Sub: World run like a ritual - -the MIND is dead ?
Esteemed Faculty members of Thomson Media Foundation,
Warm Greetings again from the Philosophical non-profit in New Delhi ! We wrote to you once, but, as usual, media institutions proved that they never respond to communications from PEOPLES class !
The MIND is increasingly getting dead and extinct in the world. World is presented to people more like a ritual by the media. A large, wild canvas made out of a thousand smaller pictures - -without any clear identity, direction or sense !
The below write-up was circulated among a dozen top journalism schools in India. But none-of them cared even to send us an acknowledgment !
The most prestigious of media institutions in the world - your own foundation- was also not different in this regard.
That is why we feel that it is time to write OBITUARY for the MIND organ of man ! It is dead, or getting non-existent. People are more or less turning face-less pieces in the institutions that they belong to. Hence, no mind -to - mind contact is thought to be NORMAL behavior. Only when people communicate as SPIRIT of their institution, it has any value !
We once again politely request your brilliant minds to go through what our Philosophic insight is trying to convey to the members of the media institutions in the world.
Conscience of the Society - A philosophic non-profit engaged in initiatives into re-visiting foundational principles of Democracy and media
A Circular communication sent to top Journalism Schools in India ( March 2012)
Kind attn: Sr. Faculty members
From: firstname.lastname@example.org To: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com Subject: Will the top Journalism schools in the country consider following philosophical suggestions for enriching their syllabus ? Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2012 07:35:39 +0000
Kind attn: Principal, and Dean of the top journalism schools
Warm Greetings from 'Conscience of the Society', a philosophic non-profit based in Delhi that stands for CAUSES of Reason, and that of a reinvented democracy and media !
We, with our traditional trait of going at the fundamentals of issues to understand it better, feel that modern world is bereft of a central CONSCIENCE chiefly due to a democracy that has turned 100% a political drama, and media, with its enormous power to define world's priorities, have become a primary tool for the drama of the said politics to enact itself !
No agency ( education, civil society, opinion leaders . . .) in the world can get the political drama abandoned,or at least reformed because it wields POWER, and institutionalized political authority. Secondly, the only institution that is institutionally said to be representing PEOPLES VOICE, and DEFENDERS of DEMOCRACY , the media, as mentioned above, remain as the chief vehicle for the enactment of the said drama !
Hence, modern word, and most importantly the future world can not think of reinventing the lives of people with out first getting media to reinvent itself.
Will you allow us to out line the chief points,and the areas where we think media can reinvent itself, in the spirit of sharing of minds in open societies ?
1) The most acclaimed role of media by one and all is their role as MESSENGERS. A messenger for every one. By being messengers for every party, media feel they are achieving 'objectivity', that is impartial emergence of truth. They do not take any one's side, or any particular stand. They are just spectators like in a game of sports, as often cited by Mr.Vinod Mehta, one of the doyens of Indian media. As privileged spectators, media men might be treated at the front row seats to watch the show, often rubbing shoulders with the high and mighty in the government. But, they are expected to calm their nerves,and just report the show with utmost professional impartiality.
Here the problem is, truth is not merely being neutral. It has a distinct and clear path, direction, and serenity. Its sanctity lies in, as mentioned by Greek Historian Thucydides while describing democracy of his time during the famous funeral function of King Pericles the Great,: those unwritten laws whose sanction lies only in the universal feeling of what is right....'
Every person is blessed with this mystery 'universal sense' of what is right. During the declaration of the famous bill of rights,the American freedom fighters also mentions the same universality of such feeling: ' We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal and they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights…such as Life, Liberty and pursuit of happiness’
We commonly call this mystery sense as 'sense of reason of man'. We stand for the argument that media men can not ignore this universal sense of 'reason' while trying to achieve 'objectivity' and 'impartial messenger-ship' while reporting news and stories of the world.( our dedicated findings on 'Reason' and reasoning can be seen at blog link: http://philosopherskorner.blogspot.in/ )
Truth can not be at the side of every party. Hence. while quoting versions of every party involved in an incident and story, media men can not ever think of projecting truth, and direct men of the world into the much required rational directions. Such reporting will not serve to sanitize minds, but only increase its wilderness !
Currently this sense of reason applies only to compliance of an act, thought or stand of a person, a group, an institution or the state, with his/their/its popularly believed, or declared universal bottom premises of the respective party. For example, if a government's act, policy or stand is found opposite, or inconsistent with such declared bottom tenets of the constitution, or traditions, or that of the 'universal sense of what is right' in such situations, media-men become morally bound to question such act, stand and policy instead of blindly report the news 'objectively', touching neither here,nor there.
Such act of reporting then becomes a ploy to escape accountability, and any kind of responsibility ! It implies to give a kind of wild freedom to the media profession, leaving the world and people to their fates. It is equal to leaving the world orphaned. It is equal to taking the stand that 'we have nothing to do with any particular direction of the world', or that of human civilization. We are only professional messengers, and passive witnesses of events. Our professional,or traditional job is just to bring out stories on the actual happenings in the world. To offer it any rational direction, or sound any warning signal is not our job'!
2) The psychological reality of 'world' acting as a canvas for men to carve out their selves
The above role of media would have been acceptable if all men were highly rational beings, capable of drawing the right conclusions from the various media reports and stories, and modern governments in the world existed singularly for ensuring man's freedom, equality and his individual dignity, and carrying mankind further ahead in the path of improved human civilization, following its past traditions and intelligible paths that it has traveled so far. As every one will agree, modern democracy has become a convenient tool in the hands of our politicians of the time, to capture the political throne of power and authority, with least concern for the above mentioned pious missions and goals. It is primarily a different genus of game, wherein welfare of man, and progress of human civilization is an alien goal as far as the priorities of the game of politics is concerned. Therefore, a stand of media on the above lines would not only worsen the situation, and derail the course of life of man, but also help the political class to enact their game with an air of diabolic legitimacy. When media, the declared defenders of democracy is there in the scene with the above 'report only mission', such reports indirectly provide them with a kind of transparency and legitimacy as said above.
The above paragraph was about the freedom and legitimacy that media offers to the political class. A more severe result of such passive reporting of the world by media is the emergence of the world as a distinct category, and a parallel reality for men to react to. Ego always require an 'other' to build-up its entity against. It has no identity of itself. Egos will always use the existing world image as a canvas to picture themselves in it, and draw their entities. This is an existential feature of the ego entity of man. Here, the world created by the media acts as a 'collective' other for the ego to react to, and build its entity. Its directionless features, and its wilderness directly affect the egos of men. They tend to develop sense of stranded-ness and alienation. Sense of 'impersonal' would prevail around lives. Thus,the quality of lives of men is determined by the quality of the world around them !
3) The dogmatic belief of media profession in their above role in society
If any one attempts to convince the underworld don Dawood Ibrahim about the anti-social nature of his profession, can he simply accept it and reform himself ? Or, will such talks would succeed in getting a professional prostitute to abandon her trade, and join the mainstream? NO. Their occupations have become so incorrigibly institutionalized, and become their way of life, and part and parcel of the ways of the world too, that such attempts will be counted as foolishness from every angle ! They will argue that such professions are as old as the history of man itself, and the world would be incomplete without their existence. Very similar is the case of media ! If some one ask them to introspect on the rationale of running their profession, the answer would be on the above lines ! It is so old a profession, that it has turned an institution it self in the world ! It has become an important PILLAR, or an 'estate' ( the 4th estate) in the modern political system !
Despite the fact that media consists the world's best educated men engaged in the profession, such talks on the rationale of the profession would be sheer blasphemy to their ears ! A leading faculty member of a prestigious journalism school in India has already wrote to me quoting the 100 years existence of the media tradition to argue his point.
We can allow all the other institutions to argue against questioning their bottom dogmas and beliefs, but we can not allow the media to so, because its is run by the world's best and brightest minds ! They should be open to review their bottom beliefs and dogmas every time !
4) The unrecognized power of choosing news and stories, and the more central aspect of allocating relevance to news by media:
While narrating a story, media attempt to give versions of every one to achieve 'objectivity' as seen above. But when it comes to the selection of stories and news, the absolute subjective choice of media men comes to fore-front. It is this crucial freedom that goes into making a world that media wants ! There may not be any intentional plot, but the general mind-set of media profession comes to play a determining role here.
Trade compulsions of the industry who are media's bread and butter providers ( with regard to advertisement income )and even as 'masters' with regards to many of the media houses today, and the pressure from the establishment for not crossing their path in any way etc. go into making the above very peculiar world view of the media men. Hence, truth, and plain Reason can never remain the sole determining factor while selecting the stories and news !
The gross neglect of the media in not projecting the 'OCCUPY WALL STREET' agitation in the right perspective, was the chief theme in the non-mainstream media in the recent past all over the world. Such large scale black-outs can even deter the course of history, as what appear in the main steam media is one of the chief sources for historians to assess the course of history.
For conscientious men of the world, such black-outs are like strangling the mankind - -keeping them mum with force. They have no platform to react ! The former has the exclusive control over the VOICE of the world !
An allegation that media did not play their moral role in depicting the Holocaust with deserving importance is appearing in books and journal articles throughout the world these days. Though there appeared about a 1000 different stories in the 'New York times', the leading paper of that time, all the stories were tucked in the inner pages. General public, or even the US government itself got to know the scale of atrocity very late ! This allegation shows the power of allocating relevance to news, events and stories by media. What media do not cover does not exist for the world ! Your own senior Media man Ted Koppel said it emphatically:" whatever happens outside or beyond the scrutiny of television simply does not exist "
A more serious allegation that appeared recently was that, it was IBM that had provided data processing support to Hitler for his systematic annihilation of Jews ! He came to know about 'EUGENIC' - a secret biological mission that emerged in USA in the 1st 2 decades, to eliminate races other than the pure white Nordic race from America. He got in touch with its perpetrators, mainly its corporate partners like IBM, and even the Rock Feller Foundation, seeking assistance for his similar sinister schemes. It is said that during the prewar years, American eugenicists even openly supported Germany's program. The Rockefeller Foundation financed the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute and the work of its central racial scientists !
Can any one believe that such horrific things happened in the so called modern world even when an OPEN MEDIA institution existed here ? Even today, media can not keep their palms on the heart and declare that if such incidents happen again, they will stand against all odds, and stand unequivocally for the cause of mankind, and that of human civilization ? Probably No, as there is nothing in their fundamental vows of the profession, that would compel them for taking such a firm and clear stand !
They of course have succeeded in creating the image of a transparent and open world, but their reporting "everyone's opinion...regardless of substance and merit" ( Ted Koppel) and "communicate with everyone and say absolutely nothing" ( again Ted Koppel) gives the end result of widespread intellectual wilderness. In the such created cruel wilderness, injustices and deprivation of the freedom of men happen everywhere. A central world 'conscience' is thus absent in the world, as its slot is occupied by the world media without any substance and relevance !
Why I write these long lines to the journalism schools ?
You may naturally wonder why I write such 'mad' letters unsought to the journalism schools ! Because, it is more advantageous to write to you than writing to individual media leaders, (they are products of your schools, unable to move an inch from the dogmas taught ) political leader ( they are mere consumers of the evils of an institution that we people had created for them) or intellectual leaders ( the world for them your creation )
If whatever I have conveyed goes into your sense of Reason, and then your professional associations decide to hold meetings and seminars to amend your syllabuses a bit, to include these new lines too, there are ample chances that future journalism students come out into the world to serve mankind and people a bit differently. The vows of future journalists can include ' unequivocally standing to represent mankind's sense of Reason' in the world. Hope I have succeed in explaining clearly, what does it mean to 'represent mankind's sense of reason' in the above paragraphs.
We have few dedicated blogs that handle these central themes, especially the one I had prepared as per advice of Sh.Murali, the director of the 'Chennai Press Institute' . After a few e.mail interactions, he had asked me to prepare a write-up on' CONTENT RELEVANCE TO PEOPLE' on media reporting. But after seeing what I have prepared, I heard nothing more from him ! It could be that, what I have depicted was a bit excessively outspoken.
I started this mission of communicating with media men some 2 decades ago. There was no e.mail during those fays, hence I used to fax frequently to all the major news paper editors on the above lines. You can verify this claim from Mr.Vikram Rao, one of the present members of PCI.
Besides the above referred blog, I have posted many of my communications with media leaders in the country ( Vir Sanghvi, Barkha Dutt, Rajdeep Sardesai, Sagarika Ghose, Arnav Goswmi ) and editors of HIndu, HT and IE) at links : http://mailtomrvirsanghvi.blogspot.in/
I apologize for this excessively long communication ! Hope you being educational institutions, the ideas proposed will be taken up in the right spirit, and will be shared among all the faculty members and policy making directors in the respective institutions.
I politely seek valued comments from all of you !
Conscience of the society - A philosophic non-profit that stand for causes of Reason, and a reinvented democracy and media