>Media Vegetable

>The partnership between media and marketing has led the unscrupulous purveyors to take unfair advantage of the consumer. With today’s hectic lifestyle, shrinking incomes, and downsizing employment, it’s no wonder that people want to “veg out.” I mean, who wants to think after 5 o’clock? Most people’s brains are spent—not on important, life-shaping matters—but on menial, repetitive tasks. These tasks do not stimulate new ideas, but merely tie up bandwidth in the brain.

So after getting chewed out for showing up 3 minutes late to a job you hate on a Monday morning, you make your way to your work station. Here you will be worked by your superiors like some sort of mechanical device—as a part of the machine you might be standing or sitting in front of. Perfection is expected, but speed is a priority. Criticism and irrational demands replace the real human contact of teamwork. Indeed, you have likely been chewed out for spending too much time “socializing.”

So you go home to chores of one kind or another. Work doesn’t stop because you go home. You’re too stressed out about today or tomorrow or the next presentation to think about thirty years from now when today’s habits compound to cause your death by heart disease. So you order a pizza, easy right? Of course you get diet soda with it, because somewhere [on a commercial] you heard that aspartame is healthier than sugar.

Then you plop down in front of the TV, physically, mentally, and spiritually exhausted. You watch what’s easy to watch. Plot-driven, formulaic, escapist programming. Shows interlaced with car commercials, prescription drug ads, credit cards, and insurance—anything to make your life easier. And because you are emotionally vulnerable, and in no shape to think about what you’re watching, you get suckered into buying.

All that said, you are not the victim, but an accomplice to your own destruction. Henry Ford said, “Thinking is the hardest job there is, that is why so few people engage in it.” It’s true, but it’s still your responsibility. Who will protect your most valuable asset—your mind—if not you? What will protect your body and your life if not your mind? Certainly not the large organizations, most of whom are on a track that makes your day job harder (so they can cut costs), and your nightlife dumber (so they can sell you the fix).

So how about it? Ready to begin thinking through your intellectual diet, or are you going to die of cronic consumerism?

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Quotes

"For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction."

- Kahlil Gibran

"All television is educational television. The question is: what is it teaching?"
- Nicholas Johnson, author:
"We need the media to be presenting pictures of possibility not just continuing to be prophets of doom and gloom."
- Kevin Kelly, Wired

"How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortunes of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it, except the pleasure of seeing it."

- Adam Smith
"And the science is overwhelming that for creative, conceptual tasks, those if-then rewards rarely work and often do harm."
- Daniel Pink, author: Drive

"I wish we had a Problem-Solver Party because we have very big problems that need solving. And I think a lot of our attention is addressed to the wrong problems."
- David McCullough, author: 1776
"The goal shouldn't be to have a lot of people to yell at, the goal probably should be to have a lot of people who choose to listen."
- Seth Godin, author: Tribes
"The role of the media is to disseminate information, highlight important current events, and to essentially stand as a witness, an observer of cultural, political, community, and educational events. A healthy media provides a check on the government and increases the political astuteness of republican citizens."
- Stephen Palmer, The Center for Social Leadership
"Advertisers and politicians rely on a half-educated public, on people who know little outside of their own specialty, because such people are easy to deceive with so-called experts, impressive technical or sociological jargon, and an effective set of logical and psychological tricks."
- Robert Harris
"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
- John Adams
"I know no safe repository of the ultimate power of society but people. And if we think them not enlightened enough, the remedy is not to take the power from them, but to inform them by education."
- Thomas Jefferson
"Fathers and mothers have lost the idea that the highest aspiration they might have for their children is for them to be wise--as priests, prophets or philosophers are wise. Specialized competence and success are all that they can imagine."
- Allan Bloom, author: The Closing of the American Mind
"He that walketh with wise men shall be wise, but a companion of fools shall be destroyed."
(Proverbs 13:20)
"If you are not a thinking man, to what purpose are you a man at all."

- Samuel Taylor Coleridge
"I learn a lot from TV. Everytime someone turns one on, I go in the other room and read a book."
- Groucho Marx, comedian: Duck Soup
"There are two freedoms - the false, where a man is free to do what he likes; the true, where he is free to do what he ought."
- Charles Kingsley

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