The last post ended with questions about creativity.
Lets start with more questions that at first glance do not appear related but in reality have a lot to do with our thinking processes, our values and our view of the world and creativity.
Do the media direct or reflect public opinion? Or do public opinion, vested interests or some shadowy group of conspirators influence the content and bias of the media?
Has the elevation of social media into the role of primary information channel (s) for millions of people improved or worsened, the accuracy of reporting on major events?
Has the age of political correctness complicated all the above?
What has that to do with creativity?
If we as individuals are conditioned by biased news reporting to follow the herd and adopt views that in different circumstances, would be contrary to our core beliefs, we have succumbed to subtle influences in one area that may well affect our ability to think critically in others. By adopting the popular view of something relatively unimportant today without using our own process of discernment, we come a step closer to the same easy acceptance of something a little more important tomorrow.
That is how propaganda campaigns are waged, until as in Nazi Germany, Communist Russia, Serbia or Rwanda millions of otherwise normal, decent people accepted that horrendous atrocities and mass murder were not only necessary, but to be encouraged and supported.
That is the extreme end of the process, however we are seeing it playing out yet again in the treatment of Israel by liberals in the West.
The fact that it was not Israel that started the latest round of fighting in the Gaza strip is lost in the attention of the media and politicians on “disproportionate” casualties in Gaza. Israel’s greater crime seems to be that it has set up defensive systems to protect its citizens and has not suffered hundreds of casualties like the unfortunate victims in Gaza who are being used as human shields by Hamas.
Yes, as a victim of terrorism myself, I am a supporter of Israel, I admire the Israeli Defence Force’s restraint in trying to minimise civilian casualties in Gaza even though it exposes its own troops to higher risks and greater numbers of casualties. I respect Israel’s right to defend itself, and I am old enough to remember that if not for its determination to survive, it would have been destroyed in any of the many wars started and lost by its enemies since 1948.
Leaving aside my personal views, it is still inconceivable that any one living in a Western democracy can be so heavily influenced by the anti Israeli reporting in the main stream and social media. But of course, graphic photos of dead Palestinian children have far greater impact than those of Israeli children who are surviving because Israel keeps them safe in bomb shelters not at risk as human shields around rocket storage dumps.
It is stranger still that the relatively minor and fully justifiable efforts by Israel to defend itself attract more attention and condemnation than the rapid advance of the ISIS forces taking over much of Iraq and a chunk of Syria. The proclaimed aim of that murderous group is to establish a caliphate which could threaten Turkey, parts of the Balkans and Eastern Europe. It has far more serious consequences for the West than Israel’s efforts to defend itself. The opposite, Israel not defending itself and risking the annihilation sought by Hamas and others is something the West should worry about.
That is an example of how we can be influenced at the global level.
If you are a Palestinian supporter and arrived at that position after careful consideration of the facts, that is your prerogative in a free society. If however you are just going with the flow and allowing your mind to be made up by plaintive stories of “disproportionate casualties” then you need to ask if you are making your own mind up in other parts of your life. Or are you surrendering your thinking process to social media?
The danger to our creativity, our powers of discernment, our ability to lead happy and successful lives comes from the same inference in the media that anything other than group think is anti social, discriminatory, racist, intolerant or just plain bad. Too many people are afraid to voice their original thoughts.
That’s not an environment for encouraging creativity and it is not a constraint that the great innovators of the past tolerated.
Neither should you.
Can you think for yourself? Use discernment before blindly following the herd?
graphic courtesy of Artvex.com