We seem to be living right in the heart of the Kali Yuga, that time prophesied in ancient Indian teachings when values are inverted, truth is desecrated, standards twisted, good made bad, bad made good and beauty laughed at while ugliness is celebrated. If you don't believe this then you have succumbed to the relentless propaganda of the last, at least, hundred years which has certainly been intensifying over the last fifty and is now the dominating ethos. You have suppressed your natural instincts either because they were too insubstantial to begin with or else because they have been overwhelmed by the external barrage telling you that they are outmoded and wrong, stupid, ignorant and prejudiced, or else because you are too frightened to do otherwise in the face of everyone else apparently going along with the new ways of thinking. You may even have been deceived by the fact that the lies of the modern world are wrapped up in a shiny package which promises progress and enlightenment and that, somewhere along with these lies, there are elements of truth that do indeed put right some of the ignorance of the past. The past certainly was very far from perfect but we have here the classic scenario of throwing out the baby along with the bathwater. The baby was belief in a supernatural creator of goodness, truth and love and that has now been replaced by a gurning demon promising everything but delivering nothing, with the bathwater filthier than ever.
One of the main purveyors of this inversion of truth is the media. What is the media? Well, it is pretty much everything that conveys information. So it is television, radio, newspapers, magazines and the internet. But it is also films, the arts and, by extension, even science and politics. So, in a sense, either directly or indirectly everything is the media. Certainly everything is affected by the media and that includes, most tragically, education. But there are some aspects of it that are more to the fore in that they are directly concerned with reconstructing our minds according to the new ideology and with presenting deviations from truth as though they were self-evident facts which every sane and civilised person goes along with as natural assumptions of how things either are or definitely should be. Television, film, advertising and marketing are particular weapons in this propaganda war. They have been used for several decades now to distort and remake reality, and it is almost impossible today to escape their pernicious influence. Only those fortunate enough to be protected by a deep sense of religion on the one hand, or the writings of some people who must surely be seen as having been sent by God in these dark times, Tolkien and CS Lewis among them*, on the other can avoid indoctrination. Compare, for example, most films of the past when goodness and purity were upheld as true values with most of those of the last several decades which have twisted moral values, often with great skill and artistry, and you will surely see what I mean.
The media is all around us and touches everything we see and do. It is inescapable so what do we do to avoid becoming contaminated by its spiritually corrosive effects? Firstly, and obviously, limit our use of as much as we can. But at the same time we do need to know what is going on. We cannot combat the world by running away from it, and the modern spiritually concerned person does need to combat the world. Now is not the time for attending purely to our own souls. We must engage with the world, even if it is only in a small way by trying to be an example of how a human being should be. Today the world has become so corrupt and so dominated by demonic forces, ideologically speaking and probably in other ways too, that all those who have an inkling of the truth must proclaim it and not just leave the world to get on with itself while they renounce and reject it. There will always be a need for monasteries to stand as centres of spiritual force, and I would like to see people living as real hermits dedicated to God as apparently used to be the case in the Middle Ages, but the state of the world today requires all spiritually awakened people to stand out against the tidal wave of lies and distortion. They could be derided and scorned, and may even one day be persecuted, but they need to be there to proclaim the truth for all those who might be waiting to hear it.
So we should limit our use of the media but we also need to be informed as to what is happening in the world so we can stand against it. We can also combat the effects of the modern media by imaginative engagement with the good, the beautiful and the true. Now this often does mean going back to the past but that should not be mistaken for, or turn into, a regressive exercise in nostalgia. We are not retreating to the past but availing ourselves of its best fruits, quite a different thing. The past was often corrupt too but there was at least until recent times a recognition of how the universe worked and what it all meant. That not only does not exist now, and this is reflected in the media and in contemporary arts and science, but it is actively denied. So to enter a mindset in which God is acknowledged, either directly or indirectly, we may need to look to the past. This will help to inoculate us against the spiritually debilitating effects of the present day media.
And finally we need to seek sanctuary in prayer. Prayer is our greatest protection against the modern media. The media cannot understand prayer. It is anathema to it. It remains our best ally in the war against those forces that seek to destroy the soul.
I'm not saying that absolutely everything in the media is spiritually corrosive and there is nothing good in it anywhere. That is not the case, there are still some people trying to stem the tide, but the vast majority of the media is destructive of higher values and that is certainly the overriding tone of it. Much of this is just people going along with the status quo, some of it has to do with money but a lot of it is quite deliberate.
* Whom I mention as they must have helped countless children see through the modern distortions of reality.