17 February 2006

Take a Media Holiday

A well-dressed man in a 3 piece suit walks out his front door with briefcase in hand, kisses his wife and walks purposefully down the pathway apparently leading to the street. One more step and he disappears off a cliff, the camera following him as he plummets down the canyon, a parachute opening just before he lands next to an SUV. The marketing guys sure know how to get your attention. But what really interested me was the disclaimer at the bottom of the screen as the man opens the car door: Professional stunt man. Do not try at home.

Are people really as stupid as the mythical lemmings that follow each other over the cliff? More to the point, are we unable to distinguish between the drivel shown on TV and reality? Sadly, the answer is yes, and, as I have written about previously, the fact that our sense of well-being derives from how we stack up against our peers causes a fair bit of unhappiness. This is particularly the case when our peers are idealized media darlings.

Given how appealing our media-infested world is to our attention-seeking brains, it is hard to imagine this situation improving any time in the near future, at least on a large scale. A personal solution that a wise person offered up some time ago is to take a media holiday from time to time. No TV. No Internet. No Newspapers. I have tried it and can report that not only was I able to survive such deprivations, but remarkably the world continued to revolve on its axis with the same wobbliness as it had before I took my little media holiday. As for me, it seemed to provide excellent fodder for Clear Thinking.

1 comment:

James said...

Maybe the Buddhists have something in the notion that attachment is the root cause of all suffering ...