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 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.

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