We live in a media age in which we are encouraged to be plugged into a world of information and entertainment. The importance of being in nature gets forgotten, the importance of face-to-face, heart-to-heart communication and discussion is relegated, and we forget about the importance of engaging our creativity and inspiration, which is a vital aspect of our human brilliance which needs to be nourished and exercised.
Children and young adults are most susceptible to this because technology and media are highly addictive, and many young people have grown up with a device at their fingertips. The list of interesting things to watch on YouTube or Netflix is never ending, and this should be of the greatest concern to all parents, because it is not all positive information. In fact, there is a lot of disturbing and dark information now readily available to young people, and some of it is even aimed specifically at them. You may have noticed that psychological horror programmes and films (some of which have an all-child cast) are becoming more common, and their themes are deeply disturbing. And not all of the negative messages are so obvious. Sometimes they can be put across very subtly, in the form of colourful animated children’s films, which seem funny and harmless on the surface. Unless we are very aware of how messages can be conveyed subconsciously, we can eagerly consume information which is not so good for us and our children.
What is the consequence of young minds absorbing so many subtle, negative and dark messages? What is the consequence of listening to endless pop sings which explore the theme of hopelessness, despair, and nihilism?
There is a short Native American parable which is very apt here:
One evening, a native American brave was telling his grandson about the battle that goes on inside of people. He said:
“My son, there is a battle between two wolves inside us all. One wolf is evil. It is greed, anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority and superiority, lies, vanity and ego.
The other wolf is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”
The grandson thought about this for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”
His grandfather simply replied: “The one you feed.”
If we engage with it, the media will feed us on a daily basis with its images, its advertising, its representations of truth via the news, its metaphoric parables in the form of films and TV programmes, its simulation video games and all the popular music on offer. But how much of it is feeding the goodness inside of us? How much is feeding our creativity, our inspiration, our love of life? and how much is feeding our fear, anger, hostility, division; our sense of isolation and anxiety?
We are the ones choosing what we consume, but to a large extent we are being presented with very unhealthy options, and they are becoming more disturbing and dark in their nature. You only have to watch the trailers for all the big-budget Hollywood or Netflix releases from the past couple of months, and you will see that the themes are generally very negative. The media is increasingly painting a dark, pessimistic and dystopian view of the future, and because these portrayals are so realistic, because our mind can very easily blur the lines between fact and fiction, we are being encouraged to see the world and the future that lies ahead of us in very negative terms. The media in all its forms is largely responsible for this. I have been studying and observing messages in the media for over 15 years, and I have been very aware of a steadily increasing quantity of pessimism, doom, psychological horror and brutally violent conflict being portrayed on our screens, to younger and younger audiences.
What is all this information doing to us, doing to our minds? We start to see the world as it portrayed through the media. We become more pessimistic about the future, more aggressive and defensive in our mentality, and generally more fearful and anxious. Just look at the teen suicide statistics and consider how big an influence the media has on the lives of young people. This is clearly a case of the media feeding the ‘bad wolf’ and young people simply not being able to cope with it.
So if we care about our children, our friends and family, our own peace of mind and the future of this planet, it is essential we stop feeding the bad wolf and focus only upon feeding the good wolf. But we should not rely upon (or trust) the media to do this. We should rely upon the beauty and peace of nature, we should rely on the heartfelt goodness of our friends and family, and communicate with them more, rather than staring at a screen. We should engage with our creative joys and feed them, thus feeding our passion and enthusiasm for contributing something beautiful to this world.
We should ask ourselves what we can do to help other people – people who are troubled, addicted, abused, isolated and lonely. This will feed our heart in beautiful ways that we cannot begin to comprehend. And thus, bit by bit, our lives become richer, our heart becomes stronger and our minds become more positive. We become a real force for good in this world – and this is exactly why we are here. So don’t waste any more time consuming negative or disturbing information, thus feeding that ‘bad wolf’. You were made for goodness and you will find true happiness, fulfilment and peace when you embrace and enjoy feeding this goodness in every way that you can.
“Let the goodness of your heart shine through”
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“How to Live in Love” : http://LiveinLove.eu
“We are all children, longing to find our way back to
the world of innocence, joy and freedom we once knew”
“It is simple to be 100% free from fear, but we need God’s help.”