In general, we assume that we are in charge of ourselves – our bodies, our minds, and our choices…
And yet, there are times when “My body let me down”, or “I don’t know what I was thinking”, or “I must have been out of my mind…”
The assumption that we are the masters of ourselves is actually flawed, faulty and even dangerous, at times.
It’s what we don’t and can’t control but that we assume we do; and how we are always capable of being influenced, if we are participating in a culture, or even merely “keeping up to date”, that constitutes the greatest risk to our well-being.
“Media doesn’t tell you what to think; but it does tell you what to focus on.” – unknown
How many people understand what money is, how it is created, and then circulated in the economy?
Do you know? And how do you think you know? Did you watch a YouTube video of “an American Patriot” telling you of the secret conspiracy?
Did you read some articles, or a book? Study it at school? Just assume that what you think is how things are?
When you listen to the news and it repeatedly speaks of industrial productivity falling and GDP movements, do you understand what they are talking about, or do you just listen to the talking heads and assume they must know what they are talking about? Do you think it’s all “over your head” and you aren’t smart enough to understand?
Just switch over to a different channel to see if you can catch the weather predictions or the sports?
The world is not as it is presented and framed on the television (or in any single media outlet, mainstream or otherwise), “the news” is not what is actually happening, but “a story”, and a way of looking (“a frame” as we call it), that is reinforced through repetition, and “echoing” across media channels.
Just as we say “the map is not the territory” with regard to our thinking about the world; so too the news story is not the reality.
But the terrible thing about the human condition is that when we trust any source as an authority, we tend to lower our demand for verification of claims and sometimes (now mostly) we switch off the monitoring, testing systems, and B.S. detectors we use when someone like a salesman is trying to get a foot in our front door.
The media IS that salesman, and they are not only in the front door, but also the back of your mind, as well.
And… although you’ve been taught to think otherwise; you are more than capable of finding, understanding, interrogating and deciding with regards to what is being presented… but what stands in each of our ways is the programming with regards to what is so, and what we can do and what is necessary for us to do.
We are taught to consume but not to challenge.
Yes, we must challenge the messages coming in, and the frames put around the information but first… we must learn to “use our heads” to challenge our own assumptions about what is so, and how we know what we think we know.
Without this first step, what we hold as programmed, unconscious bias IS the deciding factor in how we take in, filter and make sense of what we are told is happening.
Those who own the media and make the news aren’t merely aware of the biases we hold; they use powerful psychological principles in packing the information to fit those biases perfectly.
Those most at risk of being further “programmed” in world views are those who consider themselves intelligent, educated and clever enough to be “beyond all of that”.
Their education in professional contexts – the arrogance of presumed superior accomplishment is the mechanism that sets them up for easy manipulation through verification of previously accepted bias.
We are ALL suckers for what we already believe to be true… which we know about because…?
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” – Upton Sinclair
We have been taught NOT to ask too many questions above our pay grade; to agree (or at least not get too much in the way of) the judgments of our betters; to say “I’ll just keep my head down and I should be alright”; and, of course, the KILLER bias “I know my own mind and I make my own decisions.”
Ah… but you’re special… and individual… NOT someone who goes along with the herd. The fact that your rebellion is reactive and in direct parallel proportion to the mainstream doesn’t make you suspicious at all.
Clearly, in the metaphor of film The Matrix, you didn’t get to part two, where The Architect of the Matrix described the special place created for those individualist-objectors to the Matrix’s control.
It was called “Zion” – not a sanctuary free from control – just a different kind of control.
Grrrrrrrrr… we want to get on with our lives, be free to choose, build as we please, and certainly not be influenced by these… psychopaths.
But, part of developing our abilities in habit hacking, and certainly for building prosperity systems that function better than before; we MUST address how our previous programming constrains and controls our thinking – and how we are used by others for their purposes.
A few things to do:
- Hardest first: If you are someone who checks “the news” every day, and especially if you check the same outlets for your “news” – try a seven day fast of news programs and outlets of ALL types.
Turn off the TV (or turn to something other than news), stop looking on the internet for “stories” (and that includes gossip or “industry news”), switch off the radio (especially “Talk Radio”), go off the “forums”… seven days without news… and notice what happens inside of you.
If you are a junkie; you will go through withdrawal. Your mind will make up explanations of why you need to catch the news.
You will conveniently forget that you are “off the hard stuff” for a week. You will “accidentally” start surfing gossip sites.
On public transport you will read newspapers over other people’s shoulders. Anything other than not receiving your programming fix. I shall pray for you.
- Start thinking about what you think or assume to be true. Pick a topic – any will do. The Syrian situation, for instance.
It is provocative as it is currently an all-sides propaganda orgy, with lots of shouting and name-calling, huge quantities of trying to silence “the other side” (which side IS the other? How do you know?), and little common sense.
Investigate how you know what you think is so.
What are your sources for your opinions?
Who started it? (and where are you drawing the line)
And what happened just BEFORE that?
Take the character Deep Throat’s advice from the film ‘All The President’s Men’ : “… follow the money…” – who is benefiting financially and how? Track your sources.
What is the history of the area?
Has anything like this happened before?
What bigger contexts does this situation fit onto or serve?
It’s actually a contained and workable little project. You might be shocked by what you discover; you might be angered; you might be depressed; you might feel a self-congratulatory sense of “I always thought that anyway.”
The point is not feeling one way or another, or which “side” you end up on.
The project is making your brain work in a way you have probably not made it work before – insisting on verification, identification, validation and tracking of sources of opinion.
It is self-training in digging to reports of “reality”… and testing for yourself.
If you don’t… someone else will take care of your opinions for you.
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