Media creates our consciousness ~ Jane Fonda
I don’t know if I would be able to understand the truth of those words, if I hadn’t just come back from three years in the jungle.
Over the course of my journey, since leaving the corporate world and my busy life in Manhattan in 2009, I was on a mass media blackout. I made a conscious decision to unplug, to quiet the noise in my life. I replaced the constant barrage of television, radio and advertising messages with the quiet sounds of nature, with the counsel of experts in books by the masters, with conversations with awakened and enlightened people, and – most importantly – with the sound of my own inner voice.
The only media that I engaged in during my journey was social networks, to stay in touch with family, friends and the major events shaping the world.
As I have slowly tuned back into mainstream media, I have been shocked by some of the messages that I have observed. What are we teaching our children and each other about how to treat one another? What happened to living by a code of ethics?
Here are some examples of what I have observed, as I have tuned back in to television and radio over the last few months:
- A man testifying before Congress that we should assassinate the leader of another country, through a covert operation and leave the public details murky
- A woman launching herself at another woman and brutally beating her to the ground because of a betrayal by a man on a reality TV show
- A radio ad billed as “30 seconds inside a woman’s head” in which a woman’s voice expressed debilitating fear of what people would think of her if she strung Christmas lights or went shopping for tools alone, without a man by her side
- A politician during a debate, responding to allegations that his family hired an illegal immigrant as a nanny, deflect the complex issue by replying that he was too intelligent to damage his political career in that way
- US law enforcement officers pepper spraying, and in some cases beating, peaceful protestors, while politicians praised protestors standing up for their beliefs in other countries
Whatever your political views – is this behavior you would be proud to teach your children?
I have also seen examples of programming with positive messaging on public television, through independent films and in some pockets of mainstream media.
We are living in a society that is driven by ratings, profitability, and many times by greed. Supply is driven by demand.
Let’s use our power as consumers to shape the messages that we want coming into our lives. Once we become conscious of having a choice about what we consume – instead of mindlessly consuming what we are fed – we can shift demand.