What does Mass Media and Prozac have in common?

I’ve talked about The pain of living with your thoughts and how The only way out of the pain is through your thoughts.

My dear friend Zoozel wrote back in reply:

“I don’t really think people notice that they can’t be alone with their thoughts, it simply becomes a habit of channeling them out. I noticed it once as I forgot my headphones at home, I would always have them with me, because I couldn’t be alone with my thoughts. I still carry them around, but from time to time, I do shut down everything, and that’s actually when I get my best ideas… Very thought-provoking piece William…”

This inspired me to publish a note I’ve written last week:

Why is Mass Media such a success? And what I mean by Mass Media is everything we’re bombarded with all the time, and everywhere: Television, Movies, Radios, Music, Billboards, and so on… The list is endless. And I realize that Mass Media is such a success because it capitalizes on a most basic human instinct: Our “away-from-pain” instinct. How does Mass Media do that?

Most of the time our thoughts bring us pain. We’re unsatisfied with our lives. We haven’t met the expectations of others. Our lives are crowded with all sorts of problems. We deal with large amounts of stress, etc. All of these are sources of pain — unless we distract ourselves from them. But for this to work, we have to constantly be distracted, because the moment we allow our thoughts to seep in, pain immediately follows. Zoozel knows this, so he carries his handphones around. But most people —as Zoozel mentioned— aren’t aware that they can’t be alone with their thoughts.

And that’s why Mass Media is such a success. We welcome it, unknowingly, as the best way to treat the symptoms; Just like Prozac.

Why don’t we treat the cause for a change?
Listen to your thoughts.

Yours,
Will

Twitter: @williamchoukeir

Related: The pain of living with your thoughts or  The only way out of the pain is through your thoughts

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3 Responses to What does Mass Media and Prozac have in common?

  1. Nisrine says:

    I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how easy it is to be distracted. I’ve been going through some rough times, and I’m one to obsess about things and overthink them. And then, in the lapse of 2 minutes, I realize that I’m not thinking about them anymore because of anything as simple as overhearing a conversation in a hallway. That easiness always fascinates me and stresses me because it leaves me with a choice. I can either carry on with finding more distractions, or I can come back to my thoughts. I usually come back to my thoughts, not because my thinking could be productive, but because I feel guilty being distracted when I should be in pain (i know, bad bad thinking). In any case, the way I reason with things is that happiness is a habit. So maybe with a few distractions and with time these painful thoughts will be less painful and easier to go through. This is a bad example, but when I went through a breakup, I numbed my mind with silly TV (and lots of sex and the city!) and it worked! I would watch TV then go to bed and with time things toned down in my head.Off course the ideal thing would be to find fruitful distractions, not the ones so generously offered by mass media. I’m not saying to run away forever from one’s thoughts, but a break is good.

  2. Anonymous says:

    That’s a great way to transition out of pain Nisrine. I admit, I do the same when there’s too much pain in my thoughts; although not using "sex and the city". I mainly distract myself with audio books and paper books. When the pain is too intense, I temporarily resort to DVD’s 🙂

  3. Nisrine says:

    Yea sex and the city wasn’t exactly the right choice, but you know dumb is proportional to numb 🙂

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