Nov 19, 2010

Bruce Charlton on mass media addiction

Americans are addicted to mass media, if they don't get the fix they lose connection, feel dead, will drift without purpose. If people withdraw from it or removed from media they experience rebound effects. Rebound effects are the opposite of stimuli: if the media generate excitement then people who have withdrawn from media will be bored, if the media provide conversation topics then withdrawn people will not have anything to discuss, if the media frame leisure then they will have nothing to do.

Habituation is a basic principle-repeated stimuli cease to command attention. So the media must generate novelty - novelty is imperative. This leads to endemic dishonesty - truth must continually be sacrificed to novelty. This leads to endemic ugliness-beauty must continually be sacrificed to novelty. This leads to moral corruption-virtue must continually be sacrificed to novelty.

It is obvious why society is undergoing progressive corruption and how far we are away from a good society - so far that we have lost the ability (an ability common to all previous societies) of even conceptualising the nature of things, of the human condition.

~ Bruce Charlton, "Mass Media Addiction, Habituation, Tolerance - Here, Now," November 19, 2010

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