I've just stopped watching the news altogether. I can't say that it's because I'm too emotionally overwhelmed by all the horrors that are going on in humanity because I have a heart that can look into darkness. It doesn't frighten me...much. The reason I've stopped watching is because it's just not news any more. I like to have an informed opinion. I like to see both sides of every argument. I like to carefully consider what I feel about something and think about it in terms of the big picture. How does it line up with compassion? How does it help humanity as a whole? All I'm getting from every news source is shock value. It's everywhere. I see it a lot in entertainment. Shock value is perpetuated as a way to hide insecurity, lack of value and, if I'm honest, I think it's something that's lazy. Spiritually and morally lazy.
Aren't you bored of shock value yet? I certainly am. It's designed to provoke your fear just enough so that you give your power away. If youre afraid you're less likely to question. We react differently when we are scared. We think more short term, we become more selfish, we withdraw from community. We can all see it happening everywhere. The news has been reduced to the narrative ,”This is what might kill you today.”. I understand the biological programming of human beings to constantly assess threats but our poor adrenal glands must be shattered by now!
Unfortunately shock value works, financially speaking, and it has worked in that capacity for a long time. It works more powerfully on the emotionally disconnected because it offers a perverse form of connection itself. The adrenaline rush and rage can offer a feeling of temporary relief from any kind of dull or emotionally repressive existence. It's a way of feeling something, anything other than what you are currently experiencing. Therein lay the healing.
The more awake you are, the less you can be told what to feel. Your emotions, your power, your thoughts are your own. In a space of awakening you move beyond perpetual reactions and into a space of mindfully and compassionately being present in the world. Critical thinking, compassionate awareness are all you need to disarm a cultural narrative that is designed to do one thing, to breach your energy. We all give parts of ourselves away. We negotiate our dignity, our space and our money in the idea that we will be kept safe. But our cultural narrative doesn't want you to feel safe, it wants you to spend all your money.
I believe in the power of the individual and I also believe that no one can take from you what you are not willing to give away. So draw a line within yourself. Think beyond and through everything you've been told. Think beyond your own reaction and figure out why you're reacting that way. For so long in my life I was living a dream or an idea that was given to me. It wasn't until I crashed and burned that I realized that the dream wasn't even mine in the first place. I apply the same principles to my opinions, my thoughts, my ideals, my beliefs. When I run into something that pulls me into a reactive space I check myself for where I have negotiated my own integrity. I re align and I think about the most loving and compassionate thing I can do.
Shock value is much like shame politics. It lives on the principle that someone else gets to define your value. Only you get to decide what you are worth. No one gets to decide for you what or who you should be afraid of. Take your power back. Love regardless.
Ryan James x
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