Friday, 18 October 2013

In what way is the mass media evil? In what way is resistance to it possible?


The modern mass media is not in its essence propaganda: it is participation.

It is engagement with the mass media that is pernicious; and engagement is primarily what the modern mass media does.

Engagement leads to dependence; dependence confers authority; and it is being subject to the authority of the mass media which is the prime evil.

Propaganda is secondary - and all forms of effective mass media propaganda ultimately depend on dependence.

Especially nowadays, when the propaganda is so objectively absurd, trivial, false - so obviously contrived; yet this crude and incoherent mass media propaganda is more effective than ever propaganda was before, for the simple reason that dependence on the mass media is greater than ever before.


To show that the mass media is evil is therefore not so much a matter of pointing at the specific content - although indeed most of that content is objectively evil in that it attacks truth, beauty and virtue; propagates lies, ugliness and vice - but that the modern media is primarily evil in terms of its vast capacity to engage and enforce cognitive participation.

The psychology of the mass media is such that consumption is perceived as participation; consumption feels like engagement, and if it is perceived and and feels like engagement, then it is therefore engagement.

(The reality of the individual consumer having negligible impact - which is a necessary predicate and consequence of media being 'mass' - is therefore psychologically irrelevant.)

In this respect, the mass media is like modern democracy - it is intrinsically manipulative since it creates fake engagement - a low reward, low cost, high volume (near-ubiquitous in the population) engagement.

The kind of dependence is harder to notice and just as difficult to cure as the kind of high reward, high cost, low volume (rare in the population) addiction characteristic of the major drugs.


So, how do we resist? ...Or rather, the proper question is: what do we resist?

And the answer is engagement.

We need to cut-down on the volume and the participation of mass media consumption, to the point that we are so much less dependent upon it that we can begin to perceive it from the outside.  

Most people are inside the mass media, as a fish is inside the ocean - the typical citizen swims in the water of the mass media and cannot perceive it. The media has become his 'reality'. He prefers some parts of the water over others, of course, and therefore prefers to swim in some places rather than others - but that is the sum of his choices. His preferences have all become media preferences.

But he is unaware-of, forgets-in-practice; that it is all water he is now living-in; it is all the mass media - and that he has been spending so much time in the water that he has ceased to recognize or return to the dry land of real reality; or even to remember that it exists.

Perhaps only in his dreams does he do this; but then dreams may themselves become permeated by the mass media. 


We need - we must - cut-down our participation in the mass media to at least that point where the dry land of real-not-media reality is again recognized as the primary reality - when we again become aware that in entering the mass media we are leaving real reality behind and taking a swim.



The Continental Op said...

I don't watch any Talmudvision at all. I restrict my news to looking at ONE local internet news site (I think, "I am going to go see what Satan wants me to think is important today"), and otherwise getting it filtered/interpreted through various right-wingers. And I try to keep my head in the bible.

Even then, I find the liberal pickling I have grown up in is hard to overcome. God save me.

The Crow said...

There are very few people, any more, for whom leftism has had no impact. Many of those who consider themselves to be conservatives, show distinct signs of leftist group-think, although they, themselves, are completely oblivious to it.

I look at it like advertising. It works in much the same way. And, in rare cases, it doesn't work, at all.

stephen c said...

Superb advice.

asdf said...

The alt-rights engagement with mass media continues to go as I expected it to.