Monday, 2 November 2015

Imagination: nourishment and hygeine aspects of mass media engagement

If imagination is vital to human wholeness - being the faculty for knowing the imperceptible (i.e. reality that is undetectable by the five senses) then it makes a difference what we feed it.

Some inputs are nourishing, while others (most of the easiest to access) are toxic.

(Switch on cable TV and channel hop, read down the headlines of the news, follow social media links... these are almost wholly either obviously or (even worse) covertly either worthlessly dissipative at best, or actively vicious as the norm.)

When we are seeking stimulus from engagement with the mass media - whether this is to pass time, stay awake, or any other relatively passive state (because we simply don't have the energy to be creative and active all the time) then we need to develop are repertoire of stimuli which fill the imagination with the right stuff.

For example, if we want to listen: then we can take control by listening to audiobook novels rather than whatever is on the radio; we can listen to substantive music (longish pieces such as sonatas, suites, symphonies) rather than little snippets of a few minutes of pop interspersed by adverts; we can listen to lectures, discourses, plays and dramatizations.

In other words we can be purposive and selective - and thereby block the impulse and idle curiosity by which we are snared and addicted.

This is not a counsel of perfection - obviously some people can, and do, do better than this, and cut down their exposure to the evils of the mass media to much lower levels than advised here - but purposive and selective engagement is practical, do-able, and it works.