Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Media Frenzy

Our endless mediated experience provides our minds with unprecedented stimulation. With Web, RSS, YouTube, television, radio, and print competing for our awareness, entertainment and entrainment are never far from our grasp. This deluge of information can be freeing, allowing the transmission of important information, enabling faster scientific research and fostering activism and social interaction.

The downside of this overflowing media buffet is the ease with which this media can induce a form of hypnosis on the consumer. It is so much easier to passively receive the streams of information, than to engage in more active synthesis and creative process. Even when using these new tools and media for creative expression, a quick perusal of YouTube or Technorati will show you that the majority of user generated content falls into the Bread and Circuses category. While mainstream politics occupies a significant component of the signal, it is basically reduced to noise by the inane directions in which the popular focus is steered.

Is this misdirection a Machiavellian ruse promulgated by elite puppetmasters, or a byproduct of the information overload the modern mind is presented with? Are we being programmed, or is human nature bound to obsession with celebrity, sex, and stupid jokes? These are central Fringe questions. Conspiracy theorists, skeptics, paranoids, and the disinterested may each bring an interesting perspective to the table. How do we find threads of meaning, importance, and mindfulness in the crashing waves of media confronting our minds?

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