Human life is messy, and human beings even more so. Working out our “stuff” together is no easy feat. And it’s made no easier by the flood of all kinds of information into our minds, too much of which pollutes our internal lives rather than edifying our personal existence.
The powerful tsunami of junk info we face daily comes in the forms of advertisements, which are pervasive, continual, and overwhelmingly manipulative. And ads are so commonplace that we forget that a constant tide of messaging is a relatively new aspect of the human experience.
Though ads have accelerated since the post war consumerist boom — and were present in a weaker form at least as far back as the mid-19th century — prior to that commercial messages were nearly nonexistent for the vast number of peoples and cultures. The average person of the Middle Ages, Renaissance or Enlightenment might go a whole lifetime without seeing any messaging directed toward manufactured desire — you know, toward “you must buy this special thing because you’re ugly/stupid/inadequate in some way and getting this magic whatever will make it all better.”
But today’s people are a different breed.
It’s all “good”
We’re not only subsumed by an endless barrage of advertising. We’re also subject to fad thought, lens thought (ie., only “X” is the proper lens through which to view a particular thing), and plenty of theories, “expert” prescriptions, and commonly held views. Perhaps the worst of these is a broad and unquestioned acceptance of capitalism’s worst offenses as virtues, namely consumerism as the pinnacle of human development and realization.
No, it’s not
Breaking out a critical stance against such junk thought are Micah White (of AdBusters fame) and the Smart Bubble Society based in Toronto, which is, according to its website, “a not-for-profit motion graphic studio that promotes social justice, self-education and critical awareness.”
They teamed up on the animated video short “Junk Thought,” which offers a brief history into the notion of pollution — its earlier etymology and its place in our consciousness (or lack of conscience) today.
In about three minutes, the video manages to capture a key element in much of today’s underlying malaise — that our materialist view of the world causes us to externalize the concept of pollution, forgetting that our hearts, minds, and souls are also subject to a degradation which itself affects our external views.
I think you’ll like it.
With any luck, we’ll all begin to embrace a shift in thinking away from the materialism inimical to our times toward a stance that is at once more immediate, palpable, human scale, grounding and integrated and yet broader, transpersonal, and uniting.
Anyway, a girl can dream. You can see the video here.
–Lindsay Curren, Lindsay’s List