Friday, August 31, 2007

Capitalizing on mankind's fear of death

There seems to be a clear line of demarcation between those who value and respect human life and those who appear to be unable to. The Ojai Post has become an excellent forum, which clearly demonstrates this difference in perspective. There's a growing body of evidence which seems to prove that perspectives can and have been tainted by the use of 'terror management' tactics.

The New Republic has published an article that sheds light on why the 'terror show' has been so effective. Here's an excerpt and link to the original article: "Over the next decade, the three [Solomon, Greenberg, and Pyszczyn- ski] performed similar experiments to illustrate how awareness of death could provoke worldview defense. They showed that what they now called "mortality salience" affected people's view of other races, religions, and nations."

I offer this with the intention that we all can begin to transcend our biologically driven impulse to marginalize and generalize. To me, peace means no one is excluded. This is not an easy pill to swallow and I do not pretend to be beyond 'terror management' tactics or even above exclusion. I believe that the way out is first thru awareness of where and when our perspectives are being altered and distorted by the fear death. Advertisers and news media outlets have perfected the human's fascination with death as a way of generating attention and cash. Our political machine continually and predictably lives, breathes and exudes horror and 'terror' as a way of influencing public opinion in this country.

How do we transcend the saturation of fear based control tactics? We can diversify our sources of information. We can recognize that we are not our beliefs. This will cultivate healthy detachment and allow the inertia of our current paradigm have less mass and be more adaptable. We can start having media free days. We can reacquaint ourselves with the natural environment thru hiking, going to the beach, mountain biking. When we immerse ourselves in the sonic landscape of nature, we can shift from our sympathetic nervous system to our parasympathetic nervous system. Creativity can then be accessed. Stone cold hearts can begin to thaw. The most intelligent thing I can say is: I don't know. This allows new information to be integrated. It is thru vigilance, strength and a strong sense of self that allows one to see the need to surrender and thus allow for an update. The world is changing at an ever increasing rate. We can change and grow with it or be left on the sidelines living in self-created museums.

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