The human mind is easily conditioned. It is capable of believing untruths, falsehoods and fancy stories. It cannot distinguish between fact and fiction, truth and lies, rumours and actuality, fantasy and reality. It is easily taken in by rumours and believes everything negative said about anybody. It is easy to discredit anyone, spread falsehoods and distort history. It doesn’t have the patience to probe into the truth. It is quick to believe and is not sceptical. With such a mind we need to be very discerning as to what we feed it. We must also train ourselves not to believe everything that other minds or our own minds tell us. The mind is a habitual liar and we must be wary of it. It was probably programmed this way for survival, but in the modern world, this programming has become a threat to our survival. We must make all efforts to protect our minds from being invaded by negative programming. The greatest threat to the mind from the outside world is the media in the form of newspapers, magazines, television, the internet and social media.
Another innate tendency of the mind is to be a knowledge gatherer. It loves knowledge and information, however useless and trivial. It loves gossip and scandal. It has a compulsive need to know more than others. Knowledge is power it has been told and it laps up any knowledge. It has to be the first to reveal its newfound knowledge to the world. The media knows this weakness of the mind and plays on it. It feeds us the most irrelevant knowledge and gossip so that we become information addicts, which is what we have all become. Our addiction is their profit.
The media is constantly portraying the injustices happening around the world over which we can do nothing individually. A child starving in Afghanistan can affect us deeply. Our helplessness in not being able to help compounds the agony. For every such event, we witness there are thousands we don’t know anything about.
Information from the media passes through our brains at rapid speed and continuously. There is no time to pause, question and think. Quality has been sacrificed for quantity. If we begin to ponder and question, we may become sceptical and begin to disbelieve. The media makes sure that this does not happen by feeding us information at high speed.
What does all this negative information and knowledge do to our brains? The feeling that this is an unjust and unfair world begins to sink in deeply. We begin to generalise and think that this is a violent world, that all politicians are crooks, and that there is something wrong with the world. As the conditioning gets deeper it begins to affect our health and psyche. Psychosomatic illness may creep in, depression may set in, and a general feeling that not all is well will become the norm. We see and read about only a small number of people who are violent, unjust and corrupt but it feels as though everyone in the world is. The mind extrapolates and generalises.
A hundred or two hundred years ago the mind had very little access to information about what was happening in the world. Most of the information was about the events of the village or town people lived in. It was close and personal. What happened in Timbuktu did not affect them. Psychologically and physically, they were much better off than us.
How do we then protect ourselves from the deleterious effects of the media? By abstinence. By being selective in what we take into our brains. Why should we know about every violent event in the world? The media only discloses probably one per cent of violent events. Why do we need to know even this one per cent? Of what use is it to us? Any knowledge which is outside our sphere of influence and not actionable has little utility. To hear what your President is saying is useful to know whom to vote for. But do you need to know what a despotic President of another country is saying about his neighbouring country? If you don’t like what he says it will only make your blood boil. Of what use is it?
What the media does
Effects our physical health
Disturbs our peace of mind
Creates hatred and division
Polarises people towards extremes
Creates disgust and aversion
Leaves bad memories
Makes us opinionated
What is safe to watch and know
New laws and policies
Spend not more than two minutes to know what is happening around the world and what politicians are saying
Avoid reading and watching
Useless political debates that add no value to our lives
What happened in the past, unless it helps the present
Politicians or others whom you don’t like. This will only create more aversion.
The bottom line
He who increases knowledge increases sorrow- King Solomon
We must be free from the compulsion to know anything that will harm our health and disturb our peace of mind.