Monday, 7 November 2016

The Media

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 The baby was belief in a supernatural creator of goodness, truth and love and that has now been replaced by a gurning demon promising everything but delivering nothing, with the bathwater filthier than ever.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.


Nathaniel said...

Do you think this is *the* Kali Yuga primarily because of how widespread and powerful it is? I'm just thinking back to other past societies (such as mentioned in the Bible) where these values seemed inverted, where child or human sacrifice occurred, corrupted sexuality, etc.

William Wildblood said...

It's true there have been many past cultures which were debased in one way or another, those you allude to in the Bible, late Roman empire, Aztec human sacrifice and so on. But now it is worldwide. This will always be a matter of intuition as there's no proof but the wholesale rejection and/or emasculation of Christianity is one important clue that this is the End Times predicted by Jesus which I regard as equivalent to the end of the Kali Yuga. Also many of the characteristics predicted of the Kali Yuga are fully operative now. For instance, the erasing of traditional caste distinctions (i.e. hierarchical dissolution in egalitarianism), the belief that human beings are merely evolved animals with a consequent emphasis on wealth and sex as the best ways of judging a person, the rejection or corruption of proper spirituality, the fact that elders are no longer respected and women seek to usurp male roles etc. Basically the idea is that in the Kali Yuga dharma, which translates as what is right, is no longer given its due and human beings think they are sufficient for themselves with no obligation to any kind of higher power. In other words, secular humanism. Of course, these elements have always been present but you have to remember that the whole of recorded history falls within the Kali Yuga. Now they have become predominant as never before. See here for a possible explanation as to why.

Nathaniel said...

Thank you for answering. How should one raise a family in this time? My guess is that a traditional devoutly-religious type raising would be best, with heavily limited media exposure, homeschooling or private education, and hopefully close participation with a religious/church community.

These are viable options but I wonder if it would become more like the USSR where one cannot, as a practical matter, speak the truth at all or even raise children religiously?

Paul Hillman said...

The Russian Orthodox Church has been revivified by Putin and religious upbringing has received his full support. I would recommend a little research which can only be accomplished by avoiding the mainstream media. QED.

Bruce Charlton said...

@William: "Prayer is our greatest protection against the modern media. "

The following is somewhat off topic, and maybe something you might like to address in a post rather than a comment?

You have spent many years practising meditation, but perhaps prayer is more recently a part of your life?

I would be interested to know how you distinguish meditation from prayer (if you do), and what roles they play - i.e. what distinct or overlapping functions they perform - in your spiritual life?

William Wildblood said...

hello Paul

Yes, I'd heard that. Putin is clearly far from perfect but he's equally clearly not the big bad wolf portrayed (for whatever reason?) in the Western media.

William Wildblood said...

I've always prayed, Bruce, well, at least since I was told by my teachers that I was too swollen headed and prayer was the best way to deal with that! But it's true I do pray now more than I meditate. That's partly because of the changed circumstances of my life, less time, more outer activity, but also because I feel the need to approach God in a more personal way. Meditation is good for attuning oneself to the divine source within but it's an impersonal thing. Prayer is much more personal and I now feel more in tune with that.

I meditated for 45 minutes morning and evening for 25 years and benefited from that I think. I always commenced my meditation with a prayer so the two have always gone together for me. The emphasis is different now. I probably only meditate once a week these days. That's just me now. It's probably horses for courses. I think the two are important but, of the two, I now believe prayer to be more important because that way you approach God as God rather than as universal consciousness. But I repeat both have their place.

William Wildblood said...

Nathaniel, that's such an important question, isn't it? I wish I knew the answer. What you suggest seems perhaps the best but how viable is it for most people? And is there a risk of isolating children in the attempt to protect them which is what this amounts to?

First of all, whatever one does, husband and wife must be in accord. That's essential I think. If they're not you're looking at all sorts of trouble down the line. Then you must try to expose the children to enough spiritual influence to counteract the effects of the world but without forcing it on them which would just provoke reaction. Something that I regard as essential is to engage the imagination. This can be done through books, the right ones of course, or through nature, by visiting beautiful places or through learning about birds, trees, stars etc, or other means but it is crucial. They're going to be surrounded by corrupting influences so you have to give them the means of protection and other than religion the awakening and stimulation of the imagination is best. Even religion should be based on an appeal to imagination at first so focus on myths and stories to begin with. Just the story of Jesus' life is so inspiring to a young mind. And really bring out the importance of Christmas and Easter. Maybe talk to them about where they come from, i.e heaven (or God's pocket!)not evolved up from rubble via apes.

And then, it's obvious, but surrounds them with love. However this love should be mixed with a proper respect for authority not the self indulgent kind that neglects the real good of the child.

All of which you will know already but those are my thoughts on the matter.