Both a blessing and a curse can the information age be. There is almost no way to live in our modern world without falling into someone’s stream of ideas, willingly or not. Good, bad, bad, good … there is a sea of waves to surf on out there, some of us catching more than others.
‘News’ is broadcast almost everywhere in some format, and information repeating has become a core feature of the modern homo sapiens. You’re reading an example of this right now. Someone’s always chatting, gossiping, worrying, speculating, theorizing, analyzing and considering the events that bind us together. That’s what the news really is, a conversation we have as a group about what we experience as a group, a multiple of our personal communications.
Opposing sides have emerged in the media. There is the old guard, the established corporate crew, known as the ‘mainstream media’ to many. This is the for profit, big business industry occupied by the pundits, execs, billionaires, think-tankers, celebrity hosts, spokespersons, and anchor-robots who are supported by unlimited monetary resources and vast reach. It is an industry scientific in nature and overseen by the watchful eye government and the unseen hand of the powers above government.
Rising in opposition to this monopoly is a new kind of media structure. Lack of corporate and government resources is being overcome by a self-motivated and self-multiplying movement ofindependent journalists, artists and thinkers who are presenting the information and ideas that the mainstream is working overtime to confuse, obfuscate, bury or simply won’t touch.
This media, the ‘alternative’ media, however, has at last achieved significant enough market share in the infowar to challenge the status quo’s scripts. For example, the same script of WMDs and preemptive strikes that worked in 2003 to overcome massive global protest and muster consent for an occupation of Iraq failed for Syria in 2013. This supposedly imminent threat was scuttled in part by the work of very vocal truth-seekers and activists, and just a few weeks later there is nary a mention of Syria coming from big media. We already have new crises to consider.
With such a high volume of info, delivered to so many places in the world in so many new formats, our exposure to different narratives and suggested versions of reality is immense. Yet, amazingly, through the efforts of millions of people worldwide who are working independently of the establishment, a new picture of reality is emerging that better explains why the world is the way it is. There is a critical mass developing of people who are effectively countering the deceit and propaganda that has for so longed pimped fear and emergency as a primary component life on earth today. This new version is quite compelling because it offers more truth, more value, and more usefulness than the establishment message.
In the face of these diametric agendas, one being a message of fear and control, the other a message of independence and love, the individual is offered a choice between two paths: the path of awareness or the path of avoidance. One is a way of being, and the other a way of coping with being. When faced with this choice, as we all are when we encounter the alternative media, we are granted an opportunity to evolve or descend, to engage or retreat.
Avoidance is a coping technique, a psychological device for escaping stressors. It involves adopting behaviors that aim at masking and protecting one’s self from psychological or emotional damage. It is a defense mechanism which leads to annihilation because it requires submission to cognitive dissonance and self-delusion.
Awareness is the condition of alertness, of having knowledge or of being conscious. It requires attention and involvement, and a willingness to pursue connections between ideas and events. It is an example of personal responsibility and a cultivated skill that reflects self-control and care.
Coming from contemporary consciousness, the path of avoidance seems at first to be the easier choice, since it is the path of least resistance in a society that offers distractions and destructions of every variety, glorifying stupidity and ignorance at every level, and of every degree. Our poisons now come in every flavor imaginable, take your pick. To avoid a confrontation between opposing realities we keep our heads down, our voices hushed and our minds closed, consuming ourselves with trivialities and addictions, just waiting to self-destruct. In fact, unconsciously hoping to do so before the storm comes.
In avoidance is where we give up our personal power and collude in our own personal and our collective suffering. This is the place where emptiness demands that we pick a team and play someone else’s game with the vain hope that we’ve chosen the winning team. Avoidance means accepting an illusion in place of the real thing, and the disappearance of meaning and truth.
Choosing the path of awareness most often appears to be the more difficult path to choose, and in some ways it is. It absolutely reveals our flaws, weaknesses and deficiencies, requiring tremendous spirit and resilience. In return we reclaim our power and develop the fortitude needed to approach the hefty challenges we all face together.
Ideas and information have the power to liberate and the power to enslave … or worse. Our choice is in how we adapt to it.
Dylan Charles is a student and teacher of Shaolin Kung Fu, Tai Chi and Qi Gong, a practitioner of Yoga and Taoist esoteric arts, and an activist and idealist passionately engaged in the struggle for a more sustainable and just world for future generations. He is the editor of WakingTimes.com, the proprietor of OffgridOutpost.com, a grateful father and a man who seeks to enlighten and assist others with the power of inspiring information and action. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.