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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  • 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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