Are You Aware How Much the Media “Feeds” Your Thoughts?
In a globally interdependent world, only mutual guarantee (give what you can and receive what you need) can provide sustainable success. In order to achieve this success, society’s values must change in a way that appreciates and supports mutual cooperation.
In addition, though, to contemplating the value of mutual guarantee—thus increasing its “popularity”—society must also contemplate ways of inculcating mutual guarantee through action. One such possibility would be to bring many experts—such as Christakis, Fowler, and other professors—under an umbrella organization that would promote mutual guarantee through the education system, the media, and popular entertainment. Professionals in every field would give expression to this new value system in a way that is similar to how musicians and filmmakers operate today.
People consume different kinds of media, entertainment, and information. Nearly everyone already knows what they like to watch and read, and where they like to go. Some people like to watch TV at home, some prefer the gym, and others gather in bars. Some don’t like TV at all, but spend time surfing the Internet for information and entertainment. This is okay. All of those preferences may remain, but what does need to change—gradually—is the kind of content these outlets present.
Currently, our media put out a wealth of information, most of which we are not even aware that we are consuming. We simply enjoy reading or watching media content without thinking too much about it. Within the media industry, however, are people whose jobs are to entice us to “buy” their product or content; meaning, to implant their views or desires into our minds and way of thinking. Obvious examples of this are advertisers who push one product or company over another; for example, content that conveys the thought that without the newest gadget in the market, our lives are not worth living. Although such messages are false, they nonetheless sink into our minds and work on us—even if subconsciously—until we buy the advertised item or swallow the advertised view.
Now, consider what would happen if the media “sold” us on connection and mutual responsibility instead of redundant products or hidden agendas. What would happen if our minds were “fed” the idea that we are all interconnected and that hurting others is just like hurting yourself? What would our world be like if everyone adopted the motto: “If you’re not good to others, then you’re no good”?
Education About Connection Is the Wave of the Future
There’s more to this, though, than changing our media; for example, our educational system must also change. Consider this: If our schools taught “Connectivity Classes” and our universities offered a major in “practical interconnectedness”—or at least provided “prosocial networking” coaching to individuals and company staffs, a whole new social atmosphere and a new buzz of connectedness would emerge. Within a few months, people would come to feel that there was a genuine alternative to self-centeredness, one that offers greater real-life value at a lower cost.
If this indeed were the case, everything would change. Instead of ordering and controlling others, idea sharing would be the way to connect with co-workers and peers at school. Personal tests at schools and universities would become obsolete, because a person’s skill would not depend on the ability to memorize answers; rather, one’s value would reflect the extent of one’s connection, on the level to which channels of information have connected. Under such conditions, personal tests would be irrelevant; instead, group assignments would become the preferred means of evaluation.
Have You Found the Happiness Key?
In addition to changes at work or school, adopting the value system of mutual guarantee would change our social lives as well. Once connectedness is recognized as the key to success and happiness, then connections would be cultivated—not only at work, but also to a great extent during our “off duty” hours. As a result, activities such as attending outings, socializing, playing, and deliberating would become far more popular than they are today because they would be recognized as having not only recreational value, but also positive, life-changing value.
The atmosphere at work, too, would be far more sociable, as socializing would become a tool for personal and professional advancement. Moreover, increased appreciation of our interdependence as well as the importance of positive social connections would diminish the frequency of unfair or unjust behavior at work. As Professor Christakis mentioned in a televised lecture, “If I were always violent toward you…or made you sad…you would cut the ties to me and the network would disintegrate.” Such behavior would be counterproductive to one’s personal and professional advancement, and thus would be forsaken.
The fundamental concept is simple: We are all interconnected, hence interdependent. Therefore, we must solve our problems in the spirit of mutual guarantee, where all are guarantors of each other’s well-being.
Written by Michael Laitman
Michael Laitman is a global thinker dedicated to generating a transformational shift in society through a new global education, which he views as the key to solving the most pressing issues of our time. He is the Founder of the ARI Institute, Professor of Ontology & Theory of Knowledge, PhD in Philosophy, MS in Medical Cybernetics. You can find him on Google+, YouTube and Twitter