Skip to main content

"I'm My Own Person" and Other Lies We Tell Ourselves

I used to teach mass media to high school students and it never surprised me when most of them, when asked, thought that advertising (and pop culture in general) had little to no influence on them.  Adults, quite often, tell themselves the same thing.

If advertising didn't work, however, it wouldn't exist.  Those billions spent would be wasted money--which isn't to say that all advertising works all the time--it doesn't.

An old acquaintance was on Facebook asking about getting a tattoo.  I replied that the response was merely bandwagoning--tattoos have been so mainstreamed that many who have them now are the same people thirty years ago would have turned their noses up at them.

Artifacts, ideas, attitudes: these are in our ecosystem and all influence us for good and ill.  To think otherwise is simply fooling oneself.

We pride ourselves on originality and individuality, but I find those to be overrated.  One, it's damn near impossible to be completely original and it's damned foolishness to think you exist as a hermetically sealed sui generis being.

Family, friends, media diet, physical surroundings, the supernatural all affect us in ways we don't fully understand.

You can make your own choices, but they don't appear from the ether to your mind not previously digested by others.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Worth Quoting

"Therefore whoever is not illuminated by such great splendors in created things is blind. Anyone who is not awakened by such great outcries is deaf. Anyone who is not led from such great effects to give praise to God is mute. Anyone who does not turn to the First Principle as a result of such signs is a fool.Therefore open your eyes, alert your spiritual ears, unlock your lips and apply your heart, so that in all the creatures you may see, hear, praise, love and adore, magnify and honor God, lest the entire world rise up against you." -- St. Bonaventure, Itinerarium mentis in Deum

Minority Report

I attended mass/liturgy at an ethnic church yesterday--St. Rafka--in the next town over from me. I had previously attended a Sunday evening liturgy with my family, but this time I was alone.

The first time we went it was rather sparsely attended as their festival was occurring in the parking lot, so most parishioners were, I imagine, at the festival. Not to mention that Sunday evening services are only attended by those most serious about their faith. The liturgy was in English, though a few prayers were in Syriac (a dialect of Aramaic--the language Jesus spoke).

Did I mention this was a Maronite-rite Catholic church? The Maronite rite is one of many in the Catholic church--known most famously for the Roman rite--that's what everyone thinks of when they hear or think of Catholic church. Anyway, this is a primarily Lebanese rite.

Attendance yesterday was substantially more than the evening in August previously attended.

And the prayers and songs! Many, many were in Arabic (providen…

Dirty Hands Can Save You from Hell

"Eternal life will be a shared experience of awe, in which each creature, resplendently transfigured, will take its rightful place." --Pope Francis, Laudato Si
     Wonder and awe abound in the natural world for those with eyes to see and ears to hear.

     Perhaps we are caught short by a vibrant purple emanating from the petals of a wild lupine. We might stare wide-eyed at the lazy circles of a turkey vulture soaring on thermal air currents. Even the most agoraphobic city-dweller can find something beautiful about a landscape even if it's simply the warm and varied red, yellow, and orange of a sunset glowing on a building.

     "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof" asserts the Psalmist. If that verse is true, why don't we live like it? Why are we flabbergasted trying to come up with the names of the many plants and animals we pass by everyday?

     All people respond to beauty in some way or another--even those who have willingly or unwi…