Saturday, August 7, 2010

Man-ipulated and Woman-ipulated by "The Force"

If you're like me--I know that what I'm talking about here doesn't discriminate between us--you listen to the radio, you watch TV, and you're on the web. You've probably got a computer at home and some portion of it on you phone. You text mail, email, and probably Tweet, you've probably got a Facebook page (0r maybe a professional page like LinkedIn), you frequent U-Tube and you've got friends and relatives who speak some or all these "languages," too. In your circle of friends you keep each other updated, just like the vast majority of your neighbors and friends out there in what is fast becoming the universal communications loop.

It's great to have all these connections...and maybe a little crazy, too. Because of all these things, and because of the electronic/computer age in general, personal anonymity is very rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Some people think that's great. Other people find it a little scary. Still other people are working to manage it all...working to keep it from getting out of hand for themselves and others too.

If you visit the internet you are constantly bombarded with a visual feast of stimulating images, sounds, and auditory commands. You can't avoid it. Of course you experience the same thing if you watch the TV where you've got headers at the top of the screen crammed with information, the body of the screen focused on what, hopefully, you intended to watch, and there's that "footer" suddenly streaming information across the bottom of the screen about the weather or some other "urgent" breaking news. It's constant.

I enjoy listening to talk radio. But the radio, just like the other media, is crammed with both the things you wanted to hear--what you tuned in to hear--and all that interruption marketing and extraneous information you would prefer to do without. But alas, it's ALL there droning in your ears, as it were, an audio sandwich with that stuff you really want seasoned not so tastefully with ingredients you could care less about.

Whether you like it or not you are dramatically influenced by all those sights and sounds, images, arguments, persuasive efforts, and ideological propaganda. Unless you're an inanimate object, like piece of granite, this stuff touches you. It's there; it's a FORCE intended for "impact." At some level, whether you're aware of it or not, you're being man-ipulated! (OK. Woman-ipulated if you're a gal.) Information about a topic or about a person, whether that information is accurate or not, persuades. It influences a person's perception of that topic or of that person. That's why, for example, attack ads during a political campaign can be so potentially damaging. Half-truths, misplaced emphasis, can be damningly influential even after clarifying information has been provided to exonerate or reconcile listeners or viewers to the truth.

I heard a news story yesterday reporting research that shows women have a greater attraction to men wearing the color red. Across the City of Denver men are suddenly dressing to wear more red. Whether the research is correct or not--it may be a funny hoax!--men are taking full advantage of the news. Maybe you're one of these guys? Admittedly, for me the idea did not go unnoticed.

OK. What's the "so what" of all this? Simply this: what's real? How do you know who you really are? How do you know what you stand for? What's enduring and what's not? How do you know it's not just all that manipulation tugging you this way or that, making you want this, shaping your perspective? How do you know? What you think about dating, romance, the opposite sex, relationships, marriage...where and how did you learn to "think" it? Is the way you think it in your best interests? What makes you sure?

I'll be back. Until then have fun. Be safe. Be smart.


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