I believe, there is a translation into “pseudo-reality” of anything or anyone as-soon-as it enters the digital realm and presented on screens. Whether it is human suffering, human achievement, money, the news, courtroom proceedings, or communication – everything stands to lose its value when it is put on display.
Generations of the past who, never had access to the digital technology we have today would have found the medium very powerful. There is no doubt about it. However, there is a misconception about the power of digital media. The power really is in the human mind to “realize” (make real) what is presented. Unless the human mind works extra hard to interpret reality from the digital content, the presentation on a screen is always going to be weaker than the reality. Once the shift has been made to consuming information solely from digital sources instead of real, live events and creatures, the mind is put in a state of living in constant unreality.
The shift to the digital age is a less-talked-of, yet very significant factor in the coming of the post-truth age. While transmission of audio and “realization” of audio is an altogether different phenomenon, a video is already purported to be the reality. A lot of the emotional and spiritual input is from the viewer. It is tiring. The viewer is engaged and yet, there is a very real barrier between the viewer and the event. It is “passive engagement” at best.
Already, much of the world that is connected by digital media and is a regular consumer of such has been transferred to a different mental state. A lot of young people might even find it difficult to make the mental transition from what they see on-screen and what they see in real life.
I have put together a list of reasons why, digital media and communication is altering the mental state of the connected individuals in the world:
- The volume of information: There is simply too much information. A human being would find it hard to understand the underlying pattern, or objective. This can put a person out of tune with attempted propaganda.
- The speed of communication: The speed of communication is instrumental in launching an attack, but the same speed is not useful in preventing the attack. It’s easier to cause damage with such speed than, it is to rectify an error.
- The format of collecting public opinion from those disconnected from the original event, person(s), and place(s): As this happens, the level of engagement and the kind of engagement are limited to the intellectual or academic level. The input is easy to give, but there may be no consequences for such “proxy-participation”.
- The diversity, and even mutually contradictory information available on the same search engine/platform: Too much information, and too little knowledge! We are in the age of information-fueled uncertainty. Behind the scenes, what is shaping information is unknown to anyone. As long as someone has a convincing argument, facts don’t seem to matter to the confused and distressed.
- Multiple views of the same event or person: The persistent sense a lot of thinkers get is, there must be an angle that they are not yet familiar with. So even when someone knows the truth, maybe they don’t know the whole truth!
- A new dimension for the human critical abilities to function within: The digital realm has put the human critical abilities in a different realm. The realm is itself a fusion of reality and fantasy. Sometimes it may become impossible to differentiate real from unreal. This has made people hypercritical, untrusting, paranoid, and simply exhausted. Artificial intelligence, therefore, might be given the job of sifting through big-data to make sense of it.
- Reinterpretation of consequences: As humans give imagined, mental approval and disapproval to issues without having any share in the consequences, the entire meaning of consequences has been altered. For example, in drone-warfare, a person is simply playing a game on a screen while real people are being killed somewhere; but it may take time to make the connection.
- Redefining expectations: The presentation on a screen starts to equate with what is expected. Even if those are hypothetical projections, or clever use of animation, the viewer accepts at least a portion of it. Gradually over time, without awareness, the expectations of people have already been modified. The result is: people are no longer content!
- Putting on a show: Have you noticed actors? Many behaviorally become showmen and unable to turn-off the awareness of someone watching. They create an artificial reality, live in it, become it, and then lose a sense of who they are. So how much is the one to be trusted – the one who is on the other side of the screen, putting on a show!
I wouldn’t waste my time collecting statistics, trying to prove what common sense and observation should already lead us to understand! Digital media and communication has dulled the mind of the connected masses and prepared entire populations for mental submission. The awareness of how a screen affects the relationship between a viewer and the presenter is critical to keeping a sober mind!
The awareness of how a screen affects the relationship between a viewer and the presenter is critical to keeping a sober mind!
Even if we get used to consuming information by the medium (and the barrier) of an electronic screen, it is not a good thing. We will be duller of mind and of understanding. It is not a good thing to get used to.
The presence that has value
In the realm of human activity, the presence of a human or those humans who are given responsibility will have a unique place. Even if Jesus Christ were to appear in human form today and be limited to a webcast, his power would appear greatly diminished. His miracles will look like mere showmanship, and that too, only to fulfill the demands for public entertainment or information. His miracles would not touch us at a spiritual level, or emotional level like they could in the 1st century Jerusalem.
The warning against making and worshiping images is very pertinent even today! Digital projections and imaginations on screens are having a telling effect on the masses. It is easy to see how it has affected human behavior and interaction.
The human mind has become dangerously conditioned already to have a blurred sense of what is real. The danger is, we might be encountering realities and not understanding them for what they are. To let the mind drift without an anchor or direction in the flow of information is not taking us to a desirable place. Those who are aware of the power are, on the other hand, very conscious of what they seek to achieve. Personal awareness is protection!
Personal awareness is protection!