Who hasn’t yearned to pet, even ride, the magnificent tiger!
In today’s digitalized world, we are all riding the tiger of instant communication. There are actually more mobile phones than people on the planet. But the question then becomes: What are the unintended consequences of such an exhilarating ride….?
Plain and simple, the greatest of these is probably our feeling the world is worse than ever, about to collapse from the sheer weight of its many wars, terrors, drugs, homicides and assorted violence as relentlessly reported by our network and local news. Something went seriously wrong here, folks, for we assumed that to be informed was to be empowered.
What happened instead is we failed to expand our brain capacity in alignment with our news capacity. Right now there is simply too much new information — good, bad and in between — for any mind to grasp let alone process. As an unintended consequence, most of us start to turn off and tune out, intuitively preferring the comfort of some passive grunt like: “It’s all the same!” “It never changes!” and “Who can do anything about it!”
The tiger — the international news media — is not about to refrain from reporting everything and anything they can as fast and as furiously as they can. Hey, there’s money in scoops not facts! But if they won’t [can’t?] filter what they pour into our under-capacity brains, those brains will have to do it for themselves. We used to call that Critical Thinking, remember?
Some historians have argued the world isn’t any worse than before, only now we know whatever is worse faster and louder than before. The tsunami death of 1000 Pacific islanders was once diluted by days of delayed reporting; now we experience the disaster instantly in our own homes. The same with wars, air disasters, genocides, starvation, gang violence, and gunmen cutting down the innocents.
Historian Ambrose Pierce caught the irony : “War is God’s way of teaching Americans geography.” His career, like not enough others, has been to educate the public to the intellectual responsibility the media aren’t always courageous enough to take. But of course Pierce’s ideas don’t sell as much as Simon Cowell or Dennis Rodman. So naturally you know who’ll make the nightly news…
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