Friday 11 November 2016

Addicted to distraction: psychological consequences of the mass media - by Bruce G Charlton, 2014

Addicted to Distraction (2014) was the follow-up to Thought Prison (2011) my analysis of political correctness. Addicted to Distraction focuses on the mass media; which it regards not as primarily a means of passing on content; but as itself - in its structure and operations - a form of communication that is intrinsically secular, Leftist and nihilistic.

The book also sees the social system of the mass media as being the single most important system in the modern West; but a social system with properties like no other.

The book is now freely available online - it is in my punchy aphorism style, and runs at about 26,000 words.


In this groundbreaking study, Bruce Charlton sheds brilliant light on fundamental features of our current situation. He develops Marshall McLuhan's insight that "the medium is the message" into a deeply illuminating account of the mass media as a self-sustaining techno-cultural system that absorbs the whole of human life into a virtual world of willfulness and unreality. Like Plato in his Myth of the Cave, he calls for each of us to turn away from flickering images and toward realities. We need to heed that call.

James Kalb: author of The Tyranny of Liberalism and Against Inclusiveness

Addicted to Distraction by Bruce G Charlton is a brilliant, pithy, and incisive analysis and condemnation of the modern mass media and its semipurposeful agenda of permanent revolution, permanent hysteria, and permanent chaos. His comments are as cutting as the scalpel of a surgeon performing an autopsy, and his insights a bright and clear as the merciless lights in an operating theater. Can a fish drown? Can it even notice the waters in which it lives and moves? No more than can we notice the totalitarian relativism of the modern mass media. The Mass Media is a roaring, grinding attention-grabbing machine which operates with no set purpose; except the purpose to subvert, uncreate, mock and destroy. It does not matter what the media destroys. Pointless subversion is the point of the media, and the medium is the message. By all means read and understand this book ... and then go out by yourself into the calm and silent wilderness for a year.

John C Wright, author and Nebula Award finalist


Bellis said...

This is the book that first brought me here. I can't recommend it enough, nor can I recommend highly enough the book's central instruction to try going 'cold turkey' by completely avoiding mass media. The effect after a few weeks was far more profound than I expected. I already considered myself *completely* distrustful of the media, but it was abstaining altogether- rather than merely consuming it with an attitude of distrust and cynicism- that made me really understand how bad they really are!

Abstention is much better than my previous practice of 'consuming while consciously rejecting'. The latter takes its spiritual and psychological toll, and I can't express how qualitatively different your mind is when you don't punish it by spending so much conscious time and energy on maintaining an attitude of disbelief and rejection. Such an attitude is of course subtly poisonous to spirituality.

A very big thank you for making this book available, Bruce!

Bruce Charlton said...

@Bellis - Thanks for your encouragement.

Don said...

If Mr Wright praises the book I'll have to read it.