Shhh, I'll Let You In On Something ~ Right Now You're Under Assault

This very day — between this minute and the minute you fall asleep tonight — your brain will be assaulted by no less than 600 messages. Messages that will either sneak or smash into your sensorium via your eyes, ears, nose and skin. Consciously or sub-consciously, these messages will leave their mark.

The number was calculated by some graduate students at Northwestern University who have been researching the media mixmaster in which the average American adult swirls each new day. Especially during this unofficial start-of-the-new-year month of September.

There are back-to-school messages…holiday sales messages….new TV season messages…news from the City Council, from the state capitol, from Washington, from the streets of Beirut and Cairo…not to mention messages on every billboard you pass, every radio station you hear, every newspaper or channel or video screen you scan…oh and lets not forget the sounds of airplanes over head, traffic on the ground, and babbling colleagues at the lunch table….along with the smells of expressway fumes, neighborhood gardens, and the fragrances of the people you work with.

To estimate 600 a day may be too modest.

Here’s the point. Most of these messages attack your senses like the hawkers in a Middle Eastern bazaar — calling for you to buy or buy into what they’re selling. From cars to cologne, from games to glory, from votes to victories. These hawkers want your money. But first they need your attention. Billions of dollars are invested each year into ad agencies and PR networks who are skilled professionals at wooing and wowing your over crowded brain circuity.

Each hawker dreams of that one big hit, that sizzling moment when most of the country jolts upright and can’t take their eyes or ears off the message. Can’t stop talking or laughing about it the next day. Everything from a Dan Quayle to a Miley Cyrus to a Mel Gibson to a Coke commercial come to mind.

You and I can’t do much about the attacks; but we can do something about our response. The dark tales of how Faust sold his soul to the devil for earthly successes have echoed down the years. With probably as much fact as fiction to this can’t-take-it-back contract.

Something to think about during the next 600 messages that will be bombarding your life ….

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