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 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: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Bernays

      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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