Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A More Humane Narrative, Please

When did mainstream media become "medialoid" and when did social media become "mean-stream?"

One of the initiatives at Voices Education Project is to: "create a more humane narrative on the planet." Why is the current narrative on this planet so inhumane?

When did mainstream media become "medialoid" and when did social media become "mean-stream?" One of the initiatives at Voices Education Project is to: "create a more humane narrative on the planet." Why is the current narrative on this planet so inhumane? When did mainstream media become "medialoid" and when did social media become "mean-stream?" One of the initiatives at Voices Education Project is to: "create a more humane narrative on the planet." Why is the current narrative on this planet so inhumane?

If you've ever left the radio on and gone about your daily routine with the drone of the radio in the background, you have invited the influence of something impacting you that colors your day without your conscious awareness. This influence becomes barely perceptible after a while, as it runs in the background of your life. This "hum" in the background, while innocuous and indirect, can influence the decisions and behaviors of your day unawares. And what you are likely to unconsciously experience from the radio is not a positive experience, but will be slanted toward doom and gloom.

Talk radio, newscasts, satellite radio, the twenty-four hour cable news, and informative programming are not generally focused on good but more likely the bad and the ugly. It's a constant drone of information that feeds and reinforces cynicism to human DNA-- the biological human computer operating system. Can that influence be good? Uplifting? Hopeful?

What does it portend when the human is bombarded by messages that reinforce the human concepts of violence, competition, suspicion, distrust and scarcity? When the programming or content is violent, the human mind reacts by bathing the brain in chemicals that are anything but beneficial. Competition triggers hormonally adrenalin and suspicion, distrust and scarcity produce fear-- that releases all kinds of chemicals in the brain and bloodstream and provokes the tribal survivor mind.

To illustrate a contrast, there are some things that human DNA is impacted by that produces Endorphins-- the feel good brain chemical. But they are rare and not usually constant. There are some kinds of music that soothe, and a fountain running in your home has, within the sound of running water, a calming and centering effect on the psyche. Those living in that environment are not consciously aware of the influence of the sound of running water but are calmed by it. The sound of falling water has an even deeper impact on the human psyche, and actual waterfalls release negative ions in the atmosphere that generate a sense of well-being.

Our ecosystems impact our moods, our productivity, and our worldview. We have many ecosystems that form concentric circles of influence around us and that extend into our lives and the roles we assume in our lives. There is a home ecosystem, work ecosystem, religious ecosystem, parental or family ecosystem, digital or virtual ecosystem, a leisure or entertainment ecosystem, the ecosystems of interests, and a local, regional, national and world ecosystem. And all of these ecosystems impact our worldview. Without mindfulness, these ecosystems have an unconscious impact that is processed subconsciously or below the radar of our awareness. They are like a droning radio playing in the background.

One stark example of how these "ecosystem drones" may affect daily life and lifetimes, is to recall the era of Soviet-American friction and the subsequent cold war. After World War II and post-invention of the nuclear bomb, the world's ecosystem became filled with fear and trepidation. Those living in that ecosystem felt the constant threat of their imminent demise. The world was a hostile place and the threat of spontaneous nuclear war was very real. Imagine having that ecosystem droning on in the background of your days, informing all your decisions and deciding your life's direction. Many at the time had no direction or felt it secondary to living in the moment for they were conditioned to believe there may be no tomorrow.

There is a contemporaneous similar drone in modern society-- and it is the vibe of cynicism that permeates the ecosystem. The sense of failure, of loss of the "American dream" or of making something of one's life separate to consumerism runs in the background almost imperceptibly. There is a vague sense of something being wrong and a sense of desperation but it is not easily identified. Humans are indoctrinated to want more and more and when that is achieved, to want better and better. It fosters a hamster-wheel existence of unconscious striving that in order to "fit in" complies with the cultural rules while at the same time rebelling against them yet straining to scan the horizon for the next shiny object to want.

It's exhausting. It conjures a mentality summed up in the Peggy Lee song "Is That All There Is?" When the "background radio" in our lives drones on and on spewing cynicism into the atmosphere, the suffocation in that atmosphere is going to get to us eventually. So, there is a growing dissatisfaction with the trappings of life. People get confused about what they are supposed to want so they want what's in front of them that feels good only in larger doses or a more outrageous form-- "All I want for my birthday is a big booty hoe." ~2 Chainz Kanye West.

The cynicism drone leaks into our everyday lives and informs our speech, our music, our literature, our leisure activities, our behavior, our treatment of one another, the level of competition rather than cooperation, the focus on how we are separate and different rather than how we are alike and how we might cooperate to solve our collective problems and the unhealthy ecosystem and our injuries from hanging out in it for so long. And nowhere is the vibe of cynicism more evident than in the media.

When the world is on the brink because of a paradigm that is old, too tribal, no longer working and filled up to the top, the ecosystem becomes infused with an unrest. The evidence of the unrest is everywhere-- the Arab Spring, Wisconsin's recall election, the Occupy Movement and the 99% who clamor for change.

Some of the movement is not well defined nor are the goals, but there is an underlying current of unrest. It portends close examination of values, a prioritization and a call for change. I hope it's a formulating call to change in the ecosystem and what impacts human DNA.

I hope it is a Holy Unrest. I hope it heralds a new era and a more humane narrative on this planet that is more a weapon of mass dissatisfaction than the weapons of mass destruction the media has become.

I think the world is rather fatigued with being shown the mirror of its darkest self in media-- the shadow print of the tabloids, yellow journalism leaked into mainstream media and become medialoid. The world is appalled by the trend of youth-- bullying and being bullied to death.

The biggest bully on the planet is words and how we use them. I want this shower of cynicism that permeates our culture and our world, to change to a new effervescence of human dignity, empowerment and enlightenment.

I want to be fed information about what's right with humans, humanity and the world rather than a steady diet of what's wrong. And I am not alone.

I am hoping that what this unrest signals and portends is an evolutionary leap toward the evident but unrecognized and unheralded spirituality (not religion) of human beings. I hope it features how humans shine and rise permanently to the best and finest incarnation of themselves-- not just when there is a shared threat or tragedy.

I hope there comes someone who can stimulate the positive brain chemicals and can change the dark cynicism and replace it with joy and pride. I remember how James Brown's lyrics changed a whole generation when he released "I'm Black and I'm Proud."

Rather than to feed the cynicism and amplify the sound of it, I want to hear the new background drone and the new lyrics of an unwritten song: "I'm human and I am proud.

It takes one voice, one story or one song to begin a movement. What song will we sing in the millennium? Who will write those lyrics? Who will release that music into the ecosystem? Who, indeed. If we want change in our ecosystem, we must begin it. If we want better, we must demand it. If we want a more humane narrative on this planet, we must begin a conversation that favors it. If we want a change, we must be it. Maybe we are the ones we have been waiting for?

You may read all of Barbara's articles in favor of a new narrative...


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A few Thoughts...

When I think about it, my own life is no less rich and the living no less inspiring than my pioneering ancestors and I come from a long line of Indians and outlaws so don't ever turn your back on me!

Life is, after all, a slice of human consciousness lived from its place in human evolution. "From here to eternity" as it were-- from earth to the stars, from personal space to cyberspace, from a small local footprint to the world reduced to the size of a notebook and sitting on your lap!

As a child I lived with the perpetual and immenent threat of annihilation. That's child abuse! It wasn't a kid-friendly world and I couldn't understand why the grown-ups who were in charge weren't doing something?

So at age seven with my face in the window eyes turned up into the night sky and staring at the stars I made a vow: "When I am a grown-up, I will do something."

My writing is that something and I write to "simply change the world." If that sounds like a lack of humility it isn't because I know that one person absolutely can change the world and I've met some who have.

Kay Kennedy put together an anthology that puts the reader in the midst of history to view it from the inside out.

When I was in high school and even college, history classes were stale and boring featuring memorization and regurgitation of dates that coincided with events that had no human face, certainly no magic, and no life!

Anthologies are great fun and stores are rich remembrances. History books chronicle; stories are little narrative slices of living. History comes alive through story. I often think of my grandmother and her story, her life-- the history she lived. In her lifetime she saw humankind evolve from horse and buggy to man on the moon.

I was a sixties kid and for the youth of the sixties, turmoil, disillusionment, and revolution were everyday 'business as usual'. Like a radio perpetually on low volume, fear and death dronned on in the background. The superpowers threatened to extinguish all life on the planet, the Vietnam War was escalating and peers were being escorted home under American Flag blankets. The civil rights and equal rights movements were testing human civility, and faster than one could recover from one shock another real life hero would fall to yet another assassin. Despair was commonplace. Contrast that with a man on the moon... we could conquer space travel but couldn't make nukes or war obsolete! It was a time when youth needed hope because hope was scarce. When it was finally resurrected, it came in the form of idealism and a philosophy of brotherly and universal love. Perfect principles; imperfect execution.

For others who contributed to "Looking Back," the history is different for each because the "times" were different as well as the perspective of the individuals. The stories of human societal evolution are enlightening, heartwarming, poignant and spellbinding. They put a human face on the past.

And there are people now who are putting a face on the future...