tv drug of the nation as tool 4 change?

how, then does a nation of several hundred million people pay attention? where is the “knowing faculty” to be found in modern civilisation? i believe that television, in particular, is fundamental to the knowing capacity of modern societies. however, to suggest that television is vital for the functioning of a reflective conciousness for modern societies will strike many people as an outrageous assertion. television has been called a “boob tube”, a “cultural barbiturate”, a “vast wasteland” and worse. how can such a seemingly dysfunctional technology be at the heart of our capacity for social knowing?
a few stark statistics testify to the power of television in dominating the consciousness and perceptions of modern society. in the u.s. 99% of all households have a television, making the tv set one of the most common fixtures in our lives. the average person watches nearly four hours of television per day and a majority of persons get a majority of their news about the world from this single source. television creates our shared frame of reference, and for all pratical purposes, if something does not appear on television, it does not exist in mass social conciousness. television, then, has become our social witness, our shared vehicle for knowing what we know.
despite the power of television to awaken our collective knowing, it is clearly not serving us in this way. television may be our primary social mirror, but it is holding up a reflection that is diminshed, distorted asnd shortsighted. consequently, i believe that the most critical environmental problem facing humanity is not a problem with the physical environment but with the electronic environment generated by the mass media. to build a sustainable and compassionate future we must overcome the cultural hypnosis of consumerism that is generated daily by commercial television. by allowing television to be programmed primarily for commercial succes, we are simultanously programming the mindset of entire civilisations for evolutionary stagnation and ecological failure. our evolutionary maturity is being tested. our future as a species may well depend on a new “politics of conciousness” that holds the mass media accountable for being a fair witness and mature partner in our collective awakening.
[excerpt from duane elgin: our collective awakening and politics of conciousness in WIE issue 25]

this excerpt made me realise that i want to get into television work. particularly interactive televison seems to be a very promising development, that will add interactivity to the already most widely distributed and available news source.
but… what about the internet, you may ask now?
the internet is a fine tool to distribute alternative information … for the nerds.
its bottom-up structure and relatively easy accessability allow me, and just about anybody else, to run our own little freakshow, where we can distribute news in a seemingly more democratic way. but who’s gonna see it? its mostly become a classic case of preaching to the already converted.
the internet’s pluralistic approach has been reduced more and more to a narcissistic celebration of the postmodern mantra called “anything goes”. but it has, quite awhile ago, lost its potential of ever influencing joe shmuck. i look around and see more and more people losing interest in the web, because it has become too nerdy, turned into a place where insiders hype eachother up with their elitist attitude. and lets face it, the “because we can” kick is growing old too.
i agree with elgin that working in television is where true change has to start – in the ecological question that he speaks about as in most other crucial political questions [overpopulation, war, migration] we are facing today.

About Jan Zuppinger

Jan Zuppinger has been writing this blog since 2002. He likes to grow vegetables. He likes to eat them too. He has opinions on everything, but sadly no one cares. Jan Zuppinger is not joking, just joking, he is joking, just joking, he's not joking. *click.