How The Media Persuades
"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." -Friedrich Nietzsche Theres always a frame around the things we hear, whether it be intentional or unintentional. Take the media, for example. There are only five or six mega corporations that disseminate information to us about what is going on in the world, and really, if you watch much TV, youll see that theyre really not giving out much real news at all. Theres a bottom line to consider and jeopardizing the corporations profitability is not an option. We are a nation of television addicts. According to A.C. Neilsen Co (those are the ratings people), the average American watches more than four hours of television per day. Thats twenty-eight hours a week. Two months out of each year. By the time youre 65, thats nine full years of television. When we watch television the same thing happens to our brains as happens when we hear a story. . . our critical minds shut down and we absorb what the story is saying. In other words, we become passive vessels which allows the whatever message the storyteller wants us to receive to sink into our other than conscious and carry us to where they want us carried. The days of real news, the kind of news that kept us engaged in the world, are over. Instead we have infotainment and celebrity gossip. Could this be happening on purpose? Could the powers that be have taken a hint from Lao-Tzu when he said, "People are difficult to govern because they have too much knowledge." In the grocery store recently I was in line next to a father and daughter. The daughter was probably around seventeen or eighteen, not a kid most definitely. And she was reading a gossip magazine talking about all the celebrities, what they were wearing, when their new perfume was coming out, who was dating whom, etc. She seemed to know an awful lot about all of them. And at one point her father said, Whos the Secretary of State? I suppressed a chuckle. The girl responded with a blank stare. The girl was absolutely unashamed of the fact that she didnt know. Willfully ignorant. What difference does that make in my life? she said. And what does this illustrate? Increasingly, the media diverts our attention from what is truly important and funnels it to starlets in rehab, or sharks off the coast of Florida or who is in rehab. All kinds of things keep us in an altered state so that we dont object very loudly. At the same time that infotainment keeps us numb and uninformed, politics uses the concept of terror to keep us complacent. With a slight of hand, they pass the Patriot Act chiseling away at our civil liberties, but the populace accepts it without much struggle because its keeping us "safe" from "terror". Think of some ways you can use diversion to help in business and sales. And more importantly, think of the ways these persuasion skills can be used to protect yourself from others trying to divert and persuade you.