Creating a Media that Cares
The media must play a key role in shifting the public atmosphere from alienation to camaraderie. The media provides us with almost everything we know about our world. Even the information we receive from friends or from family usually arrives via the media. It is the modern version of the grapevine.
But media does not simply provide us with information. It also offers us tidbits about people we approve or disapprove of, and we form our views based on what we see, hear, or read on the media. Because its power over the public is unrivaled, if the media turns to togetherness and unity, the world will follow.
Regrettably, until the outbreak of the financial crisis, the media has been focusing on successful individuals, media moguls, mega pop stars, and ultra-successful individuals who made millions and billions at the expense of their competitors. Only recently, as an offshoot of the crisis, has the media begun to display acts of compassion and unity, such as the sandbagging efforts by thousands of volunteers in Fargo, North Dakota, who joined forces in March, 2009 to stop the highest cresting of the Red River in recorded history.
While this trend is certainly welcome, a few sporadic and spontaneous efforts are not enough to truly bring people together. To really change our worldview, to make us aware of the existence of the desire to give, the media should present the full picture of reality, and inform us of its structure. To this end, it should create programs that demonstrate how the desire to give affects all levels of nature—inanimate, vegetative, animate, and human—and encourage people to emulate it. Instead of talk shows that host people who only talk about themselves, why not host people who praise others? After all, such examples abound; we just have to acknowledge them and bring them to the public’s attention.
If the media shows people caring for each other, and explains that such images will help us let the giving force into our lives, it will shift the public’s focus from self-centeredness to camaraderie. Today, the most popular viewpoint should be, “Unity is fun—let’s join the party.”
At the risk of making some gross generalizations, here are a few facts and numbers to think about: Our computers and TVs are made in China and Taiwan; our cars are made in Japan, Europe, and the U.S., and our clothes are made in India and China. Also, almost everyone watches Hollywood films, and by the end of this year (2009), China will have more English speakers than any other country in the world.
And here is a really interesting concept: Facebook, the online social network, has 175 million active users worldwide. If Facebook were a country, it would be the sixth largest country in the world!
Indeed, globalization is a fact, and it is showing us that we are already united. We can try to resist it, or we can join in and benefit from the diversity, opportunities, and abundance that globalization has in store for us.
There are ample ways the media can show us that unity is a gift. Although every scientist knows that no system in nature operates in isolation and that interdependency is the name of the game, most of us are unaware of it. When we see how every organ works to benefit the whole body, how bees collaborate in hives, how a school of fish swims in such unison that it can even be mistaken for a giant fish, how wolves hunt together, and how chimpanzees help other chimps, or even humans, without any reward in return, we will know that nature’s primary law is harmony and coexistence.
The media can and should show us such examples far more often than it does. When we realize that this is how nature works, we will spontaneously examine our societies and see if they are in unison with this harmony.
If our thoughts begin to shift in this direction, they will create a different atmosphere and introduce a spirit of hope and strength into our lives, even before we actually implement that spirit. Why? Because we will be aligned with nature’s life force—the desire to give.
The more connected we feel to others, the more our happiness depends on how they feel about us. If others approve of our actions and views, we feel good about ourselves. If they disapprove of what we do or say, we will feel bad about ourselves, hide our actions or even modify them to suit the social norm. In other words, because it is so important for us to feel good about ourselves, the media is in a unique position to shift people’s actions and views.
Not surprisingly, politicians are the most ratings-dependent people on earth, as their very livelihood depends on their popularity. If we show them that we have changed our values, they will change theirs to follow our lead. And one of the easiest, most effective ways to tell them what we value is to show them what we want to watch on TV! Because politicians want to stay in office, we need to show them that if they want to retain their positions, they must promote what we want them to promote—unity.
When we are able to create media that promotes unity and collaboration instead of self-glorification of celebrities, we will create an environment that persuades us that unity and balance between the desires are good.