Sunday, March 25, 2018

Media and the Mind


"Have you ever looked at the flame on a log? One night when I was backpacking, I was watching the flame on a log, and I couldn't see where the flame touched the log. Either there was a gap between the flame and the log, or the flame was so pure and colorless that it couldn't be seen. In a similar way, there is an absolute base in the heart where there is emptiness. This is the place before the Truth becomes alive, before it leaps out into existence. And here, even the union of the heart subsides into a ground of being that is so simple. It is that place 'where distinction never gazed,' as Meister Eckhart called it, where even oneness makes no sense, where the mind of insight has fallen silent, where the heart has fallen silent, and there is just a resting in the simple ground of being." ……………Adyashanti
In grasping reality, the mind goes through various stages and retentions. It also draws upon the varied depositary of memories of related or similar events. The observation of Adyashanti is a very deep insight. Rarely any one of us understand the above fact that out of pure non-observable energy, the flame comes out to the external world.
From the point of view of cognitive sciences, there are many functions of the brain which are autonomous like breathing, digesting and many other biological functions. If the brain has to go away from these autonomous functions into a sequential information processing mode then the processing time and the energy required to keep humans alive would be enormous and subject to malfunction endangering life. Hence vital biological functions are programmed to be autonomous.
Now the brain also acquires capacity for autonomous functioning when certain precision activities in our daily lives need to be performed. There are plenty of examples such cycling, driving a car. Apart from this professional sportsmen and players, over a period of time, acquire instant reflexes which bypasses the full frontal neocortex functions. A good example is the response of a professional baseball or cricket player. When a cricket player faces a fast bowler, bowling at nearly 145 km per hour, the time for the ball to travel the 22 yards of the pitch is within half a second. To follow the trajectory and to respond the batsman cannot operate on a purely rational mode. He acquires a store of autonomous function mapping based on various parameters for which he has learned and trained to become skilled.
Why am I pointing out all these factors is because we think we have full control over our rational mind. The embedded layers of our mind which forms the ground of being of our psyche is built up by exposure to the constant barrage of information flooding our mind through various senses.
This fact is very clearly understood by marketing companies. The profile of corporate players who exploit this nature of mind encompasses different products from food, personal care, home comforts and many more. A false sense of assurance, far beyond the real and sometimes imagined, is promoted incessantly through the media.
The social networks have become an easy and very low cost tool for these players. The reason for the phenomenal growth of companies like Amazon, is the use of social media with powerful software for data mining to predict and suggest products and services suited to specific customer.
There are material available in the social media which completely alters and impacts the academic performance as well as personal orientation of youth in relation to their personal and social behaviour.
Many of you are aware of the disaster caused among misguided youth with the introduction of the “Blue Whale Challenge” on the social media. The number of suicides, both reported and unreported, indicates the extremity to which the young mind can be altered.
The false sense of comfort which most of the advertisement companies promote on the social media goes unabated. The entertainment industry is one that capitalizes on this perceptual need created through the media in terms of long haul soap opera both in the west as well as in the east. There were time when I used to travel to UK in the 1980s and 1990s when social drama was very limited but now with cable and dish TV  and internet channels like Netflix and YouTube, the access to the entire media entertainment is at the beck and call of your hand-held remote.
All this flood of information puts the human brain on overload and what the brain does is go on to a selective filter mode and pushes some of the repeated themes and contents into the autonomous mode which completely operates as bedrock on which one’s perception of reality is built.
The other danger we face is this type of autonomous functioning based on false reality totally block our inner self and one becomes soulless. Most self-destructive behaviours, from personal suicides to a personal sacrifice in terrorist acts, are the result of this condition. The extreme insensitivity to social harmony and ecological health is the result of this mental conditioning
Today the main culprit in what is happening in the Middle East, terror acts in Europe and the school shootings in the US are the result of the crony capitalism dominating our markets. The biggest market driver of war, terrorism and violence is the ammunition industry. The wars in Kuwait and in Iraq were primarily motivated by the vested interest groups in capturing the region’s oil wealth through dictated trading routes.
In December 2016, responding to a question from a journalist about whether or not there is a link between Islam and terrorism, more specifically addressing the fatal attack on a priest by a Muslim extremist in France the previous week, Pope Francis said,
“Terrorism grows when there is no other option, and as long as the world economy has at its center the “god of money” and not the person.” This is fundamental terrorism, against all humanity,”
No religion endorses terrorism. It is only the conditioned mind subjugated by fueling ignorance and media promotion of a false reality by interested groups, which are the perpetrators of this evil.
Love to you all

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