Why is it easier to believe that 150,000,000 Americans are being lazy rather than 400 Americans are being greedy?
Public opinion on this giant elephant in the room is shaped by the previous perceptions we have of our society. We are told to believe in a system that is currently broken. Every system has a give and a take, and we have been raised to believe that within this system, if you give a lot, there will be plenty for you to take. If you work hard, your hard work will be rewarded.
While that’s lovely rhetorically speaking, it doesn’t quite hold as true as it used to.
Every system has its limits. As time passes on, the systems we have in place become more and more outdated. While we can infuse change and update our system according to the different problems that arise, there will always be new problems because people change and adapt to systems. Our whole lives are a maze of figuring out systems. It is those who are creative and informed who are able to get through the maze the fastest… but not everyone is offered the tools needed to be creative and informed (hence the importance of funding the education and the arts… and of making basic internet free for all people).
While we like to believe we are all individuals and all so special and significant (which we definitely are), there is also a larger truth about our society. Each individual will react differently and form different opinions to what they see in the corporate media, but the majority complacently ACT the same way.
The majority will buy the brand they saw a commercial for over an unknown brand.
The majority will go see the well funded blockbuster movie they saw a commercial trailer for instead of the indie film they haven’t heard of.
The majority will consume the things we are told to consume (remember the Bush 2 era call to buy duct tape and plastic wrappings to protect yourself from a terrorist attack? I mean really now.. both items happen to be made with polyethylene, which is from oil or natural gas… and doesn’t the Bush family fortune stem from oil? I’m sure they’re diversifying to water now, but when Bush 2 was president it was all about the oil).
My favorite recounting of this and other such consumer stories is this clip by one of my comedy heroes, Lewis Black. (Be warned, he likes to yell and curse… which I fully support, but it’s probably not safe for work depending on how conservative your boss is.)
We as humans gravitate toward what we know and what we are familiar with. But we do not usually think about WHY we know and are familiar with these things and WHO is ($funding$) making sure we know and see these things (ads, brands, musicians, movies, actors, celebrities etc). This lack of intake assessment allows for a flood of media and advertisement exposure, all in competition to catch your attention to sell their commodity.
So without personally controlling what media we are exposed to, we are mostly allowing ourselves to be sheep following the corporate media shepherd. Is the corporate media a good shepherd? Have they led our society in the right direction?
You are free to do your own research and form your own opinions, but I will add a few things I have learned for you to consider:
1. The corporate pressure of the media for us to spend our money has left most Americans in debt and living way beyond our means. There are figures indicating that about 70% of Americans are in debt (I encourage you to do your own research or even just to talk to people).
2. The corporate media has clouded our country’s definition of needs and wants. The stock market is set up to fund corporations that create products and services. Are all of these products and services innovative designs that our society needs? [My opinion: I believe our society also needs a social stock market, where you can fund organizations that provide services and goods that are needed to solve social problems. This spotlights and funds successful organizations that seek profits beyond monetary gains. Other countries are breaking into this type of investing, and I am hoping the USA will steal the idea and make it 1000 times better and take full credit for being so innovative (because that is how we roll). Now we obviously cannot let the people in charge of the current stock exchange be in charge of a Social Stock Exchange because they will figure out how to suck all of the money out of the system and leave everyone else with nothing… so some new, evolved thinkers will have to step forward.]
3. Our society loves violence. We thrive on explosions, guns and blood. Violent video games, sports, war on tv and violent movies are more popular than ever. Why? There are many reasons including feeling generally unfulfilled with life which leads to anger, escapism, alienation and anomie. Being disconnected from one’s community leaves a person unfulfilled by life. If you have no appreciation for/connection to society and see no legitimate means of changing your situation (like a well-designed functional social system), you will have no appreciation for other human lives. Violence is showcased and glorified throughout the corporate media as an ingrained part of our society. The more we are exposed to this kind of violence, the more distant and numb we are to the pain it causes. To improve public opinion on war, you must first improve public opinion of violently killing OTHER people.
4. Fear. Fear is a powerful weapon for controlling people. So many people in our society are afraid.. mostly of things and people they are told to be afraid of by the media. It is so sad! So many people hold themselves back because of these irrational, media-based fears. Fear of failure, fear of other people, fear of other cultures, fear of being alone and the fear of not being accepted control people on a daily basis. It is only those of us able to break past those fears who are able to truly be free and live freely.
Critical reasoning is a mind’s best friend. Please remember to think for yourself… you are much smarter than you’re allowed think you are.
Photo Source: hydrolicious