television in their everyday lives, even violent Shows. When I was a kid, we constantly played cowboys and Indians, shooting each other and killing the bad guys, etc.

      Just as children learn to talk by saying the words over and over again, so too do they learn behaviors that are revealed via media, over and over again. I think TV is an excellent teacher of Violence; what it is, how to apply it, and how to make it part of your life.

      Most of this is designed, based on sound physiological studies and served by the media industry to get people to act in a certian way or purchase particular products.

      Then there is the not so noticed violence we learn on TV like fast foods, energy drinks, and dangerous games. While this may not be considered direct violence of a hatred kind, it is still violence to the body and mind.
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    Feb 11 2013: Mitch g'day. Please have a look at a film called 'Resonance-beings of Frequency' by James Russell and John K, Webster, Patient Zero Productions Nov 2012. You Tube link (hopefully right) Sorry not sure how to post actual link. Present from Don. This morning have woken up to snow, possibly remnants of storm system from east coast of USA. In online media this morning talk about how children's tv programmes have potentialy 'dumbed down' a generation of children. In the meantime your points about cookies and apps so true, every time now communicate thru internet get barrage of 'targetted' ads and 'informmercials' with no real explanation of what is going on. At least son and I were able to share our mutual feelings of anxiety thru 4 non blondes rock song which is currently doing the rounds. Understand available on a 100 hour extended loop. So not so way off topic, just look sideways, keep dancing and thank you so much for your kindness to me.
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      Feb 11 2013: Frequency? Yes .. sort of. I'll check the link and say more to remain on-point.
      We have to be careful of "magic tricks". Just learning the trick is not good enough - you also have to work out why it works, then get the courage to share it.
      I have this terrible arguement with the brilliant people involved in creating artificial intelligence (such as targeted advertising) - there is not intelligence without a "self" because AI's are self-organising. It's a very accurate tautology..
      The Frequency people tend to be too influenced by Greek geometry, Plato and Pythagoras - but we know better now. Fractal geometry is far more powerful for describing reality - resonant strings assume that they are attached to fixed ends - and nothing is fixed, all systems are open systems - the strings are connected to other strings.
      I really like the fractal network model of dark matter, it shows a connectedness that scales well. Of course there is no dark matter or energy - we assume our instruments detect everything, being essentially nothing but empty space we should be happy we detect the 4%.

      The gap of media is starting to look like the definition of ignorance (the difference between ambient noise and induced noise - demarking the 2 faces of ignorance) - I'll check the link and get back to you!
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      Feb 11 2013: Yes checked the link - I saw that one a while back.
      What they say is true about electromagnetic polution .. but it's all part of the same phenomenon. We are poluting everything. We are entropizing the Earth.
      I get a bit worried about these media things - they make a lot of unfounded assertions, they spell "bees" as "bee's" and they don't know the difference between microwaves and mobile phone carrier frequency - big difference, still lethal, but I like pwople to tell the truth - otherwise I know they are attempting to induce the gap of ignoreance - and, like all religions, are lying.
      This is OK when you know you are being lied to .. there is a process of winnowing the speck of truth ..
      Don't worry, humans will be forced back into their niche - the planet seems to be sorting all that out, no elites, no illuminati - just reality. Within 20 or 30 years there will be only a few million humans left. Either that, or we will have turned asside from the gap.
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    Feb 8 2013: Knew you would hear me - so 'media' as a way oif saying 'communication'. Broadcast media is when there is a one way stream of information when there is no chance of reply. Transactional media is where there is cause and impact and a chance to respond and get that response heard. Loads of debates about the structure of society and attachment theory going on at the moment. The impact of the state on the individual and the impact of technology in 'locking people down' into really inflexible social structures. The impact of 'dramatic' cultural products like movies, that engage people in a common experience and give opportunities for dialogue using the framework of the movie to debate complex social 'values' and 'norms' and the role of 'deviance'. All this comes from the vocabulary of 'sociology'. Maybe some people can distinguish self from an artificial self created by the society they live in but it all depends on the penalties for being different. If it potentially involves life imprisonment people are going to hide their differences. Ever read Terry Pratchett 'Wintersmith' - one clever guy getting his ideas out there in fictionalised form. In older societies young pubescent males are taken away and 'tutored' in being a man and then returned to the social group as young men. There is often some kind of initiation rite involving pain and endurance. Possibly still way off message for topic of conversation so leaving it to more refined minds than mine. Do entirely agree when a system is flawed do tend to end up with violent, angry, disenfranchised young men. Keep dancing Mitch - get people talking and thinking !!!!
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      Feb 8 2013: Yeah, Pratchet makes me larf! He's so good at that.

      I spoke at length to a federal "staffer" one day walking up to the shops.
      I talk to people, sometimes they don't like it, but mostly you find yourself talking to someone with some real value. So this lady turns out to be good friend of Noam Chomsky and was on the staff of 4 of the last 5 prime ministers here. I won't repeat what is the convention to not repeat, but when I asked her:
      "well . Steve Pinker reckons that violence is on a decline trend and has been so even past 2 world wars."
      She said .. "it looks that way, but it's not true, it's just being supressed better .. it's a management thing. Nothing has really changed and it will get out sooner or later - and they all know it".

      The take-home on that is that most people aren't worried about giving value - if you give them a chance.. the few who resist give away their rapacious natures. Then you know the faces.
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    Feb 7 2013: Hey Mitch, you should see what they are saying in the U.K. media about the very real possiblity of a global superstorm of solar radation and it's impact on satellite technology etc. The last event being back in the C19th I understand and called 'the Carrington effect'. Very interesting, know you like that sort of thing, just think of the chaos if the world monetary sytems and global trade cannot communicate for even 2-3 hours let alone 2-3 days. Back to carrier pigeons :D. Love to you and everyone on TED. P.S. It's in the combination of what you know and who you know. Continue to have some really good, real life conversations as well as on TED.
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      Feb 7 2013: Yes a lot of people have been watching for that lately.
      Also there's a metorite passing within low satelite orbit sometime soon.
      Chaos is not stochastic you know ..
      What interests me is how the sun has been popping-off a ton of CMEs in its current maximum, but none of them have been facing Earth ..
      I've been watching the plasma patterns in the solar photosphere . it's beginning to look like there's not a lot of nuclear fission giong on in the sun as was believed this last 100 years. And since Voyager penetrated the sun's outer magnetic bounday, all sorts of theory has fallen .. it's looking like all the stars are connected by chaotic plasma flux, and all of it is looking like a self-organising system - doing stuff like like our brains do.
      What a universe!
      I'm prompted to consider what is inside and what is outside of a "self" and how a self will get close to strange attractors, then get a nudge from a higher self.
      Who needs god?

      BTW - a big CME won't knock out the comms for a few days - start thinking years .. none of it is sufficiently shielded, and it will take at least 10 years to get all the satelites back up. Maybe centuries with most the people dead and the infrastucture cripled.
      But maybe we won't make that mistake again and just get over ourselves .. get back to living instead of being Mr super dominator guy.. Check out the Piraha tribe - they don't do recursion .. I like that.
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          Feb 8 2013: Well, this is waaaay off the topic I set .. and I apologise for those expecting discourse on the shortfalling of media .. but.. just look at it sideways .. and BINGO! It's back on topic.
          Communication is not binary in humans - we are 360-degrees in all the dimensions we can comprehend. And remember - degrees are a convention of measurement.

          Elizabeth, it has occured to me that our measures are all wrong. Think of this:

          The physicists have proven beyond much doubt that attoms and their constituent particles occupy nothing .. they are all potentials.
          Potential means "what happens next?"

          ANd they show us how much in between these "likelyhoods" is vacant .. there's nothing there.

          ANd then they ask: Well .. what TF is all this energy and matter we can't detect!!?? and say wisely:"Hmmm .. let me stroke my impressive beard right now and let you know - it's DARK matter .. DARK energy!!! Wooo Hoooo! gimme another grant!!! For the sake of my beard!!!"

          But the truth is that only about 4% of "potentials" fall into the detection aparatus - the rest just flies on though on its merry way undetected. This accounts for everything that Newton described. It's all there, we just miss most of it!

          That means that we don't need extra dimensions.

          An intersting conjecture.. it kinda states - just live it. If it gives you advantage or a jolly good time experimenting with it all - do it! It's all fun.

          The universe was made for fun.


          I might add - seeing is believing. What you can't percieve does not mean there's nothing there - and we just try to make sense of it all.

          We don't do too bad - and there's a lot of fun to be had on the way!

          Hmm controversial but:

          You ever just got caught in the dance .. and just danced? All the way to the end of the dance?
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    Feb 6 2013: We can definitely learn from this. Can the minds cultivated in such an environment take the lesson? Is another thing.
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      Feb 6 2013: I suspect that the door is narrow - and it does not comply to common reason.
      One might gain entry through passion. Passion seems to resolve into a desire to be one's self in the light of one's community. To be a light.
      It's all very involuted, one first needs the passion, then the company of the passionate - then a kind of "click" happens.
      It is very much like the swinging-magnet toy which only needs a nudge to go off in wild gyrations and find a new resting place. For baboons, one resting place is not nice, another is harmonious. For humans there might be more than 2 of these strange attractors.
      And even if a harmonious resting place is found - what can be done about the nudges which shift back to the violence?
      Perhaps the trick is to nudge twice?
      These are very small things - the 9/11 nudge turned USA into Nazi Germany .. what's 3000 people out of 300 million? And how is it that Turkey remains relatively stable after 35,000 deaths by Kurdish terror?
      Perhaps the USA needs another nudge?

      (edit: It has occured to me that these "nudges" are external to the system ... a reasonably large meteor might do the trick - and if that doesn't work maybe another one - or a big volcano .. Yellowstone for instance .. or a big solar flare.)
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      Feb 4 2013: Yes. I have seen some of this, and i will read it in detail.
      From the outset, I have some arguements with game theory.
      We have TFT(tit for tat) and FTFT(forgiving tit for tat).
      The basic structure is OK but only up to a point, I offer ATFT(adaptive tit-for-tat) as a more accurate description - the degree of forgiveness is contextual.
      The parent/adult/child thing also has its uses.
      However, have a look at this guy - there are significant caveats against using the PAC transactional matrix:
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      Feb 4 2013: also - be very careful - science and acedemia are currently under attack by the churches. Much of the media reporting of scientific bias and corruption are cherry-picked examples aimed to destroying science and perpetuating the ultimate power of gross religions and rapacious companies.
  • Feb 3 2013: There is a great Australian tv series called frontline... This conversation made me think it. As entertaining and as funny as it is, what it does is give you a good idea of what the media wants(ratings) & what they'll do to a story to make it more interesting. It's made by the ABC(Australian) & you can see that the writers of the series have an intimate knowledge of the workings within news & a current affairs.

    I wish everyone could see this show, to drive home they can't trust everything the media throws at you. It is available on YouTube for anyone interested. News will never seem the same again once you've watched a season or two!
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      Feb 4 2013: Perception is belief - at all levels.
      It is mostly driven by association - once a connection is formed between 2 ideas, they become a belief. If one of those ideas is false, the whole belief is false.
      So Big Mac will make you happy and sexy. And one continues to unconsciously believe it despite becoming unhappy and unatractive. Undoing associations is difficult.
      False associations can be overcome by noise - but it has to be large noise. For instance, diabetes and heart disease might be noisy enough to disconnect happy and healthy from big macs.
      With the media .. it helps to know that all belief is moderated by body-comfort. Journalists know this - you will see that abstract ideas get linked to personal desires and fears.

      The elephant of love.

      Now .. just try to get that elephant out of your head!
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    Feb 1 2013: When I was a teenager a newspaper was a newspaper. T.V. was for light entertainment, drama and very brief news and there was something called a radio, but that was for my grandparent's generation. My schoolteacher insisted we read a 'quality' newspaper every day, problem was my parent's could only afford a 'tabloid'. So I grew up without an objective standard in which to put what I read in the papers or saw on the t.v. in context. It just 'was'. Then at age 16 I had the chance to study Sociology. There was a complete section on the way the information in the media was distorted and biased. Over the years I have continued to read avidly and still vividly remember George Orwells book '1984'. Well the year 1984 came and went and the theme was echoed in the pop music of the time. I remember going to a recording of a Saturday morning popular tv programme where I was so surprised to find the 'noise of the crowd' was actually very quiet and what everyone viewing the tv programme was hearing was actually being played on very big loudspeakers. I saw something similar this year in Trafalgar Square - very small crowd but 'crazy camera angles' giving the impression of something much bigger. I haven't forgotten George Orwell or what my sociology teacher was trying to communicate to a bunch of dim teenagers. Think of the experience of the film - a darkened room and a very bright light from a screen. We are supposed to be a 'doing, moving, experiencing' species who are so successful due to group work not a passive, unthinking mob mentality. Interesting ideas on TED big picture at the moment about globalisation and governance and of course the media is now a global phenomenon. So do agree Mitch, are we 'monkey see, monkey do' or are we more than that ?
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      Feb 2 2013: Some monkeys are smarter than other monkeys. They see and do more.
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          Feb 3 2013: Hi Elizabeth, How's the weather over there?

          I dropped the forum. I'm just using email now. It uses less overhead.

          How bad is the situation over there?

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      Feb 3 2013:

      One cannot un-think an elephant.

      Monkey see -> monkey imagines doing -> if monkey gets advantage in the story? -> monkey does.

      If the story is false, monkey gets disadvantage. But it might be oh-so subtle. Monkeys are not good at feeling cumulative harm.
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          Feb 4 2013: Being in a tribe is essential for self security.
          This is what dance is for.
          But you have to do it - you can't just look at it.
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    Jan 31 2013: "In the space of one hundred and seventy-six years the Lower Mississippi has shortened itself two hundred and forty-two miles. Therefore ... in the Old Oolitic Silurian Period the Lower Mississippi River was upward of one million three hundred thousand miles long... seven hundred and forty-two years from now the Lower Mississippi will be only a mile and three-quarters long... There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact." ~Mark Twain.
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      Jan 31 2013: True,
      That is why scepticism is so important. But conjecture leads to hypothesis, hypothesis leads to experiment, and experiment leads to facts.
      First ask questions.
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        Feb 1 2013: I think the idea that conjecture, combined with hypothesis (sometimes hypothesis needs experimentation to be formed), sometimes, may lead to confusion of the facts: climate change for instance.

        @ Mitch below....
        "Which bit would you like me to expand upon(with references)? " ~Mitch SMith

        None of them. I think I understand where you are coming from. I'm following along OK. You can explain more if you like. I like to read your stuff.
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          Feb 3 2013: Oh yes - if one does not read the scientific papers, one is just a pundit.
          What I say here has support in various places. The conjectural part is a tentative joining of dots identifying simplex broadcast media as a vector of harm.
          Which bit would you like me to expand upon(with references)?
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    Jan 31 2013: I think point 2:

    "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?"

    expresses the real activity of most audiences, including those in deluged by the media and kids being raised at home.
    Reality is what the parents determine it to be (...the dragon will eat you if you do that too often) and this idea ultimately clashes with what the teachers teach our children at school (there are no dragons).

    "Suspension of belief", if allowed too often for too long, can lead the audience to mold their thinking about certian ideas to the point of personal belief. The movie about pot that appeared long ago: "Reefer Madness" had tremondous affect on peoples minds about hemp and Marujana, leading to both products becoming illegal in the United States. This lead to the destruction of an entire textile industry (hemp) and the medicine that were produced from thos products. Belive it or not, there was a time when pot and hemp were the, mainstayers, of our textile and rope industry.

    If we have no other visual or audio input to clash with the subject being interjected into the suspended mind (hypnosis?), it can become the mental norm of the recipient.
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      Jan 31 2013: Yes .. but be careful - it is the suspension of "dis-belief" - our capacity to compare our senses of what lies beyond the proscenium.
      And you are correct - a prolonged suspension of disbelief has the affect of confirming that nothing lies outside the proscenium. It is tunnel-vision on a a massive scale.

      Try this quick exercise:
      Hold your hand horizontally and sight-out a measurement of the width of your computer screen. Move your hand in and out till it matches the width.
      Then holding that hand at the same distance, swivel, and using that hand measure howm many lengths existin in your 360 degree sorroundings.

      When I do that, I get 12 measures. This is typical for most prosceniums - and very specifically TV and computer screens.

      So .. in blank reality - what occurs within a proscenium is only 1/12 of reality - but we take it for 100% - and we base arguement 100% certainty of that 1/12th reality - this makes us 11/12ths wrong when suspension of disbelief becomes habitual.

      Reefer madness!!??

      Trusiting only 1/12th of perception seems more like universal psychosis!!!
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        Jan 31 2013: "Reefer madness!!??" google it.

        Reefer Madness (1936)

        "Cautionary tale features a fictionalized and highly exaggerated take on the use of marijuana. A trio of drug dealers lead innocent teenagers to become addicted to "reefer" cigarettes by holding wild parties with jazz music. " Google

        This film was actually made as a political tool to help make Marujana illegal in the United States. At that time the hemp plant was widely used in the textile trade and was considered better than cotton for many uses. The contton industry did not like that. Of course it was smoked by many people, especially in the west and mid west. It was legaly before 1938.

        The movie was used as a propaganda film by many groups to turn popular opinion into fear of this plant. Of couse, history has shown it was effective. Marujana was not know to many people in the 30's, especillay on the east coast so their opinions were created based in large part on this movie and throught the actions of many religious organizations.

        "In 1916, the U.S. Government predicted that by the 1940s all paper would come from hemp and that no more trees need to be cut down. Government studies report that 1 acre of hemp equals 4.1 acres of trees. Plans were in the works to implement such programs. (U.S. Department of Agriculture Archives.)"

        I bet the logging industry didn't want to hear this.

        "Henry Ford’s first Model-T was built to run on hemp gasoline and the car itself was constructed from hemp! On his large estate, Ford was photographed among his hemp fields. The car, ‘grown from the soil,’ had hemp plastic panels whose impact strength was 10 times stronger than steel. (Popular Mechanics, 1941.)"

        I bet the steel industry didn't want to hear this nor the fledgling oil industry.

        More to read here:
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          Jan 31 2013: Yes, I saw the "reefer maddness" years ago, we were all suitably educated bout media way back then in the 70s.

          I didn't know the thing about the hemp plastic - I know it is s superior fibre for ropes and nice to wear as well.

          I do know that the hydro being grown by exploiters is toxic - and I've met my share of schizophrenics who's lot has not been made better by the hydro.

          Such things have cultural value - and require cultural integration for practical use. Civillisation will never want it.
          There are many such things that culture can use and civillisation will not. River reed for one. THis weed haas some surprisingly spectacular rituals and traditions attached to it - we keep them secret, or civillisation will come in and wreck it.
          Hasten the end, and we can all start living again.
          This, it seems, is the greatest blessing of money.
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          Jan 31 2013: Have you noticed how colours all become grey in the future? And how civilization adores grey?
          This is no mistake .. the longer term is dim, outcomes collapse as we draw close and real frequencies occur only at the point in which the instant resolves the waves into periods.
          The problem between reltivity and quantum mechanics is the assumption of a constant time - it is not constant. This also results in eroneous red-shifts and fools us into believing that the universe is expanding at a faster rate .. this dark matter and energy is just a glitch in the assumptions - which goes to show how variable time is.
          Self organising systems (sub atomic particles, humans, planets, stars, galaxies clusters, the universe) all of these generate their own time-wave. They don't exactly create the universe, but they create their view of it. They are fractal, and in the final analysis - there is only one self with fractal selves resulting from the initial time-wave - they are all self-similar and resolve to chaotic fractal grain-sizes. THe whole result is quite beutiful - but one has to accept that it is all aware.
          It will become plain soon why we are having a solar minimum at a time when we are on collision with extinction through CO2 - someone is granting us time to wake up - and it's not god..
  • 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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      Jan 24 2013: Very smart approach, Mike. [I walk rather than meditate].
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      Jan 22 2013: Hi Carolyn,

      One cannot escape assumptions - they are the necessary "gap-filler" in our world-views. For instance, it is my assumption that education in Ancient Rome was reserved for the wealthy .. so Buckminster-Fuller might have been propogating a porky there! Either that or my Latin/Roman history teachers were making other assumptions. What my teachers also told me was that the old Roman teacher was often nicknamed "Plagosus" (full-of-blows) which might infer a long tradition of violation in the formal education process.
      So one is left with 2 kinds of misinformation - 1. the inherent loss-of-information in communication and 2. The contrived loss of information intended to yield exploitative advantage.

      Yes - re-group. De Bono observed that a system which grows in a serial manner becomes cumulatively mal-adapted - the components must be disassembled and re-built at the point where diminished-returns kicks-in.

      In this discussion we are exposing a very subtle component of serial error - the cumulative skew of language itself.
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    Jan 22 2013: Thanks for posting, Mitch. Speaking for myself, I seem to respond better to conversations that present the question very simply and directly, and don't require me to watch videos to understand the question. Can you tell me your question really simply and directly?
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      Jan 22 2013: Hi Greg,

      I can. But there is a balance between simplicity and complexity - those things which are most simple in utility are the most complex in analysis. Keeping that in mind:

      What is the absolute nature of falsehood?
      Is there a way to compreshensively avoid false witness?

      These questions are at the root of my inquiry. These are old questions and I have tried to avoid the common generalities - which have garnered their own set of falsity over the years. It is very difficult to penetrate the errors of the millenia.

      My research into the "error of report" isolates a number of components - they are all related to personal advantage in the social context. In this discussion, I'm interested in seeing the observations of others.

      It is the tension between the self as an individual and the self as a community which requires reliable methods of ballance. To date, the job has been left to the soft arts of philosophy and politics - it's about time it became science.
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    Jan 22 2013: Hey Mitch.

    Could you look at this philosophers theory, you might be able to understand it as i couldn't understand one jot of it or them. It might help towards or it might have nothing to do with your Q, I will leave it up to you to decide if you choose to look at it.
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      Jan 22 2013: Yes, her exploration is deeply Freudian.

      She recognises the problem of "self" in the social context, but has not gotten a solid model for it. Her work is centred on the defelopment and operation of sexual behaviour (performivity).

      I have not yet applied my own thesis to the operation of the sex drive. I suppose it will have to happen at some stage. So far, I have it in the same box as adictions. Neurologically, the sex drive appears to show-up as one of the metrics of the proto-self - but it is powerfully amplified by orgasm - making it disproportionate to other dives contributing to personal survival. I see this as a relic of the evolutionary balance necessary to get solitary organisms to mate.
      For about 2 weeks we had a big huntsman spider wandering our living-room walls eating moths - he had 6 legs. Male spiders lose legs while mating because the female "gets the munchies" during the act. I suppose they must taste a bit like crab.
      We are fascinated by the sex drive - it is often at odds with personal survival, but best to get a solid framework before attempting to draw conclusions. Conclusions are vital - they will lie at the very root of the tension between personal and community self.
      I wil begin my own analysis on the basis of "ritual" - the dynamics of courtship are observed as ritualistic in most species. There is a lack of known metrics of ritual.

      Many thanks for the link!
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        Feb 6 2013: What i did understand of it was there is a default human, genderless but this flys in the face of the toddler test. bring home a new brother or sister and the close in age sibling will either do two things. Poke babies eye or take baby and nurse it. Males try to see what's it made of and how does it work and girls nurse it.

        It's like here on TED, there are certain words that use to be normal are now not PC, I tested this and found it warranted deletion, I now realize my countrymens conservative nutcases have a point. The media push for gay marriage has also disseminated the holocaust syndrome. It's now offensive to challenge current liberal crusades. I really couldn't care less as i have a few in my family but it's the liberals that only know a couple that have become the righteous defender, untouchable, sacred duty. Blind knights. Raising a minority not to equal status but putting them on a pedestal.

        Have you heard of "Idle No More" Now this is worth more to me than a people who want a dopamine hit but sadly it might tear them apart like it nearly did for us here in Nz and in some ways it still persists til today. There's more Natives in Canada than Maori's and the Canadians had better take heed, The Thunderbird is waking.
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          Feb 6 2013: I think there are "default" starting points - the passive potential. But that the active principle is the environment leading on from the starting point.
          You can see that a tree is the path the seed took to climb into the air - the seed being the start, but the air being the environment. Each seed has at it's disposal a toolbox of methods.
          Rupert Sheldrake has something to add about that.

          The Thunder bird? Perhaps the Phoenix ..
          In NZ, I am told, it was once politically correct to eat people, and yet in Nazi Germany, although a lot of jews got cooked, none were eaten. This word "Liberal" is a media word. It will have a different meaning depending on which horror needs to be whitewashed.

          Native means "born here". The Earth soaks into us, no matter our seed, it is the air which shapes the tree.
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        Feb 7 2013: He make me smile Mitch, you definitely come at things in your own individual way. That's a compliment. Of course it was legal to eat each other in Nz, it's a land of greenery but that's all it was. Knowing this i see people everywhere acting like there is no resources. Australia though a desert land has far more natural food resources than Nz ever had. All of what is here came with the colonists. I think from the FN peoples view that how they view time is similar to other peoples. There is always time enough as opposed to today's view that there is not enough.

        Have you noticed that people are angrier these days and that they take pleasure in seeing others they deem less off than themselves? They are jumping lines in ques and are pushy in the supermarkets as well as there is a feeling of anger coming through the net? it's like they have no time? I have a feeling it's a sense of not enough to go around and it's making people jumpy and yet there is so much on the shelves and yet it costs so much.

        And they call our two countries one of the top freest economies. Media soak.
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          Feb 7 2013: Ken, I went to a music festival a few years ago .. me and my bro, we were selling pennywhistles LOL! and we pitched the tent well - all the other vendors got blown away by the gust we knew would blow up the valley.
          It was over Christmas eve to new years day, we tag-teamed the stall and never closed - majic parties and songs at 2am - with great musos).
          There was some kind of kerfuffel on 31 December .. a Coori woman was telling the crowd at the political speach arena that the earth was screaming. Me and my bro knew it .. we heard it all through the fest - it was a worry .. even though we spent all the takings remaining as pissed as ..
          This was a "world music" fest .. never had this at the Celtic fests. Mainstream trying to get legit.

          You really have to go out - into the air - let it shape you. This is living on your wits . and life does not exist anywhere else.
          I can talk and talk .. all hot air .. i would hope that it joins with the real air ..

          We breathe it in .. we breathe it out .. we get caught in the rip, and the only thing that saves us is the breath we took from the inflated surf-mat . and I dunno, maybe 5 minutes later .. mayebe 10 .. the sea gives up, and the air wins - and you can paddle back to shore.
          Time means nothing.
          But remember - breathe out into the mat - otherwise you will loose boyancy - but if you have wits, you will know that. THere's nothing after that - just the floating surfers saying: "You alright mate?" .. and you will have enough breath to say "Yep"..
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        Feb 7 2013: Me and my contract partner take long breaks and we sit and watch people just in general and that's what we see out there. I've had enough of holidays and are rearing to go but the system is still kicking in for the year.

        If only i could find these performers here.
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          Feb 7 2013: Woo!
          damn it gets us white guys hearing that!
          Flamenco was my first instrument - I got taught by a Coori who loved guitar half as much as brawling.

          That's interesting, because the Cooris have the Denisovan genes - us white buggers have the Neanderthal and none of that Denisovan - we all got trapped in the Basque country as the ice drove us south with the Younger Dryas - then we went East, into India and circled back round North Africa till we finally re-joined our Basque heritage - along with all the music!!! And that's Flamenco. You count 12 first, then one.

          Hmm - frame drums .. here's an Irish frame drum - the guy on whistle is Mike McGoldrick .. it's a C whistle he's playing - looks like one Phil Hardy made.

          Here's Mike with James Taylor playing one of my whistles in D .. that was one I made for myself, but he liked it .. so hey-ho.

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          Feb 7 2013: LOL - I just saw on youtube that mike is doing a tour with mark knopfler this year.
          damn it's a small world - last year i had a huge arguement with Mark about intellectual property right here on TED - I accused him of being a "vested interest".
          I m unrepentant, but I'll probably pay for a ticket into his show if it comes here ;) .. Maybe I'll get a door name from mike :)
          Boyancy .. we all have it if we let ourselves.
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    Jan 22 2013: I agree that people's understandings of others are often dramatically distorted by media representations or omissions. Likely there is also a trait that differs in degree among people that makes them suspicious of those unlike themselves and therefore ready to believe distortions about them.

    I am not convinced broadcast media or top-down media necessarily create a more distorted image than other forms of media.

    The alpha male "root" is less compelling to me. If you make modern comparisons between men and women, who is to say whether what one sees would have been different if ___?

    At least in our time I have not seen evidence that men are more likely to distort or misrepresent than women are. There may be research on the point.
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      Jan 22 2013: Hi Fritzie,

      Who is to say? Well Sapolsky for one.
      I get a general sense of "attractors" in operation in the gestalt of community. This is all very vague, but the observation of clear "nodes" in behavioural patterns seems to point that way.
      THis relates to my observations of "harm" - I have a too-long list of examples of how harm propogates through the communty - a common theme is the psychopath as the point of origin - and specifically the male psychopath. This subdivides into sociopath/misogonist/misangonist - all of which apear to be downstream of the primary harm of the pychopath. And you can trace clear threads in history .. say from De Sade Via Crowley Via Mengele Via Truma Via Nixon Via Regan Via Bush Via Bush. But these are only the clear patterns in modern history - it goes further back to Constantine and beyond to Caligula/Nero and back further where it takes a dedicated scholar of ancient history to see them. SO far it is looking like 2 main origins - the older and younger Dryas events.
      In context to the main talk, I had already done my own lay-survey and concluded that 1 in 4 women were at some time victims of rape - and the rest had been victim of significant sexual attack.This is buried deep beyond our sensibilities - consider:
      We may attack a woman's gender by calling her a "bitch" a female dog, yet when we attack a male we call him a "bastard" which is an attack on his mother. We may call him a C*** - again, most of these expletives are directed at women.
      I ask the question in order to gain more insight on the dynamic of advantage. My personal victory will be to tease-out the foundation dynamic influencing the difference between "sufficiency" and "supremacy" - and thereby split the disinformation being exploited in "fittest" : "the survival of the fittest".
      Thus gained i will be ablet o expose and bring down the Neo Cons(and other psychopaths) who threaten the species of the earth.
      The trick is to do it without becoming a psychopath myself.