Five steps to opening your mind
Let's get cerebral
I've been pondering over the mainstream media again and the fact that many people take all they say as the gospel truth.
Why? I ask myself.
Well, I say that for people to consider any alternative to what the mainstream media offers us requires stretching the mind to accommodate ideas that it naturally resists - they stretch it to discomfort when it would rather be taking it easy. But these are crucial times and it needs to be stretched - things are happening around us and the nearer we are to the truth, the better.
But how can we get to the truth if we rule out a whole sphere of ideas?
Now, listening to alternative theories doesn't require a superior intelligence - not at all - but it does require a little effort at the start. The mind can get comfortable with its set ideas and it needs to be ousted from the armchair and sent for a run round the block.
Opening the mind up to new ideas will bring only benefits - and even if ultimately you reject those ideas, in the process the mind will get a good old workout. And you'll feel fresher and younger by the end - satisfaction guaranteed. Now, get your mental P.T. kit on - we're going mind training.
Step one - you read the papers, you watch the telly - you absorb everything the media offers you - but do you ever question it? Do you ever ask 'why do they want me to know this?' Are they saying this because they genuinely care? Or is there money behind this? What can they gain from telling me this? What can they gain from me believing them?
Now, here it's important not to wonder off into the realms of fantasy or paranoia but to develop a critical mind. By critical, I don't mean negative or fault finding.
No, aim for curious.
This isn't the only thing you should be developing, the other very important thing is memory. Keep track of everything you hear, everything you read - think back to when you were told the exact opposite with just as much zeal. Look at predictions that never came true, things that should have happened that never did, think back to stories that appeared to have no relevance at the time - are they important now? Read between the lines - what else could be behind this story?
So let's recap:
- develop a critical mind
- use your memory
- start reading between the lines
Good! Now you're ready for step two...
Step two - now, brace yourselves for this one - you've got to stop following the mainstream media. Yes, you can do it. You can cut it out suddenly or phase it out gradually - whichever you like - I'm not a doctor but I can confidently say it won't harm you.
Naturally, this doesn't mean you'll lose touch with the world - just wait and see how you procure your information from now on! It won't delay in reaching your ears but you'll have the filter of it arriving second hand - your interlocutor (unfortunately for him) will have taken the initial impact. You may even hear it third or fourth hand or perhaps by the time you hear it it's already common knowledge - you can take advantage of your distance to judge objectively. And once you've got that distance your mind will become clearer and now you can start to develop your nose. The big news is still reaching you but you'll smell it before you hear it. Does it smell authentic? Genuine, disinterested news has an unmistakable fragrance like fresh bread from a bakery - is that it? Or is it sliced package loaf?
Step three - Now you've had a good period of distance between you and the mainstream media you can return to them - in moderation. If you've been distanced for a long while you may feel emotionally drained after just short exposure to them - if this is the case, desist and lie down for ten minutes. But remember that a little exposure is necessary for your mind workout. Now, observe interviews with world leaders or anyone of significance - but observe rather than watch. Does the person seem too film-like, even too natural? Are they completely at ease? Almost too much? Now, back to your nose - get it out, quick! Can you smell the bakery there? Do you feel they're telling the truth? Are you nodding, saying 'yes, he certainly speaks some sense,' when underneath you're not even sure? Do you really feel comfortable listening to that person or are you just kidding yourself? Would you really invite him round to tea at your house? Might he pinch the last scone while you're back was turned?
Another important point - remember that calm objectivity? Keep that with you at all times from now on - you'll be needing it.
Step four - predict. Now get ahead of the big news stories - ask yourself what they're leading to. What might happen next? e.g paper screams 'pandemic!' - you're already thinking 'mass vaccinations. And then...?' Remember the calm objectivity? Don't get paranoid - get curious.
Step five - congratulations! You're ready for the alternative press! But now you read them you'll find they won't tell you anything that really surprises you. They'll just put into words what you're starting to realise yourself. You may not accept all they say but you may find them more refreshing and palatable to what else is on offer. And you may well smell that fresh bakery smell in there....