Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Chewing The Chewed? Texts Without Context

A interesting and somewhat disconcerting article about the effects of contemporary expressions of media on our already fractured and conditioned consciousness, and how we are participating in what may end up being a collective cultural "movement" bearing very dull and mundane fruit.

It's something we as monks trying to reach out to young people certainly notice in our humble efforts to communicate something deeper. Our friends out there in the subway platforms and universities have a real devotion to one's subjective experience, or a real aversion to commitment to a discipline and concrete path.

Something like the "regulative principles of freedom" don't make much sense to them. They say: "Why should I limit myself? There's so much to dabble in, so much to learn." True enough, true enough. But my experience tells me that the clarity they, and we, all seek comes from seeing a larger picture, a clearer picture, and from making a educated and willing choice to commit our lives to the tangible word of God, of Krsna.

Sure, this isn't anything new. But this article jolts me into an understanding that our work to reveal Krsna to the hearts of our friends gets trickier and trickier. What do you think?

Click here to read the full article from the New York Times

"Given the constant bombardment of trivia and data that we’re subjected to in today’s mediascape, it’s little wonder that noisy, Manichean arguments tend to get more attention than subtle, policy-heavy ones; that funny, snarky or willfully provocative assertions often gain more traction than earnest, measured ones; and that loud, entertaining or controversial personalities tend to get the most ink and airtime. This is why Sarah Palin’s every move and pronouncement is followed by television news, talk-show hosts and pundits of every political persuasion. This is why Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh on the right and Michael Moore on the left are repeatedly quoted by followers and opponents. This is why a gathering of 600 people for last month’s national Tea Party convention in Nashville received a disproportionate amount of coverage from both the mainstream news media and the blogosphere.

Digital insiders like Mr. Lanier and Paulina Borsook, the author of the book “Cyberselfish,” have noted the easily distracted, adolescent quality of much of cyberculture. Ms. Borsook describes tech-heads as having “an angry adolescent view of all authority as the Pig Parent,” writing that even older digerati want to think of themselves as “having an Inner Bike Messenger.”

For his part Mr. Lanier says that because the Internet is a kind of “pseudoworld” without the qualities of a physical world, it encourages the Peter Pan fantasy of being an entitled child forever, without the responsibilities of adulthood. While this has the virtues of playfulness and optimism, he argues, it can also devolve into a “Lord of the Flies”-like nastiness, with lots of “bullying, voracious irritability and selfishness” — qualities enhanced, he says, by the anonymity, peer pressure and mob rule that thrive online."

2 comments:

Thomas said...

When you look at most pages on the internet, they're surrounded by animated advertisements trying desperately to grab your attention away. Television programs seldom go longer than six minutes or so at a time before the advertising- six minute bursts of short, non-linear association- begins. Drive down the road and you're surrounded with giant distracting billboards, and now some of them are basically big diamond-vision television screens. The last time I went to see a movie the theater was little up with little glowing screens, because the patrons couldn't go 90 minutes without texting from their cell phones.

That's one reason I so look forward to chanting my rounds. It's one of the few times of the day my mind can be totally absorbed on just one thing.

茂一 said...
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