Saturday, November 7, 2009

on Gods and Megaphones.

America. Land of free, home of the brave.

They say it doesn't get any better than life in our nation. That we have nothing to complain about, our concerns are a kind of mental flatulence, mere grumblings about the inevitable pains of life on earth. This sums up the chorus of reason on our MSM [1], the 21st century equivalent to a megaphone.

The megaphone was an important invention- because it implied 1-way communication. Most importantly, it drowned out the noises made by the crowd, so any comments and ,god-forbid, criticisms of the message carried by the megaphone were imperceptible. This was technically impossible prior to the 21st century. And with the megaphone, the modern public was born- a miasma of compulsions, desires, and urges that could be shaped like clay if one had the desire and know-how.  Then came the internet, perhaps the greatest advance of our generation.  This changed things a bit, because it warranted electric communications from any 1 point to another in a reliable and relatively cheap way.  Thus I have been invited, at least temporarily, into your living room or study, or internet cafe, or wherever you might have a cell phone or laptop.  I thank you for the invitation and I pledge not to abuse this space of which you have afforded me.

Prior to the invention of the megaphone, other techniques were used to mold the shapeless human mind into something more serviceable.  The pressures to conform to religion were amazingly strong prior to the 20th century, the alternatives were typically insanity, social exclusion and death.  Apparently without cause these institutions evaporated within a few decades, leaving only a husk of their prior functions.  They were left in name perhaps to minimize the shock of the new, to convince people that their world had not changed as radically as they might suspect.  But the old god had died, and a new one was born.  This new god promised us the same things as the old god, but with a fresh face, and we were again tempted to believe its promises.

So can we not rid ourselves of this psychic pestilence?  The problem is that its not that easy.  These basic social aspects go way way back.  As far back as we can see, to Egypt, perhaps further.  This 'media' is far more basic to our experience than some obnoxious character behind a curtain putting on an elaborate show for the benefit of some rich elite.  Its the very thing that shapes our entire perception of the outside world, and in that sense we arrive at a very perilous impasse- how to observe the action of the media through its own lens?  Can we trust the camera to take an accurate picture of itself?

The Eye of Horus

[1] short for Main Stream Media

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