Bloody Cliffhangers

The media window has become too abstract from the reality it purports to report upon, in method and interpretation. We should be taking these stories, and they should be taking themselves, seriously. I think we ought to regard a media story as a real issue irrespective of proximity; it matters no matter how far away you are, if it matters it matters. There should be no glamorisation of the tragic. I used to think I ought to be interested in the news as one might gain interest in a soap opera…following the story for its entertainment value. But no - that’s a terrible idea. Trivialising.

Should the media be part of the political orchestra? The worst case scenario is one where powerful organisations are controlling the flow of information so as to spread and popularise false messages which support selfish and destructive agendas. Are we, then, to harbour their opinions when we hear an official announcement that so-and-so ‘is bad’, and such-and-such should be done ‘to defend ourselves against them’? It’s the old question-answer situation…one might have lots and lots of answers, but are they answers to the wrong questions? The question might be posed: how do we most efficiently plunder the resources of the planet? When a better question to answer could be: how do we move closer towards renewable energies? One question is: how do I make more money? When a more realistic question might be: how do I create a higher quality product? Or vice versa. I’m not answering these questions, because I don’t know your individual circumstances. Answers are only useful if they address a relevant question.

If people who answer political questions are also setting those questions for themselves through handling the media from the inside, then the answers we are given are presented in a box whose shape is predetermined by those questions; if the question is: how do we save this generation of mankind from catastrophe? We might glean several useful answers; but some of those answers might, actually, contradict the answers to a more profound question: how do we protect future generations of mankind from catastrophe?

Political philosophy is a dimension to politics, one which should always be there wherever politics is. If you have a political view, you have a reason behind that political view; however simplistic, or complex - that is the philosophical bit - the rational aspect of your viewpoint - the part about why specific actions will produce the best outcome, in accordance with your morality.

An individual’s geographical or social distance from a tragic criminal offence as reported on the news has a benefit: it’s easier to take an emotionally-unbiased attitude. You can say: that’s a terrible shame, somebody did that, and who knows, maybe the events which led up to it were more or less unpleasant (the odds are in favour?), and now they’ve ruined it for someone else and made it worse for themselves. Taking a judgemental position on the avalanche of bad news which lands on the screen day in day out can only numb your feelings about the facts as they are reported, and lose sight of the history behind the events - if ever made known to you…and if it is any business of yours, and if the real truth behind it is even able to be accessed. These are not new ideas as factors to be considered, but then, so what? Some of the old ideas are some of the best. Entertain the idea that you don’t know the full story. Entertain the truth that there is a reason behind everything. It isn’t always a good reason, but there always is one. Sure, you have to hate sometimes, or call someone a twat perhaps, but malice is egotistical, and we all get egotistical; if we don’t appreciate that we are all capable of evil actions, we will cancel our own subscription to free will. If there is a choice - in the absence of good guidance we are all fallible.

Speculation on the fate of wrongdoers seems inhumane; you see their face on the screen, you are told what they are accused of, and there is a drawing of judgement upon that person. Is it really a good idea to shame into the ground those whose weaknesses and circumstances have revealed/elicited a darker side to their personality? Is it though? Yes, we do it. It’s better than doing nothing, we might say. But what would be our real reasoning behind it? What’s the point? Capital punishment, to take an extreme example of retribution, tantamount to a simple message of revenge and no chance of redemption in this world, is in the hands of human beings capable of committing the same crimes as the condemned. Instead of looking at the connections which make sense of the wrongdoing, we pin the blame on somebody….and hence there is a cleansing, guilt is deflected from other parties and society can feel okey dokey about the whole thing. This is ineffective against criminal behaviour. We have to sympathise with the offender, otherwise he or she will not feel any sorrow. There might be people who are somewhat beyond caring about other people, and in those cases imprisonment seems necessary. Only regret can make a person independently choose to change their ways. The alternative is an order to do so. In which case integrity is sacrificed.

My reasoning is if you have some vice, some bad habit of any sort, you probably have some understanding of that activity’s appeal to you…you might even recall the birth of the addiction and make sense of it by tracing back through your past to some event(s). It would seem obvious to you that resolving this cause of the vice would be essential to a genuine recovery from it. Such resolution might be achieved in a multitude of possible ways; through shock realisation, gradual realisation, the influence of others, some dramatic event in your life and so on. What probably won’t cure it is the contentless assertion don’t do that (although it isn’t a redundant piece of short term advice in some cases.) We need to have a choice, or else there is no scope for improvement in sense of judgement about how to behave; but we also need the freedom to feel sorry for ourselves (as we all do - deny as we might) so we are able to extend the same empathy to others with sincerity.

The fate of a real life cliff hanger is not an entertaining prospect. Let’s get off our high horse in the spirit of understanding there are causes involved in the predicaments of all humans. Where we speculate on and entertain the idea of an unpleasant end for somebody as a matter of revenge, we cover up a proper investigation of the reasons for their offence, we effectively say ‘there is no reason’, although none of us believe this in our hearts.



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