I wonder how much of the fear which tints my current world view has been fertilized by two non-mainstream dissenting-voice blogs I read. One blog reports on shenanigans underlying the worldwide speculative real-estate bubble and predicts the inevitable repeat crash. The second blog searches for signs of economic, environmental, political and social deterioration. Both blogs condense and re-spin gleanings from the internet morass.
I found the ‘housing crash’ blog during my search to understand why we haven’t been able to buy even the lowliest hovel since we moved to California. I found the link to the ‘deterioration’ blog on the ‘housing crash’ blog.
Since internet searches in part reflect the point of view of each searcher’s questions, the blogs I’ve found perpetuate and amplify my concerns. Both blogs say that things are bad and getting worse. Staring at unhappy and unfixable truths each night before bed leaves me feeling afraid and angry. I’ve been taken over by a sense of stymied urgency and hopeless wanting.
When I’m stuck in anger and fear, urgency and wanting, I lose my clarity of thought. I begin to imagine that I might welcome the respite of blindness. And, at the same time, my fear, anger, urgency and wanting makes me more gullible and vulnerable to those who sell promises of relief.
Back in 2002, I discovered this media/marketing equation was at work:
(watch T.V.) = (increased fear and anger) = (desire for relief) = (the wants)
My realization of this equation was behind the “no television” regime I began that year. I felt relief after I unplugged television from my head. Then I noticed that every exposure to media ultimately left me anxious, irritated and wanting. So I expanded my “no television” rule to include “no broadcast media”. This meant no magazines, no newspapers, no movies and no radio. Not even public stations. Not even local papers. Not even a weather report.
After I unhooked my brain from the incessant spectacles and repetitive yammering of media marketing, I regained (or perhaps gained) my senses. Once I got beyond most of the withdrawal symptoms, I felt calmer and better. I thought more clearly. I felt less restless. I had fewer wants. I shopped less and bought less. I gradually paid off debt. I decluttered my mind and my life. I gave things away.
I realized that the desire to own a jumbo-sized house with a jumbo-sized mortgage is a jumbo-sized case of artificially-generated jumbo-sized WANT rather than any inherent NEED. I felt freer to down-size. So I did.
Earlier this year, I began reading these two (supposedly) non-mainstream blogs. But I’ve found that reading these rebel blogs gives me the same old effects as mainstream media. And, even though they are outwardly dissenting voices, they effectively tie me into mainstream media messages. Rebels like James Dean and Easy Rider are as deeply ingrained in the American psyche as June Cleaver and Martha Stewart. Non-mainstream rebels are an essential programmed-in aspect of the American mainstream persona.
I noticed that my internet use was making me feel scared and angry. I felt an increasing sense of urgency. I began to want more. But I rationalized my continued looking and reading. Since this wasn’t television, it wasn’t so bad. Since I choose what I read, it’s okay. Since I have ad-blockers, I’m not being effected by marketing. Right?
The marketing of beliefs, emotions and desires is inextricably woven into the fabric of all writing. I know this. I do this every day when I write even the smallest haiku. Writing is communication. There’s no reason write if there are no messages to transmit. All messages are not overt. Pictures speak louder. Moving pictures with sound speak loudest.
The media/marketing equation works via the internet just as well as television, newspapers, magazines, radio and movies. They are all grand pumps pushing generic wants into an already over-inflated population.
(view media) = (increased fear and anger) = (desire for relief) = (the wants)
I view media. I feel scared and angry. These feelings interfere with clear thought as I seek relief from uncomfortable feelings. In our individualized and materialistic society, relief is sought from chemicals, objects and objectified relationships. Most seeming choices shown us are for titillation only. They are unavailable.
Since I can’t have what I want, I go after what I can get.
These artificially inspired wants, desires and cravings are transferable. This human truth is core to all sales and marketing tactics. National marketing campaigns inflame desires. Desires inflamed are hollow cravings to be filled. Once there is craving, it’s easier to sell what’s available.
If one can get folks hankering after a high-end model, they can be sold some lesser model or even a plastic replica with a similar decal on the hood. If the person with the wants can’t afford the luxury model, he may buy a t-shirt with the name brand on the front.
This is one way to know the difference between wants and needs. While wants, desires and cravings can be transferred to replacement objects, needs cannot. You can’t, for example, replace clean air with pleasantly scented aerosol toxins. You cannot replace water with sand.
But you can sell the promise of freedom from fear, anger, wants, desires and cravings with a slogan emblazoned on the front of a ball cap.
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Thanks for reading.