Friday, 6 December 2013

What is the intrinsic, core function of the Mass Media? Just: to grow...

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The mass media is a social system like no other; and the difference accounts for its intrinsic evil: that is to say its intrinsic tendency towards destruction of Good (destruction of truth, beauty and virtue).

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The mass media is a social system of communications. But the other social systems have a basic, core, extrinsic and unifying function that is clearly useful: the police and military are about intra-social and inter-social coercive force; the political system and the public administration are about government; the health services are about alleviating suffering, promoting health and increasing life expectancy; the educational system about transmission of knowledge and so on.

Whether these systems actually do what they purport to do, is another matter. But all the social systems have a relatively clear and valuable social aim.

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However, the intrinsic function of the mass media is merely to expand itself - that is, to expand its own system of communications; and it seems that the mass media does not have any extrinsic goal, nor any unifying useful function.

Therefore, the mass media succeeds by growing its own system of communications - and fails when this growth fails to happen, or reverses into shrinkage.

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But why is the growth of the mass media intrinsically, on the whole, evil?

Simply because there are no functional constraints on mass media growth; so the mass media tends to take the short-term-beneficial line of least resistance; and grow and grow as far as it can, in whatever direction it is growing.

Differential growth of a system is intrinsically destructive in a zero sum world, because growth of one system can only be at the price of another - this applies especially to 'cognitive processing time and effort' in the human mind.

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At first the other social systems supposed that they could use the mass media in order to amplify their own communications: for example, government could amplify its propaganda, science could popularize its results, the arts could 'reach' a much wider audience, and so on.

But pretty soon, the mass media began to dominate all the other social systems; its own internal logic of growth in communications began to invade and to dominate the other social systems; and this penetration inevitably was destructive of whatever functions these other systems had previously done - it had to be: anything other than the core function of a social system is a corruption.

A corruption, that is, except for adhesion to those 'higher laws and principles' necessary for social cohesion. This is typically a religion. All social systems thus - for the functional cohesion of society - ought to adhere to the over-arching religion, as well as to their own internal aim.

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The mass media has now displaced religion as the over-arching, all-including system. But while a religion unifies without exception, the mass media undiscriminatingly attacks.

Now, the whole world is subject to all-embracing, all-including attention of the mass media.

But all this not to any aim, not in pursuit of any positive purpose - merely for the mass media to fuel its own expansion.


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