You Are What You Eat

March 31, 2010

“Even the President of the United States chooses what he wants to hear.” –Ray Tuers

We live in the Information Age.  We are constantly bombarded with information, but we really understand little about our world.  Aside from the tiny portion of space and time that we occupy throughout the day, our knowledge of the world comes from other persons, organizations, and corporations.  We make choices about our information based on established thought patterns, preconceived ideas and political ideology.  In ways that are eerily similar to how we feed our bodies, how we choose to feed our minds determines so much about what we think we know and who we are.

Like the food we eat, the information we consume may be momentarily pleasurable, but ultimately quite harmful.  Prepackaged, processed information looks appetizing on the surface but further inspection reveals the presence of artificial ingredients and self-serving analysis, not to mention the omission of essential facts and historical context.  Sometimes we aren’t even hungry, just bored or tired; so we find ourselves munching on the media equivalent of fast food- it doesn’t nourish, or satisfy and may leave us more ignorant than we started. The information that is best for us often requires more effort: we must take the time to read, contemplate, challenge assumptions and compare different sources and opinions.

Those of us burdened with the knowledge of where our information comes from have grown very wary of whose interests are being served by the way information is presented and what information is selected for presentation.  It should be clear to everyone by now that you can find someone willing to sell you any idea you want to buy.  But before you go filling your brain with junk food, you ought to ask yourself, “Who benefits?”  Probably not you.

The TV doesn’t so much tell you what to think, it tells you what to think about.


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