Technological evolution has installed life with machinery indispensable to our modern existence. An original metamorphosis catalysed community hearsay into printed parchment; after a prolonged, solitary period radio waves began communicating across the sky; within a generation sound was matched with pictures and voila, The Television, your new family member! T.V loitered atop the information provider pedestal until the late 20th century as the Internet began global metastasis. By mid 00’s every one was online and new information avenues helped us become more engaged and completely neurotic.
Although thriving, it isn’t until Jobs drops the communicable iPod that the Internet’s influence really surges. As pockets were laden with iPhones social media cemented itself into society’s psyche, suddenly everyone possessed tailored content wherever they went. The Internet continues to elongate and as it stretches further from source objective, providing information and knowledge to the people, the closer it aligns with the ubiquitous quest for digital capital.
The Rush for Ratings
In our world most people only read personalized content from their customized screens. With less reading and more liking the timeless paperback has lost prevalence.
The deterioration of reading as a hobby began during the rise of television. The written word still held stout primacy, yet it soon become evident that the talking screen captivated a much larger, more sedated audience. In the early days public broadcasting channels earnestly delivered news to citizens and disseminated information beneficial to community cohesion, however as satellites extended selection news stations emerged and the ever-encompassing ratings battle overrode integrity. To increase viewer retention news anchors and journalists, at the encouragement of T.V stations, began invoking the fear instinct in audiences in attempt to increase viewership.
What once helped our ancestors survive was systematically used, and still is used, to beguile the audience into anxiety and keep them watching. For over a generation the news has been a foundational part of people’s understanding and their aptitude for providing content on current affairs cannot be denied, yet it can’t be denied either that material offered is always shaped at the interests of funders.
Presently on the tube it’s difficult to find an information source that’s main priority isn’t viewership, the word of CNN or FOX is practically invalidated by the numerous tactics used to nurture bias. With the ability to relay events to the public news outlets mould occurrences how they want them to be seen, spouting choreographed versions of truths while hiding behind a veil of legitimacy.
If people are only privy to one-sided reports a community will divide into what individuals expose themselves to. As Jim Morrison spoke, “Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.”
A Shift of Saliency
While the mainstream media anchors itself in television new platforms are consistently arising for people to both source and spread material. In the modern era the superlative source for information and entertainment is the the Internet. 24-hour access provides endless hours of content for immediate knowledge extension, however sifting through the extensive fields of fallacy it’s often difficult to acquire what’s desired.
A major shift from the origins of online to now is the development of social media and the impinging urge to create digital capital; what once used to be a tool to connect has morphed into a salient virtual reality. Social media has become a primary platform for the latest information and media outlets have altered orientation towards digital modes as degeneration of their tangible product continues.
Fabrication and falsehood are bountiful throughout the social media realm and click bait ensures more sensationalistic stories continue to sprout. Accompanying the incessant stripping of attention spans algorithms track users predilections and propagate sponsored content to them, communication becoming a furnace for fiery bias. Objectivity is essential to critical thinking and if one only sees what they agree with their ability to appreciate alternate perspectives atrophies, in turn when they are exposed to conflicting views a near allergic-like reaction is recurrent.
Social media allows individuals to voice their views on anything they feel necessary, the power to simultaneously interact with numerous people inducing pretension in even the most ill-informed. Rather than pursuing the advancement of one’s own intellect it’s more common for individuals to apply tunnel vision towards the next like, inspection into validity not required if content conveys their intention.
When digital information transporters are used candidly they become avenues for education and understanding, yet with fiction overtly overriding fact it is as Emily Dickinson wrote, “The truth is so rare it is a delight to tell it.”
Embracing the Light of Genius
For children and youth of today paperbacks appear more as indications of forced instruction than a route to escapism, yet an interest in literature is enduringly auspicious to a creative and informed life.
Being at the forefront of time we have all the material engendered hitherto at our disposal. What’s routinely neglected is our ancestors didn’t make YouTube videos or blog posts, rather they inked their ideas into history leaving a treasure trove of thought.
One of the ancient signs of intellect is proficiency in reading and writing. Countless great minds have used word as their medium to convey concepts and their notions have been essential to expansion of contemplation. In our advanced society the attitude towards reading has become less favourable, and although books are still bolstered by a thinking minority, the fact it’s more common to hear “What’s trending?” than “What are you reading?” indicates what occupies the public zeitgeist.
Descartes expressed his admiration for the written word and the enlightening advantages he saw in having a conversation with brilliant minds of the past. What makes books so enchanting is the perennial offer of a personal encounter with fantastic thinkers, they act as transporters syncing one’s consciousness with the authors to bequeath an alternate perspective of reality. The greats of history have provided humanity with diverse interpretations of life – how it was, how it is and how one should live in it. For those wanting to pull back the blinds of ignorance and embrace the light of genius the book store is bathed in potent sunbeams.
Novels may not deliver the latest information but they do enable better interpretation of novel occurrences, an ability to think critically and identify patterns enhancing competence. The greats remain alive in their work and allow the trivialities of modern life to be seen naked. If one spends less time compulsively scanning a screen and more developing reading as a skill the heat of intellect will grant warmth in a world gone cold.
As the rate of technology continues to grow there has been an adverse affect on the appreciation for truth and legitimacy – while timeless classics remain on shelves viewership primacy carols us towards fleeting affairs. No time in history has had the availability of resources we do, but it is up to individuals to use instruments for their benefit and avoid becoming slaves to their toys.
The legacy of the greats is left in their work and those willing to dive in will swim in intellectual tides with quality company. With the grandeur of reality waiting to be explored it seems folly not to accept the advice of worldly giants.
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