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Friday, July 13, 2007

Pamplona, Bulls & Sensationalism

San Fermin in Pamplona, Spain. Photo Credit

Watching one of the international news channels yesterday – there are so many now – (remember when there was only CNN?), the annual bull runs during the celebration of San Fermin in Pamplona, Spain, were being shown in all their glory and in all their gore, as yesterday several young men were gored.

We all understand that mass media thrives on sensationalism: murder and mayhem, torture, kidnapping, abuse, incest, pornography, pedophilia, war, genocide, and mass famine to name only a few that are part of our nearly daily news diet. And once a year, the potentially goring bulls become part of that panorama as well.

We also all know that many of us spend a portion of our day viewing this information. We tell ourselves we have to keep up with what is going on in the world. We have to be informed. Where would we be if we didn’t know that another car bomb killed 15 in Baghdad or another suicide bomber killed 8 in Jerusalem, or that another war criminal has been convicted of mass murder and genocide? How can we justify not knowing that another famine is being occasioned in yet another sub-Saharan country due to yet another coup involving a sacking of the country’s wealth? And what would happen if we did not know that another hurricane/tornado/earthquake/tsunami/fire/landslide has devastated another country leaving yet another aftermath of pain and suffering?

Am I minimizing the importance of this? Am I saying we should ignore it?

Not at all.

But I am saying that we need to be careful about the amount of killing and horror and suffering that we take in as a daily diet. Is it really necessary that we view the bulls goring those young men on that news channel because that is what it has decided we should see? Might it not be enough to just read a headline about it? Or perhaps we don’t need to know about it at all? Clearly there are events the world needs to know about in order to ensure they are not repeated. Had the cameras of one of these relentless news channels been present from the inception of Auschwitz, do you really think that six million would have lost their lives in the Holocaust?

However, having said that, I also insist that it is not necessary that we view as an interminable and incessant daily diet every atrocity, every horror and every painful situation that is taking place across the world. This, in and of itself, will not improve the situation. It is not a question of our viewing these terrible global events in order to improve the world. What is clear, however, is that the more we fill ourselves with this gratuitous, sensationalistic visual information, presented 24/7 if we so desire, we lower our energetic frequency. And the lower it is, the less likely are we to be in the right place inside of ourselves, to be able to lend a hand to begin to change matters.

The better we feel, i.e, the better our feeling state is, the more we are capable of undertaking something positive for the improvement of ourselves, our family, our environment, our neighbourhood, our community, our city, our country, our world. And our feeling state can not possibly be in a good place if we nurture ourselves with information the way it is typically presented in mass media. You may choose to watch news shows less frequently, or perhaps you may choose to read headlines in major newspapers rather than watch detailed programs. You can be very well informed without necessarily going into all of the detail we are supplied with. Be as careful with what you let your eyes observe, and your ears hear, as you are with what you put into your mouth. Feed your brain and your senses intelligently. Be conscious of what you take in, rather than taking in whatever is – and however it is – presented.

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