Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Monkey Minds. Avoiding manufactured discontent.

I was frustrated by the radio, I have it on all day as I work and it seemed like every station had exactly 12 songs that they played over and over again. Katie suggested I tune in CKUA, and I did briefly as I got an ear full of very obscure classical lute music. The more I listened the more I noticed that they don't repeat any music and play everything from classical lute solo's to Corb Lund and rap. The other things I noticed was there is no news, no mindless banter by a bunch of talking heads and mostly no opinions, or advertising.  I tuned every radio I own to this station.

This blog is not about mindless banter, (or is it just that?)  it is about the thought process behind avoiding mindless banter and how I stay in touch with a world that is about as out of control as it could be.  We are endlessly barraged with fears and cures: You have this problem, buy this to solve it. And it's not just products, it's opinion: Here is the problem, this therefore, is the sensible opinion, all others have to be wrong, because this is how sensible people think.

This is how climate change skeptics are kept under control and religious opinion is held to a minimum. It is basically  refined censorship by public outing.  A friend of mine recently made a comment on twitter about how being an MLA was the best job most MLA's would ever have. It was a GREAT job, I'd probably never do it again, but it was great.  He was vilified for his opinion. Now you might agree with him or not, but opinion is never wrong. The reason I am being so selective in how I ingest  and now post to media is a lot of my opinions are a lot harsher than his, but so long as the thought police stay busy manning photo radar I'm pretty much free to think what I want.  Which includes not buying into manufactured discontent.

Some things make me go hmm, like the Canadian media filming so called refugees from New York stepping through a muddy ditch on their way to safety in Canada. The hmm, part was a lot of the footage was filmed from the American side of the border as I guess the camera angle was better.  Absorb that: This isn't about a not my president movement, this is about  creating  a nonexistent refugee crisis in Canada. Hell we could solve the problem by fixing the broken fence or installing an electric one. Refugees don't show up at the border with visa gold cards and Mountain Equipment Coop luggage.  Point being, there is no such thing as an American refugee, just send them home, we don't need to process them or feed them, we need to  hand cuff them and escort them back to the taxi that dropped them off. If we shot one the problem would be solved. These people aren't escaping oppression. They are escaping a duly elected Republican they didn't vote for.

But our media colleagues, who tend to kind of morph together have whatever opinion is on the teleprompter or handed to them by the advertisers, have us thinking we have a refugee crisis  with  Americans desperate to escape a duly elected Republican President they don't like, we don't.

Our own system is no better, I have only ever had two conversations with party politicians where they had anything good to say about the other party. Those two, by the way, were Ralph Klein and Pam Barrett.

So by divesting myself of the background noise of media, I am free to form my own opinions, look for good stories and find inspirational acts by others and there are lots today for example:
  • Kirsten Palten, a Swede, just ran 1,840 km across Iran to prove it was safe, it was. 
  • There is a nun in the USA who, at age 86, has competed in 40 Ironman triathlons. They call her the Iron Nun and for those of us who went to catholic school they were all Iron Nuns. 
  • Heterosexual men in Holland are holding hands in support of LGBTQ people, that's nice.

The point is: I don't have the disease and I don't need the cure. There is a very good reason my TV has an off button and I have an MLB and Netflix subscription. So long as the beer is cold, the Cubs are winning and Longmire making new episodes, I'm happy.

My solution to all this is, for me,  called mindfulness and like Kirsten Palten demonstrates, the truth is not the same as the story we are being fed.  I'm not a conspiracy theorist, it's much simpler than a conspiracy, the Buddhists call it Monkey Mind, the inability to focus on what matters because we are being bombarded by useless things disguised as important things.

If your house is on fire, you have an important thing to think about. If you are mad because Sarah Hoffman called Brian Jean a  sewer rat, you are thinking about a useless thing.