Detachment or a Safety Valve?
People are getting more and more detached from reality.
This is a statement we see often. Someone falls onto the pavement in a busy street and people sidestep to avoid them. All too often they need help but cannot get it from a lot of the people passing by. Is this detachment a conscious decision not to help others or is it something which the communication revolution has caused as a byproduct.
Information overload is not a phrase you will hear from the media - but think about it.
How did people ever manage without phones? It seems ludicrous to many, especially the young, they feel they could not face life without a minute by minute update from technologically proficient micro chips.
Well we did manage without telephones and our brains were perhaps in a safer environment for our physical wellbeing.
Media controls our information highways. Media is run for a purpose, that of making money. I do not think they really care if too much information is good for us or not, they only care about profits. This is the corporate face, the big machine that drives the finances of the world.
Just a few years ago we did not have the global economy, we did not know if the people in the rest of the world were thriving or not. It was not our responsibility then, but now it weighs on all our shoulders. Or does it?
I stopped watching the news quite some time ago. I stopped buying newspapers some time ago. Why? Because they were attempting to put the weight of all the terrible things in the world on to my little shoulders. Each one of us is responsible.
Once again we come to the horse meat scandal. It is our fault for demanding cheap food. The building that has collapsed in Bangladesh where they are frantically attempting to rescue people buried alive. Workers making clothes for the West because we demand cheap clothing. The failure of crops because of the changing weather patterns, we shall have to pay more for our food, because the weather is our fault. Well if they could persuade us that I have no doubt they would have tried by now.
The failing economy is just that, because we are not supporting trade in spending all our hard earned savings. What savings? You do not pay me enough to have any. Yet I am still persuaded, I am hoarding away money that could save the country.
Well I know I had information and blame overload which is why I have unloaded.
No longer will the voices of doom enter my living space, no longer will I take responsibility for what was never in my control. I did not ask for cheap food or clothes, I was offered them and told I must buy what is on offer.
Use your initiative and go out into the high street with a vision in your head of exactly the dress you want to buy. Dream up your favorite colour, favorite material, favorite length, shape on the top, hem style. Put them all together and go get it. You cannot find it, can you? But there is rack after rack of alternatives on offer. Second choices, what global trade is telling you that you want to buy? Sorry I know what I want.
The weight of the world is being put on my shoulders and I am accepting it without demur. I am listening to the news, all bad. Into my living space where I relax, where I make my nest are all the atrocities of the world and it is my fault.
Starving children, refugees in burning hot countries, chemical weapons being used on delicate bodies, children losing their sight because of me, children needing saving from terrible diseases and only I can help them. Unemployment figures rise, our towns are dying, the EU demands we do not discriminate against foreign workers when my children cannot get on the housing ladder and cannot get decent jobs. But it is my entire fault, because that screen which I willingly switch on is telling me all these terrible things as I relax in my precious private space.
So my brain shuts off, the safety valve comes into operation. I switch off the box in the corner, I am not at fault.
I am not bringing the NHS down because I just put a spoonful of brown sugar on my porridge. Should I be eating porridge, is it allowed? Will I be refused treatment because I had a chocolate bar last night? But if I did not have a chocolate bar then I am not supporting world trade.
The media loves news, all news is good news, their faces light up when a disaster happens, they rush off to be at the scene on the next plane, paid for out of your license fee of course, to beam you pictures of the horrors of collapsed buildings with people buried alive or stretchers being hauled through bombed streets after chemical weapons have been used on the poor people lying on them. Schools under siege; weeping parents outside not knowing if they will see their children again. It is news, it is what you want to see, what you want to hear, what you ask them to give you.
Hang on, before telephones, before the technology revolution I only knew what was happening in my village. The local papers or the national papers would give me a mixed bag of news, some good, some bad, all appertaining to my daily life.
Now I am afraid we have a major information overload, safety valves must be used for the health of the nation.
One day soon this is going to be admitted by the media, by the corporate face, by governments and they are all going to look us in the eye and say, sorry, it was not your fault, it was our fault, because we did it, we sold the guns, we told you it was your fault, we sold you the food, we told you to eat it, we brought in the cheap clothes from factories which were sweat shops and asked you to buy them to support the poor foreign workers.
It is not your fault; please switch off your televisions and internet access. There is no need for you to take the weight of what we have done on your shoulders.
Press your safety valves people and take us out of your lives, then perhaps you can move forward with yours.