brain is a powerful pattern-seeking device, always looking for
meaningful patterns and associations between the information it is
receiving and what is already stored. The brain can even use
co-incidences to create or discover patterns. It simplifies what it
finds and reports the info to us as if it was a story.
is the unfolding story that the brain tells itself about its own
existence. But the brain is aware of much more sensation than what it
weaves into the story of the "now" for each person. That story may
interweave with events that happened previously as well as events that
might happen in the future, but the "now" is the story of consciousness
at each moment.
and avoidance is essentially about avoiding danger and
finding food and a suitable mate. But the higher brain function also helps us in
dealing with more transcendent themes. There are
those with transcendent causes
who dedicate themselves to a sense of honor, a life of courage, and a
commitment to something greater than themselves.
transcendent cause must be truly heroic, timeless, and supremely
meaningful.” - Robert Lewis
According to Daniel Kahneman there are two concepts of happiness. In a presentation on TED TALKS he referred to a story about a man who attended a
concert of beautiful music, which he enjoyed very much. But at the very
end there was a horroble screeching sound. The man said it had ruined
the experience for him. This points out that there are two distinct
parts to our experiences: the experiencing self and the remembering
Memory delivers a story for us. How this story turns out
is often about its ending. The experiencing self lives its life
continuously from moment to moment, and most of these moments are lost
after a few seconds or minutes. So they are not transferred into long
term memory, and are ignored by the remembering self. Yet, in a
sense, these moments are our life in real time.
the remembering self is the one that makes the decisions. We
actually don't choose between experiences, we choose between memories
of experiences and anticipated memories. There is a kind of tyranny of the remembering self, because it chooses whatever seems less bad. And
actually we make future plans in the service of the remembering self.
Industrialization has changed everything profoundly and rapidly, and the pace of change continues to accelerate. Stress levels
are increasing along with increasing population, and complexities of the
environment, and the economy. Many people are dealing with health issues
complicated by addictions, violence, pollution, inadequate nutrition,
and more. About half of the population is expected to get cancer and
one-third to have diabetes.
A toxic lifestyle significantly
contributes to poor health and various disorders, causing body and mind
to function less than optimally. Low energy, frequent or chronic
sickness, irritability, allergies, trouble sleeping and mood problems
are only a few symptoms. Bad air and water are also big factors,
and soil depletion means food quality is seriously declining. Compounding the problem most of us eat
highly processed or fast food which is usually grown with pesticides
and herbicides, and likely preserved, colored, and flavored with
synthetic chemicals, and high sugar, salt, an fat content. The brain is particularly susceptible to toxic chemicals,
heavy metals, and inadequate nutrition.
Factory food is
ever more likely to be irradiated, or laced with antibiotics, synthetic
growth hormones, pesticides, and diseased animal parts, stimulants and even tranquilizers .
Also, we are continually exposed to toxic household cleaners, skin care
and body products made from chemicals, chlorinated and fluoridated
water, and tens of thousands of untested synthetic chemical and plastic
Most people don't even get much
exercise, and readily turn health responsibility over to insurance
companies, HMOs, and conventional doctors who may have had little or no
education about stress or nutrition. Which leaves the use of
prescription drugs as the only option available.
In the U.S about 77 % of people regularly experience physical or psychological symptoms caused by
stress. Psychological therapy, empathy, and love have too often been replaced by
drugs. Over 60 million Americans are prescribed tranquilizers each year
for anxiety and sleep disorders. After using the drugs, many users find that they can’t
achieve happiness and relaxation without tranquilizers, and they become dependent
on the substance. That helps explain why Pharmaceuticals Rank as The Most Profitable Industry,
and are some of the most influential and richest companies in the
world. The annual turnover in the pharmaceutical industry for
prescription drugs is estimated to be worth 700 billion dollars - or $
100 for each person on earth!
Even with a prescription,
tranquilizers are not recommended for long-term use. Addiction
rates are soaring. Millions of tranquilizer addicts exist in our world
today. This potentially dangerous class of drugs used to induce states
of relaxation and feeling of artificial tranquility. The National
Institute on Drug Abuse identified Barbiturates—a type of
tranquilizer—as a factor in approximately one-third of all reported
some extent, toxic living is a lifestyle choice. But
the problem is hugely complicated by a whole paradigm based on
synthetics. Multinational corporations, governmental agencies, medical
authorities, and the media combine to expose us to various harmful
chemicals, and drugs prescribed to manage resultant conditions,
creating even more toxicity and disease.
We are hard wired to
continually scan the environment for any threat of danger. Anything in
that category gets our immediate attention and automatically takes
priority over other sensory input. People who create movies and TV
shows know a lot about how to use this to their advantage because
advertising companies have spent big bucks on research about how to get
your attention and sell stuff.
The media is very negative. Perhaps you have noticed that as TV screens get bigger
they also get noisier and more violent. The idea is to keep you riveted
so you can't look away, just like when there is a car wreck, and
traffic slows way down to do some gawking. But this has led to an toxic
competition of "can you top this?" Sensationalism and gratuitous violence
has run amuk. Research indicates that media violence has not
just increased in quantity; it has also become more graphic, sexual,
writes that much modern violence stems from peoples' alienation
from their societies and from their sense of common humanity. And an
antidote to alienation might be a positive response to contemporary violence.
Not only is there a lesser focus on objective
journalism in favor of a profit motive, but is also dominated by a type
of editorial bias in which events and topics in news stories and pieces
are dramatically over-hyped to increase viewership or readership numbers. This media
violence is desensitizing the mind to violence and leads to more
real-life violence. The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that by
age 18, the average American child will have viewed about 200,000 acts of violence
on television alone.
people think that violent media have no effect because they’ve never
killed anyone after watching a violent TV program or film or after
playing a violent video game. Of course violent media isn’t the only
thing people enjoy that might harm them. There are many other examples,
such as French-fries, chocolates and other unhealthy food, alcohol,
tobacco, and street drugs. Researchers have consistently found that
people believe the media have a much stronger effect on others than on
themselves—called the third-person effect. People may also believe that
media violence may affect some “susceptible” people (e.g., the mentally
ill), but it will not affect them personally. But hundreds of studies conducted over several decades have shown that violent media are in fact harmful.
"A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself." - Joseph Pulitzer
In America. Rarely does the public gain a glimpse of how tightly
controlled is the entire media establishment. 6 Corporations Control 90% Of The Media. Hollywood, the
television industry, big-time sports, and the commercial publishing
houses are mostly run by the same few people. Concentration of media
ownership (also known as media consolidation
or media convergence) is a process whereby progressively fewer
individuals or organizations control increasing shares of the mass
media. All of the media industries experienced significant corporate
reorganization, beginning in the 1980s, as they became concentrated under the
ownership of fewer and fewer companies.
the same course that virtually every other major industry has in the
last two decades, a relentless series of mergers and
corporate takeovers has consolidated control of the media into the
hands of a few corporate behemoths. "The result has been that an
increasingly authoritarian agenda has been sold to the American people
by a massive, multi-tentacled media machine that has become, for all
intents and purposes, a propaganda organ of the state." -David McGowan
The top one percent
of the population now own about 40% of all wealth in the US, including
half of the country's stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. The top five
percent own an
additional 29%. The Institute for Policy
Studies illustrates this massive disparity in financial investment
ownership, noting that the bottom 50 percent of Americans own only .5
percent of these investments. Only 147 Companies Control Everything (Forbes). In fact, only one percent owns half the world.
weapon of media silence....An iron curtain has been drawn in front of
Western audiences who are maintained in a state of ignorance about
important current events.... Manlio Dinucci
And as a result, their operations have been almost totally deregulated
which has allowed media conglomerates to become even bigger Goliaths. They've been
given substantial public assets at no cost and with few obligations to
the public. Because a vigorous and vigilant media is essential to a
democracy, Bill Moyers has devoted significant reporting time not only
to press coverage of specific issues, but also to ways in which media's
impact and journalistic power have been diluted by media consolidation,
government deregulation. Moyers and others believe that "Dollarocracy"
America through a lethal combination of big money and big media which
is sabotaging our elections and government in general. Big Business Has
Taken Control of the U.S. Government.
The Tyranny Of The Remembering Self
works on a subconscious level. When the brain
doesn't find a conscious pattern we're just "going by our gut,"
unconsciously. There are so many stressors and global
problems that as individuals the temptation to despair may become
Avoidance is instinctual self-preservation, while
approach is learned, except for the basics such as food and sex. Happiness and well being
are very different. The remembering self is narrow minded and only
wants happiness. But the experiencing self is better able to be
objective. The problem is that in today's world there is much to be
What ordinary consciousness does is to act
as our guide through time and space, telling us what to approach and
what to avoid. But conscious is more than just combining bits and
bytes of data like a computer, because it also integrates emotion and
even intuition. Higher consciousness or "mindfulness" is where we begin
to become aware of consciousness itself. This shift into higher
consciousness is helpful in learning what makes us happy or unhappy.
As an alternative to escaping reality, mindfulness
is a state of active, open attention to the present. When you're
mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings
without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you
by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.
Mindfulness has various approaches, but a good start is to unplug or better manage media intrusion into your personal serenity.
we focus on the endless problems of the world, our sense of being
overwhelmed can immobilize us. But rather than seeking to escape
reality, we need to find a positive approach. The more negativity we
experience, the more we need a coping strategy. If we take baby steps, we begin to move forward again.
Avoid negativity (especially in the media) - it only drags you down.
Look for what is right, not for what is wrong.
Practice optimism and hope.
Experience positive emotions fully and show some self-compassion.