Independent thinking and creativity.

The last post ended with questions about creativity.

Media and public opinion

Media and public opinion

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?

Join the debate, leave a comment.


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  5 comments for “Independent thinking and creativity.

  1. Roberta
    July 23, 2014 at 9:46 am

    Peter, I am SO glad you wrote and published this post. The last few days have me thinking I must be the only one who has thought the mainstream media is nuts. You make me feel normal again. You also make me feel proud.

    Since about 2007 or 2008 I feel like some where along the way I died. And while I was not good enough to go to heaven……..I was not bad enough to go to hell either.

    So I was sent by the Almighty to Purgatory. For those not knowledgeable of the minutia Catholic Theology I offer this brief explanation – Purgatory is a sort of temporary way station, a place to cleanse the soul for those whose life on earth was not bad enough to merit eternal fire and brimstone; yet not quite good enough to merit eternal heaven either. I have to endure the pain of Purgatory to make myself more perfect to meet the Almighty and to go to heaven for eternity.

    That has to be why, that has to be the only logical explanation for why the entire freaking world today seems upside down, inside out, mixed up, nuts, crazy, and unfathomable! I am in purgatory and much suffer this crazy mixed up world until I am pure and can meet my Maker.

    It is bad enough that good quality, well written, well acted, TV shows and movies are pretty much a thing of the past, that there are so few books worthy of my time, that ugly, wrinkled, sloppy has replaced classy clothes, that rude and hate talk between people is now the norm, that speeding on city streets has replaced civil driving, and that waving ‘the finger’ is
    common, among other affronts to civility these days.

    Now I also have to endure this upside down world where we no longer seem to believe in the old cry of “Never Again,” when it comes to our Jewish friends.

    Has everyone forgotten the Holocaust?

    Did people not see two weeks of over 500 rockets a night being shot at Israel?

    Must the Jewish State just take it? Does the Jewish State not have the right to defend itself? And why is America not standing beside Israel during their time of need.

    I could go on and on. But I will spare your readers.

    When did this change in America’s and the world’s attitude toward the right of the Jewish State change?

    I am horrified!

    • July 28, 2014 at 3:41 pm

      Thank you Roberta. I am Anglican, but I know a little of the doctrine of purgatory. Of all the people I know, even if only “virtually”, you would be the last in line for a ticket to purgatory. So set your mind at rest.

      My late father was born in 1914 and was old enough to remember the aftermath of WW1 and experience the build up to and the carnage of, WW2. He told me many times that in those dark days, his generation could not see any reason to hope for the survival of the free world. But they kept hoping, they endured and so did the free world.

      I firmly believe that despite how bleak many things look right now, common sense will prevail and that the pendulum will swing back. That Western leaders (and perhaps some in the East) will find the moral fortitude to make a stand against the tide of evil that is threatening to swamp us.

      However we cannot sit back and hope, we have to make our voices heard. That is what I try to do with my writing and speaking.

  2. Philip Quintas
    July 23, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    Either I do not pay enough attention to “mainstream
    media” to have noticed it’s slant against Israel’s right to defend itself
    as you report in your blog post or I just plain do not care what some ignorant
    pundits have to say about the matter.

    Roberta, I know nothing of Catholic theology, I know Jesus
    Christ. His sacrifice on the cross and subsequent resurrection paid the
    price for the sin of mankind and made it possible for all who accept him as
    Lord and savior to receive eternal life in heaven. You can never be pure
    enough without him and you can never be too impure to receive this gift of
    salvation through him.

    I have not forgotten the Holocaust. The atrocities
    that Hamas perpetuate are awful as are all terrorist activities throughout the
    world. The perpetrators of these horrific and completely unjustified
    attacks on civilians have no one to blame for the death of their children but
    themselves. Defense of the Holy Land by the People Israel is in no way,
    shape or form an act of terrorism. No matter what people on broadcast news
    or social media say, it cannot change the true facts.

    • July 28, 2014 at 3:44 pm

      Thank you for your comment Philip. As in all your writing that I am privileged to read, thoughtful and enlightening words.

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