We The People of the USA are infamously “divided”–in our minds. This division (though beginning in the mind) is expressed in our social relationships. Importantly, this mental division is largely implanted into our minds through our consumption of the mass media.
This American media-driven mental-social division is expressed in the following ways, among others:
- rich vs. poor
- African-American vs. European-American
- liberal vs. conservative
- pro-life vs. pro-choice
- gay vs. straight
- traditional vs. progressive
- men vs. women
- gun rights vs. gun control
- religious vs. secular
- urban vs. rural
Amazingly, this division is so defined at present that if someone’s position on only one issue is known, then that person’s position on virtually all other issues can be correctly assumed! This is not natural, normal, or healthy–but neither is the division itself.
The division is a consequence of many factors, including these:
- Mass-media promotion of endless ways to divide our society against itself
- The inability of people to distinguish their own experiences from propaganda
- The (natural and healthy) existence of multiple viewpoints on any matter
- The incorrect judgment that there are always only TWO viewpoints on an issue
- The incorrect judgment that one’s own viewpoint MUST be right
- The incorrect judgment that the (only) other viewpoint MUST be wrong
- The unwillingness of individuals to consider their own viewpoint fully and rationally
- The unwillingness of individuals to consider other viewpoints fully and rationally
- The tendency of “the masses” to abandon reason and “think” emotionally instead
- The extreme avoidance of admitting one’s own error
- Constant consumption of mass-media programming by people in our society
- The (often incorrect) perception of social and peer pressure for a certain view
- The belief (and insistence) that others must or should share one’s own viewpoint
- The validation and acceptance of the division itself
- The media-creation of certain viewpoints that are not real
The solutions to these problems lie in the mind of each person, but history shows that the great majority of people are simply unable and/or unwilling to correct these errors within themselves. I can’t fix them, but I can help to dispel these myths in and among people close to me (if they care to).
This is my purpose here. With that, let’s address the problem directly, as I see it.
The mass (corporate news and entertainment) media include (basically in order of importance/influence) TV programming, newspapers, Hollywood movies, magazines, books (both fiction and non-fiction), and radio programming. Despite theories about public “demand,” producers of these “information sources” decide for themselves what you and I will consume, within certain parameters.
Many of our viewpoints are the viewpoints that mass-media producers want us to have, not the ones we would have without their influence.
The mass media instigate division by reporting on it (as news), or by portraying it in a fictional setting (as entertainment). Then they fan the flames of division by defining a “line” between two (and only two) opposing viewpoints. We The People, not suspecting this sort of control, simply 1) accept the division, 2) choose one of the two opposing camps, and 3) join in the media-created division.
Folks, have we not figured out yet that the mass media are not our friends? Why do we as a society recognize the media as a problem and then continue to believe what they say?
To quote Terence McKenna,
“This is shit-brained, this kind of thinking.”
In my observation, neither side of a fake mental-social division is completely right–and neither is completely wrong, either. Both sides of each issue are partly right and partly wrong. Both sides are wrong for the black-and-white (lack of) thinking that solidifies the division.
Most importantly, neither side of the media-created division has the answer(s) on which it claims to have the monopoly.
This situation has brought great harm to the social fabric of our country, and it threatens to cause further confusion, chaos, and destruction between and among us if we don’t figure out what’s happening and how to stop it in our own lives.
I offer a very simple solution:
If people would stop consuming (and believing) the divisive propaganda that the mass media endlessly promote, and if they would instead rely on their own study and experience to guide them, then they could learn for themselves what’s “right” with regard to any “issue”–and to get along with people who disagree with their own viewpoints.
That one bold-faced paragraph, if understood and put into action, could by itself solve the majority of social problems in the United States.
Of course, nothing guarantees that another person will also be willing to “get along.” We simply can’t control other people…but trying to control other people is a symptom of what’s wrong in the first place. We can only control ourselves.
Unfortunately, the Powers That Be (of which the media are only a part) have anticipated this solution, and have injected our society with a powerful antidote to it:
We believe that truth is relative, everything is up for debate, and no real answers can ever be found anyway, so we might as well just not judge (that is, not use our brains), follow the media hype, be nice to everybody, and treat every person and idea as “equal” like they tell us to.
What the media don’t tell us is that this is a road to destruction, but they don’t seem to care about that anyway. In fact, they seem to promote it at every turn.
Written on February 17, 2014, and freshly edited on February 5, 2017.