Muted shades of coloured bark

Tuning out the static

Of all that’s thrown at us all day, how much do we truly need to tune into? How much of “this” is the vitally essential information that’s serving to keep humanity informed of itself – in the best position to make wise decisions regarding its future? How much is something else entirely? Something we never asked for that serves little purpose beyond cluttering up airwaves, testing our patience or weakening our resolve.

Isn’t it feasible that the bulk of what’s assailing us each day is almost completely irrelevant? Just what various parties have deemed potentially profitable enough to offer up, on the off-chance people might be persuaded to buy into it – chancing their arm to see if there’s demand they could stoke up and fulfil. Isn’t that what the marketplace “means”? That anyone can offer us absolutely anything they dream up. (Notes One)

Leading to us now being surrounded by all of these options we’re supposed to consider. Our role, apparently, being to choose between whatever’s on offer: listen, weigh up, consider, evaluate, then commit to any number of products, services or ideas that might take our fancy or convince us of their worth. All our decisions then becoming the realities of our world, the consequences we’re setting in motion.

What does it mean, then, if we’re surrounded by increasingly questionable things? Options that might significantly destabilise whatever delicate balance still exists within our natural, social or international environments. Patterns of behaviour that potentially serve as risky examples to others – making it seem as if “all this” is a healthy, viable way of existing alongside one another on a finite planet. (Notes Two)

If we’re living within a world of unwise options, what are we to make of that? Do we relent and go along with whatever seems popular at any given moment? Letting the power of collective approval guide us; in the hope of fitting in or not being left behind. As social creatures, it seems a fairly potent incentive. Where does it lead, though? There’s no guarantee such paths are headed in good directions. (Notes Three)

Meanwhile, isn’t there considerable cost to the stress of living our lives in a cloud of constant inducements? All these temptations and distractions expressly designed to make us doubt ourselves and seek something to fill all these newly-created gaps. Our environment, apparently, taking any opportunity to make us feel insecure and desperately in need of something else – be it love, approval or peace of mind. (Notes Four)

Isn’t constant chatter draining? This cognitive burden of filtering out “the unnecessary” or listening through it in case something important hides within. It must wear anyone’s patience pretty thin to be expending huge amounts of mental energy each day just trying to listen out for what matters. Weeding out a million problematic items for every essential one we manage to catch. Worrying, perhaps, that we missed it.

And, what if “this” undermines our capacity to take the right things seriously or judge wisely in their regard?

Notes and References:

Note 1: Attention as a resource
Note 1: The stories that we hear
Note 1: Points of sale as powerful moments
Note 2: The value we’re giving to things
Note 2: At what cost, for humans & for nature?
Note 2: Freedom, responsibility & choice
Note 2: The insatiable desire for more
Note 3: “Brave New World Revisited”
Note 3: How much is in the hands of the market
Note 3: Passing on what’s important
Note 3: All we concern ourselves with & encourage
Note 4: Visual language and spaces
Note 4: Who gets to define us
Note 4: Solving all the problems we’re creating
Note 4: Desensitised to all we’re told?

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