“Watching television is like taking black spray paint to your third eye.” ― Bill Hicks
Emerging out of the Commedia dell’arte tradition or ‘comedies with masks’ which began in 16th Century Italy, the Punch and Judy Puppet Shows served a useful social function, one which was usually administered with the calming effect of comedic honey, by introducing memes into society at large, for town and city-dwellers all over the world.
These puppet shows could provide pure entertainment, delighting both young and old, and they could be the vehicle for social satire and political commentary, uniting the audience in a shared communal experience by allowing it’s audience to be exposed to the latest memes and new ideas being talked about or heard on the ‘grapevine’.
The puppetry performances were a world in miniature, an artificial fusion of stage, strings, marvelously over-blown characters and theatrical curtains with hidden mechanisms manipulated often by just one person in a creative effort to tell a story. The human art of Story-telling of course stretches all the way back to the 35,000 year old cave paintings adorning the walls of the Lascaux Caves in France and even back then they were used as a technology for shaping tribal behavior and organizational change. Ordinarily the inhabitants of a town might view one of these performances perhaps once a week in the town square…for the rest of humanity, it was often traveling carnivals which passed through their region perhaps once a year which provided the only opportunity to view a show.
Puppet Shows have a classic duality usually consisting of a Hero, the protagonist and a Villain locked in eternal conflict, and conflict is the engine of the story, the source of all pyrotechnics and comedic merriment. It’s a simple format which has worked effectively right up to our present day TV shows.
Now, imagine if instead of viewing the performance of a puppet show once a year or once a week, the vast bulk of Humanity suddenly went collectively insane…
Imagine that they began this delirium by devoting a large chunk of their lives as slaves to a meaningless job consisting of 8-hour shifts which bled away time in the tedious, acrid haze of the proletarian work-ethic afternoon…and then, exhausted, hungry and tired the vast bulk of humanity simply sat down en masse, like Lemming hordes in a kind of religious rapture and devoted their remaining waking hours to watching vicariously, as an endless run of Puppet Shows pregnant with memes washed over them and infiltrated their subconscious.
And imagine that they continued to do this for the rest of their sleep-walking lives…
Imagine the ramifications collectively for such a species, being mind-massaged, conditioned day after day after day for almost a century.
Neuro-plasticity is already a cliche and yet there are still many among us who blithely ignore the incredibly toxic and corrosive effects of our viewing behavior with little or no consideration given to any deleterious effects or long term consequences to the species and our future.
We need to put this world-wide behavioral pattern clearly into perspective here.
“Advertising is legalized lying” said the far-sighted H.G.Wells and free to air television, with it’s commercial agenda has been doing precisely that for almost 90 years, ever since the first Television blazed into operation.
“Did you know? Nine out of ten Doctors prefer Camel cigarettes, for pure smoking pleasure!”
Imagine…all over the World…every single night, Humanity is there, eagerly hunched over in front of the Box, waiting to be given it’s nightly, sugar-coated ‘blue pill’ of poison, cleverly disguised as entertainment, as a harmless ‘Opiate for the masses’ from the warming glow of the Television screen.
Imagine…Humanity ritualistically receiving it’s nightly infusion of Lies and the official, homogeneously shaped political narrative, followed by another fictional dose of unrequited love, some cheap but entertaining murders, a quick Fear-laden update from a Government hack, another war-mongering ‘proud to be American’ message and then it’s off to sleep…to process the subliminal hate, the bigotry, the violence and the pathological indifference.
To assimilate and allow the night’s official corporate and government manipulations to set and congeal in our heads.
And in the morning we rinse and repeat the day all over again, culminating at the end of an identical hard day’s night with another full evening’s TV viewing of fictional trash and pulp stories covered in a slick coating of Government sleaze and Government porn…endlessly replicated ad nauseum All Over The Western World!
7 Days a Week. 365 days a year. Year after year. Decade after decade.
Exactly as Orwell had described in the prophetic ‘1984’ which appears increasingly relevant with every passing year.
Due to the silencing and intimidation of most of our Independent news journalists by a feeding frenzy of corporate/privatized/government sharks wielding the Patriot act in a hostile manner, it has become ever more difficult for the average citizen to discern the truth from lies.
Those who remain to push the buttons and pull the puppet strings on the release of printable information i.e whats left of our so-called compromised ‘Fourth Estate’, behave in common like the official mouthpieces for a typical fascist Government, like painted, lascivious whores of the Corporatocracy.
When the CIA is embedded within every News network organization, their media releases of bite-sized distortions, sound bites and infomercials forms a rich texture of poisonous memes, and via the merciless strategy of repetition our perceptions are gradually transformed, as they chant and trumpet their untruths and spread their propaganda blatantly :
“And now, here is THE News”
Because of their ubiquitous and singular ability to shape public perception, the veracity of today’s Television message has very little to do with the Truth.
Any left-over fragments of an independent voice, an objective free press, those last paranoid vestiges of the legitimate ‘Fourth Estate’, who were enshrined by the Constitution to act as a check or counter-balance to the official party line have largely been drowned by the echoing cacophony of ideologically identical, cloned TV messages.
Uncle Sam the Spin Doctor is in the House! and all media outlets now speak with the same tongue and read from the same script.
Madison avenue and the remaining 6 Jackals of the American Corporate Media are without exception driven by a pathological need to feed the Machine…permanently in pursuit of profit as the sole objective.
The Governments meanwhile are locked in a sick, symbiotic embrace with the Media as they are naturally complicit in this on-going rewrite of History and along for the ride.
This hinders any real inclination towards the truth or objective reporting among it’s participants as ‘making waves’ or rocking the boat is invariably rewarded with censure and dismissal.
Imagine…the perception of the ‘Truth’, as presented by the mainstream media, upon which many base their own reality, has been sacrificed on the altar of the holy dollar!
Alas this is nothing new and for most of us, in our quiet, reflective moments we already admit to ourselves that the message coming from the Box is mostly Spin and Lies for an Imperialist agenda.
Q: What are the ramifications and full import of such a scenario?
A: We should never forget that our Technology acts as a catalyst for our species…enabling us to change…to evolve.
And that is exactly what we have been doing now for almost 90 years…adapting, changing and ultimately evolving in subtle, mysterious sub-conscious shifts.
So we are forced to ask ourselves, in what direction are we incrementally evolving and what type of animal is it precisely that we are being shaped into?
Story-telling, myths and folklore were always a part of the human condition, after all that’s how memes are generated and spread, but to be subjected to an endless stream of uniform, fictional plot lines hour after hour, show after show for the duration of an entire evening is just obsession and over-kill.
And repeating this unnerving, unnatural embrace with technology and it’s vicarious mind-wash, 7 daze a week for an entire Lifetime?
I guess that would be called : Embracing the Insanity…it’s literally taking the ‘Blue Pill’ from “The Matrix” over and over…
I humbly suggest this is destructive to the psychic health of the average human being and hence equally deadly to the health of our species as a whole.
We allow a synthetic, two-dimensional semblance of reality to wash over us each and every evening from the Television screen.
But in the process we are losing touch with our authentic, primal selves, with each other, with our natural environment, with the fading whispers of another ‘Reality’ and with the voice of our own inner nature as it softly declines…
and we are losing the ability to create and shape something original and personal with our own hands and out of our own imaginations.
Before Radio and Television were invented, families were bonded together by their use of their own imaginations and creativity to fashion entertainment for themselves of an evening…they would sing operettas, chant Shakespeare and Homer at each other, hold recitation evenings taking it in turns to read the characters from a Eugene O’Neill play, they would memorize obscure symbolist Poetry or play the piano, play the Harp, play the Sax or sit around together telling each other jokes and horror stories, they would play word games, riddles, match stick puzzles, assemble sailing ships in a bottle, play canasta, play with their pets, take long romantic walks communing with Nature…they would conduct Astronomical parties, using Newtonian reflecting Telescopes to bring to life and reveal in sharp relief the shadows, that fell inside craters on the dusty oceans of the Moon…they would learn Morse code, learn to meditate, they would learn how to use a loom…learn how to speak a foreign language, they would crochet incredible vistas of Canada or the Rocky Mountains and they would perform hilarious Puppet Shows which sometimes went on for days…the list never ends, and neither does the creativity and productivity of the average human being given the right circumstances and environment.
Unfortunately to our own detriment, today we are more content to simply rely on the Box to do all the work for us.
In other words we have forgotten how to ‘Play’, and ‘Play’ is how you stimulate Dopamine…something which has always been fundamental to the equilibrium of the Human psyche.
In the process we blindly rob ourselves of personal growth and the joys of human interaction by learning through mutually doing.
Our Dopamine levels and some of the other chemical levels swimming around in our brains are undergoing subtle changes.
Over-stimulation of our brains through the vicarious violence and sexuality on our television screens leads to a numbing effect, which shuts down Dopamine receptors…this is well known i.e hence, we are made mute…’zombified’
Imagine a whole Island colony of Monkeys which had been living in relative harmony with a sense of family and a sense of community…with social cohesion to spare.
Industrious, creative creatures who spent a regular portion of each day in the Sun, engaged in fruitful and constructive personal and community endeavors.
Now imagine one day that due to an unexpected, accidental release of precious goods from within the belly of the beast…from the enigmatic Gods of the Cargo-cult, that the entire island suddenly became infested by a downpour of TV’s…sleek, black ‘idiot boxes’ which fell from the skies.
There are more than enough sets for every Man, Woman and Dog on the island.
Whereas previously the islanders would spend their evenings around a fire-place interacting with each other and bonding as a family or tribe, as a result of this wondrously seductive and time-consuming technology, the Monkeys now spend their entire evenings in a solitary trance and still sitting side by side.
Hopelessly addicted to the Box by fabulous imagery and seduced by the promises of Consumerism and Materialism per se, the Monkey’s usual family activities of an evening, and their collective growth and natural progression towards harmony as a species in general have all been halted in their tracks…the Monkeys have been made malleable…controlled…pacified…and zombified and all now possess the identical world view…the officially corporate or imperial reality.
Psycho-socially they are less adept at communicating among their own kind, becoming introverted, fearful and with a growing tendency towards Conformity as the solution to any and all behavioral dilemmas.
They are deftly being controlled and manipulated, fed lies from dusk to dawn from one single source.
Previously these Monkeys had maintained an inter-connected, inter-dependent society based on trust and mutual, communal sharing.
However, due to the mind-numbing effects of the TV set, their society becomes increasingly filled with solitary, disconnected individuals who no longer receive the news via word of mouth from their neighbors in an inter-connected societal ritual.
Instead, now alone in their rooms, with blankets over the bleak windows and multicolored cables snaking across the stained carpets, they sit like shrunken Buddhas with hollowed-out sunken eyes, connected to the ‘Big Hum’ and staring fixedly into the eyes of people who aren’t even there, falling in love with people who don’t even exist and quietly chuckling to themselves over the antics of imaginary, fictitious characters late into the night.
They become morose, moribund, isolated and uncommunicative, and gradually the supports and ties of family, friends and fellow villagers, in other words the fibre and harmony of their society, which had traditionally been a major source of enjoyment of an evening, begins to loosen it’s grip, fragment and dissolve.
The intrusive, transformative power of just one piece of technology had caused over a single century, an evolutionary shift of dramatic proportions for the entire island colony.
The effects were cumulative and inexorable.
They were incrementally transformed over many generations into spiritually mute, half brain-dead creatures that possessed only a limited capacity for imagination or creativity, being in the end desensitized and lobotomized through an unrelenting assault of repetition, Lies and fear-laden whispers, and the incessant shattering of psychic calm through the use of quick sharp cuts, violence and sexualized imagery.
A society of emotionally crippled, dysfunctional ghosts, addicted to the quick fixes and highs, the disconnected sound bites and feel-good eye candy of a Consumerist Carnival, accustomed to a callous disregard for the sanctity of life, inured to violence and the sight of suffering humanity and fastidiously trained to never question the official Government line.
This was certainly not something that was achievable in a handful of decades, even with the new understanding of our Neuro-plastic brains…but in a century of remorseless conditioning?
Television has been with us for 90 years…what accumulated scarring I wonder, has left it’s mark on our shared universe of ancient archetypes that abound in the Jungian collective unconscious?
What affects on our dreams collectively I wonder, and what affects does this unrelenting pollution of inner-space, this continuous assault have on human growth, on psychic calm, and on our states of consciousness?
How much empathy has been lost in this assault on our minds?
Finally the island colony and it’s social fabric, having lost their last remnants of social cohesion were well on the way to ultimate fragmentation, crime and collapse…afflicted by a morally and spiritually bankrupt mind-set which to this day remains the hallmark of all consumer-obsessed, monetary societies.