“Turn off that bloody idiot box!” my mum would say while my dad sat glazed faced in his arm chair with a bottle handy for hours on end. Like a mute protest in my bones that has only recently been realised, I felt I always knew that there was something peculiar about television. As a kid I indulged like any other, but if I’m not learning something useful from it, my attention span for it these days is shorter than that of a 3 year old with ADHD.
The inexorable appeal of staring at a television set in my opinion is birth’d from our yearning to transcend our minds, or ‘fire-gaze’ like early humans did. In other words, to escape truth, silence the conversations in your head and to numb that incessant void that arises in your chest at the end of each personally unfulfilled day… well for some anyway. I believe this because of obvious reasons, durr it’s relaxing no doubt and ideal for those who find it easy to ‘switch off’ with an episode of “The Only Way is Essex” or “The X Factor”. Good for you. But if you’re one of the unlucky ones and was blessed with a mercilessly scattered, analytic mind that tirelessly thirsts for understanding, it becomes more of a struggle than a pleasure to sit idly by whilst voices bruise your ears and suck up your precious time. But then why is it so calming for others? Of course it’s got to do with the affect it has on our brains? But how many people actually sit there questioning it with, “hmm I wonder why I’m so engrossed in this poorly made series with actors that I am clearly aware are acting,” as they watch another episode of Home & Away where someone is in hospital every week. How many of those people just promptly shrug it off and continue to gaze zombie-like at other people living out premeditated existences, or envy those who chase their dreams instead of picking up their own dust-blanketed instruments? What about those who get engulfed by epic news stories about mind numbing shite (The Sun, The Sun, The Sun) where we all laugh at the fickleness of what we read, yet read it, trust it and pass it on. The tragic abuse of how global events are delivered to us as news is hauntingly intoxicating. Where the clever selection and omission of what to report and how they report it is always overlooked. With the right choice of pictures and words they can turn the tables on who’s a saint and who’s a sinner, what’s “shocking” and what’s “inspiring”. Not to mention the over-glorified talent shows who caress their viewers with a sense of crucial importance as a key player in the outcome of a ‘healthy competition’ between people like pawns on a chess board.
How often have you found yourself staring vacantly at the TV screen, seemingly losing sense of time and place? Or for those who know the feeling of ‘tuning out’ on a long drive and feeling like God when you’ve travelled 20 minutes without realising it and haven’t hit a tree. We’ve all worked somewhere where little thought is required, where only laborious repetition is… did you hate it as much as I did when your focus came flooding back? Wishing you could just stay in that state until home time? Mundanely strapping elastic bands around stacks of newspapers one by one goes quicker when you find yourself zoning in and out in the process… believe me. Turns out this happens when we actually stop thinking consciously and revert to our more animalistic and automated mind. Obviously this idle state of mind happens naturally but can also be achieved by clever manipulation. Ultimately, it’s simpler than you would care to know, but as humans being the powerhouses of erratic and constant thought, it just doesn’t happen naturally on a regular basis.
So when you stop all thought and analysis and your mind goes blank, this produces an altered state of consciousness or the hypnotic state of mind. The keys in achieving this suggestible state of mind are distraction and repetition. We all know of the flashing lights, words and repeated sounds in television commercials that never cease to annoy and lull you into submission. Well the lights are the distraction for your eyes to lock on to. You may not know either (because it’s also not consciously perceived) that while the TV screen appears static, it actually flickers. Any repeated light or sound pattern can seduce you into this altered state where your brain relegates itself from the thoughtful, logical and analytical state to the reactive animalistic state. While watching TV, activity from the left side of your brain transfers to the right and from the outer evolved regions to the inner, known as the reptile brain. The left side of the brain is associated with logical, critical thought and the right emotionally uncritical. Hypnotists (being trained in basic human psychology) know this and use a patterned speech by punctuating it with pacing and inflections in tone to amazingly achieve the very same thing. This state of mind is the state where you are most susceptible to mental programming because it influences your unconscious… something that most of us still don’t really believe or fully understand because we’re not aware of its importance, after all, it only helps us to um… breathe and all the rest. Once you’ve succumbed to the hypnotists’ suggestion, or from your television screen per se, logical resistance to the message is reduced, leaving your subconscious open for anything. Whether you are told to forget your name or that you must buy that product at low, low prices.
The few cubic centimetres inside our heads that we think we own, are being violated, and yet we’re not shocked when we hear about it, nor do we question it, and most of us aren’t even aware of it. Do you even really care though? That we are being bombarded with suggestion from practically everyone and everything on a daily basis with the media being at the core of our fundamental thinking? Probably not, but at least knowing the importance and power of your subconcious can help you to acccept other people’s prejudices as much as your own. You just have to understand and accept your own mental hiccups and weaknesses too, which ultimately should make you less abrasive when your moral make-up clashes with someone else’s somewhat alien beliefs. Whether it be religious or something simple that your parents ingrained into you as a child… I still don’t eat the ends of my bananas in fears of contracting some exotic mosquito virus, thanks mum.
All in all, what the conscious mind believes, the subconscious acts on, just like a computer. Even if the information is wrong. If a person believes it on a subconscious level, it will still act on it. Your subconscious will automatically and involuntarily reject information that is not currently held in line with previously accepted thoughts and beliefs. Many people don’t question these deeply entrenched thoughts, even if the source is reliable. Cults, movements, governing bodies, ideas and religion all are seemingly never questioned even if facts and information are shown to them to prove otherwise. Even whilst reading this you’re battling with your subconscious thoughts and either agreeing or denying what I am telling you is true; true as in what can be tested and seen. At the end of the day you will walk away either accepting or denying what you’ve read, but only if you want to know more will you research it for yourself. We generally will believe information that is carefully timed and presented by a respective authority, and by authority I mean is anyone who is an ‘authority’ in your eyes. The level of how successful the message is delivered into the subconscious of somebody depends on two factors; trust in the source and repetition to embed it into subconscious. If you trust somebody you are also submitting to their idea and their direction, this can be dangerous – love is blind. This tapping into subconscious causes you to accept the information as true without even thinking about it when it is presented again – a conditioned and automatic response. You don’t know me, I’m just another person with a blog. I’m not a reliable source, but you will trust more in what I say if it aligns with what you previously think. And to be honest, I’m not really appealing to a broad crowd, so if you’re reading this still, we probably share many of the same opinions anyway.