I’ve noticed a convergence of ideas lately floating past my head.
First, over the holiday weekend I read the second chapter of my college psychology textbook. The chapter was on Research Methodology. A major theme of the chapter is that we often can’t really rely on our own subjective observations, because we’re startlingly good at fooling ourselves.
Another topic that got heavy coverage was the idea that we need to apply critical thinking skills when it comes to media coverage of psychological research. Because the media has a financial interest in sensationalizing stories, and often a poor track record of clarity, particular in headlines and sound bites. The finer points of correlation versus causation often get lost in the hustle for reader and listener attention.
1. I am concerned that many Christians do not understand the media’s financial stake in creating an atmosphere of crisis about as many stories as possible. They will do anything to keep you watching and reading.
2. I am concerned that many Christians do not understand the manipulation that a diet of fear-mongering makes possible. The media seeks influence and audience. A constant crisis creates that atmosphere.
So, again, this idea of applying critical thinking skills to media coverage. And additionally, the idea of what can happen when we view everything through a filter of fear.
Which reminded me of an offline conversation with a friend, who was concerned that another friend may be letting a media-fueled filter of fear color too much of his perspective.
Which circles right around neatly back to where I started: with the idea that we’re startlingly good at fooling ourselves.
We react to life out of that filter.
Those reactions often end up causing the very thing we fear.
Those results just cement our fearful expectations. And around and around we go. Living in a snowglobe of our own making, and mostly completely unaware of it.
Our fear clouds our vision, like the rattled bits of plastic snow swirling around a snowglobe, preventing us from seeing it’s edges. Fear can make clarity almost impossible.
I’m also reading The Time Traveler’s Wife, which, aside from being crushingly sad, covers much of the same existential ground. So did the last season of LOST. People stuck in a loop of self-fulfilling prophecies, presumed destinies, and a punishing fear of what could be lost if they changed.
(Once again, I am circling around the edges of a story that I am afraid to tell.)
Maybe next post.
Or I may just watch the season premiere of Glee and decide I’m taking my own story way too seriously for any decently-objective bard.
While I’m being evasive, I would like to thank John Shore for complimenting, via Facebook message, the new theme.
Along with fellow Kentucky native Michael Spencer, and Jon Swanson (who miraculously takes time to comment here despite the fact that he’s a buddy of Chris Brogans, and thus way too cool for me ), they make up the “trinity of Christian-authored blogs that don’t make me want to beat my head with a rock.” I’m sure there are others out there, but the recovery process after I’ve stumbled across one of the head-beating ones has slowed my progress through the Godblogosphere considerably.
So in lieu of asking about the story I’m not ready to tell yet, if you have a blog that you think I should check out, drop me a link in the comments. Not necessarily a faith blog. I could use more good blogs on relationships, writing, or mindful living in my feed reader. Got a lot of internet/marketing/social media blogs already.
I’m trying to get my media consumption a little more well-rounded. Too much social media fishbowlery is bad for one’s equilibrium.