The way we seem to operate in a dualistic world, whose principle feature is change and whose principle challenge is entropy (the gradual decline from order to disorder), appears to be to maximize pleasure and minimize pain.
If you watch advertisements, for instance, you see the advertiser identifying which products or services help arrest entropy, prevent change, maximize pleasure, and minimize pain. A housewife is tending her young child and running errands. But when she sits down on a park bench and takes a well-deserved rest, what does she do? She takes out a Nutrigrain bar and eats it, with that prized and contrived look of satisfaction on her face. We’re left to associate a Nutrigrain bar with satisfaction, a pleasurable moment taken out from a hectic life.
Advertisements create a list of products and services which become associated in our mind with increasing pleasure, freeing us from pain, and preventing change and entropy.
Movies are a medium in which all action follows the director’s intentions. In one movie, a show girl may be the center of attention, dancing or kicking up her heels in predictable ways expressing the director’s intention to establish certain desirable things about her. In another movie, where she operates as essentially a prop, she walks across the stage and exhibits no characteristics that attract undue attention to herself. In each case she’s behaving in a scripted way to achieve the director’s purpose.
The director feeds us what are essentially stock situations (Irish gangster insults Italians, treats girlfriend roughly, and walks up and down with bravado, attractive woman (natch) doffs hard hat after instructing construction crew, then walks out to dinner with her husband dressed exquisitely, etc.). He or she establishes each type of character as good or bad. The good are then associated with desirable actions, the bad with undesirable actions, and we are left with a stock of people, places, experiences and things deemed to be good and bad, which are then later drawn upon to establish the director’s overall (again contrived) message.
Grasping pleasure, avoiding pain, embracing the good, distancing ourselves from the bad – this is the way our lives are influenced and our minds conditioned at the hands of the mainstream entertainment media.
Psychologist John Enright subtitled his chief work (Enlightening Gestalt) Waking up from the Nightmare. Never mind waking up from the dream. And one aspect of the way in which life is a nightmare these days is that we are worked upon by the entertainment media to arrive at the estimations of good and bad that the owners and manipulators of the media wish us to have.
So Independence Day and V establish that extraterrestrials are heartless predators (much the same as we are towards animals). Many movies associate Muslims with terror, Jews with money-grubbing, Irish with brainlessness, Blacks with anger, and so on. At some unconscious or subconscious level we take on these attributions. And this is the nightmare we’re waking up from.
Not like we knew it, but we’ve lived in a society for the last sixty years whose governing powers (the real ones, that is) set about to strip us of our wealth, power, and influence. You may disagree with me but I don’t think we could have reversed things left to our own devices. We had help and I consider it indispensable.
We’ve been lulled to sleep, fed chemicals through our water supply, had nanotechnology rained down on us, been brainwashed by the media, and so on. We’ve been directed towards pleasurable activities and things like sex, vacations, and intoxicants. We’ve been pushed towards a range of activities, products and services which someone has determined we were to use and consume. An economic order has come more and more to determine what our lives will be about.
And now we’re awakening.
The light levels on the planet are rising in such a way that they cause to bloom feelings that some of us may never have experienced before – real love rather than sexual or romantic attraction, real caring rather than tugs of guilt or sympathy, real happiness rather than simply pleasureable satisfaction.
And I think they’re causing us to tire of the same repetitive ways of grasping a little pleasure in our lives – eating, drinking, making love, etc.
I’m finding that, a lot more these days, I feel a draw to just being quiet. It’s almost as if I’m realizing that the great majority of actions I take in my life are geared towards this endless cycle of desire that the media launch us on. I’m awakening from the endless nightmare of walking round and round the circle of wanting and getting, wanting and getting, which the poet said lays waste our powers.
And just sitting here breathing in the new feelings is the only thing I know how to do right now in the face of the awakening energies.
And this runs counter to all that’s expected of me. The Skype messages pile up, the emails increase, soon the phone will start ringing. And here I am sitting quietly, not following the day’s usual schedule, the TV quiet, ignoring the To Do list.
In this moment, I feel the bliss arise. And I’m simply sitting here, against all my cultural conditioning, all the programed demands, all the force of habit and the push of conventionality – just blissfully waking up from the nightmare.