Archive for July, 2010

Are You Post Sheep?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on July 23, 2010 by dredslack

 I recently responded to a blog about manipulation in film by Mihai Stoian, (http://www.mihaistoian.net/hollywood-manipulates-through-movies). He made some good points so I added my voice to the discussion, supporting identifying manipulations and being aware of them as a good and often pleasant way to avoid their influence. Mihai  replied in a very gracious manner and implied that most people need more protection than simple awareness and self analysis, without some other source to lead them, life would be too much. It seems to me that this perspective views most people as sheep that need to be told what to do. 

 The Bible contains many analogies regarding Shepard’s and their flocks that make the same implication; people aren’t smart enough to think for themselves. Well, I don’t agree, I think that most people have the ability to think for themselves. To get good at it we all need to work at it and we’ll need some education about thinking logically and not being tricked by simple forms of manipulative argument. We also need to be honest with ourselves and it’s of course wise to seek the council of respected others but I believe most of us are capable of making good decisions on our own. Sure they’ll be mistakes but that’s how we learn. Miles Davis (American Musician 1926-91) says it best: “Do not fear mistakes … there are none”.   

 Perhaps in the past, for society to survive we did need to do a Shepard / flock thing. We may have done ourselves in if we hadn’t. However now it seems the leadership caste (& I’m not talking about the Obama administration) has become the child that needs leading and we need to think for ourselves at a more complete level than ever before.

 Every generation has its challenges and perhaps one of ours is to assert ourselves as thinking, aware individuals. Whether it’s a political party, a gang of skinhead punk’s with white laces on their boot’s or a revered leader, do you need to follow a doctrine, group or charismatic individual ….. or are you post sheep?

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Finding Content in a World of Hype

Posted in quest for content, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on July 2, 2010 by dredslack

                                    Finding Content in a world of Hype 

  In the latest issue (July/August 2010) of Fast Company magazine the lead story is about how Steve Jobs built Apple Computers to be what is now the second largest company in the nation. Author Farhad Manjoo distills the principal actions that led to this success into seven maxims, one of those being the cliché “everything is marketing”. 

 That phrase stuck with me like a commercial jingle and pushed me up to a new level of self awareness. Driving from work the road side signs pulled at me as the radio extolled the virtues of Burger Kings new ‘Bourbon Burger’. At home the newspaper pushed its slanted perspectives like my mother in law trying to sneakily manipulate me into agreeing with some sort of tea party nonsense. The TV literally sang and danced about the products that would certainly turn my life into a show tune, filled with improbably attractive, sexually suggestive (and a bit on the thin side) ‘love’ interests. My computer home page offered no relief as it simmered and bubbled with pop up windows and embedded ads, even my cyber-social network via Facebook was awash with ads and suggestions. 

 Because of that cliché I became aware that much of my mind has automatically been occupied avoiding these seductive messages and has embarked on an unconscious quest for content: A battle to keep my mind my own and filled with the real stuff of life, not the suggestive fluff that’s constantly shoveled in our faces. Most of us do this ‘hype filtering’ quite consciously in our work or with the special interests we have. I write frequently on the subject of dealing with manipulative people (Two Legged Snakes) and their techniques, but this is a quieter, more subtle war. I think a lot of us have thought patterns that try to determine what might lead to connections that aren’t hype and sophistry and that have some reality to them, a humanness and relevancy that’s interesting to hear about and connect with. Like an immune system that works to keep out the hype this ‘programming’ looks for songs that have guts or books that (really) tell the truth. Articles, movies or TV shows are sought that are honest and intelligent and leave you glad you spent the time rather than wanting that time back. Perhaps that’s what a lot of us are ‘hunting and gathering’ these days: Content; reality, truthfulness and humanity, cared for facets of our experience that aren’t just widgets to make a dollar. 

  I’m optimistic that I’m not alone when it comes to this quest for authenticity. Currently my favorite TV shows is Lie to Me, where Tim Roth deftly portrays an eccentric psychologist who is expert in determining who is telling the truth. It’s a very content heavy show that delves into many of the dilemmas we all face, from managing our relationships to finding our best individual paths and so forth. There’s a lot more depth and honesty than you get from most programs and it’s growing and very dedicated audience (and ad density) is a small sample of proof that many of us are on a similar hunt for content and are fighting a good fight against the fluff majore.

 If you’ve noticed a similar ‘hunt for content’ operating in your life please leave a comment.  Thanks!

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