What do you see when you observe the world?
Of course, there are a couple assumptions in the question. First, that you see what’s going on around you in the world. Second, that you take the time to process and consider what you see. That’s not necessarily true for people. And if it is true for you, have you wondered if what you see and observe is a reflection of what you have been trained to see and observe? Is your conditioning limiting your ability to perceive the world around you?
I wonder about these sorts of questions for myself–and also for other people. Lately, I spend a good amount of time interacting with media and news organizations. It has been enormously complicated to express the message we intend since the message is constantly filtered through the perspective of the media covering the events.
Filtering is a mechanism to allow us to prioritize where to focus attention—something scientists have identified as the orienting reflex (Sokolov, 2001). Built into our biology is the ability to focus attention immediately to the stimuli input that changed—but how do we recognize the most significant or critical change in order to prioritize decisions and actions? Well, good question. Part of the answer lies in how novel the change is to the individual in question. How conditioned—or habituated—is the individual to accept or ignore the stimuli?
Fake News is a catch all phrase tossed around mockingly by some, and out of abject frustration by others, but let me assure you from direct experience that the story you hear on the nightly news and read in the online papers hardly ever reflects the true message and nature of the events the media covers. How could it? Does it really seem plausible that a seven second sound bite and fifteen seconds of film footage could capture the true intent and heartbeat of an event?
What’s the answer to the watered down and trivial coverage? Podcasts. Hours and hours of intelligent people discussing difficult topics—with respect; with courage; with diplomacy despite completely antithetical vantage points in perspective. How could this be?
In a word: capitalism. In the end, the market reflects the needs and most fundamental desires of the consumer. The explosion of Joe Rogan, Dave Rubin, Mikhaila Peterson, and so many powerful voices with something critical to add to the conversation means that human beings on this beautiful planet are desperate for deep dialogue, debate, critique and information.
The opportunity to expand your perspective, to challenge the narrow vantage point from which your world is viewed and to reorient your internal reflexes has never been more abundant. Allow your mind to create new filters which address the scant coverage of events and thwart conversational exchange of ideas. You owe it to you mind—it most certainly matters.
Sololove, E.N. 2001. Orienting Response. International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/orienting-reflex