Monday, August 16, 2010

Media Literacy

Below you will find important links I've gathered to jump-start your understanding of Media Literacy.

Media is like a food you consume through your eyes and ears. It's good to know what that food is made of. Are you aware...

  • News bias and public relations spin  (YouTube link for a film on modern -> "spin")

    Media literacy is the ability to sift through and analyze the messages that inform, entertain and sell to us every day. It's the ability to bring critical thinking skills to bear on all media— from news, music videos, and Web environments to "product placement" in films and virtual displays on sports score boards. It's about asking pertinent questions about what's there, and noticing what's not there. And it's the instinct to question what lies behind media productions— the motives, the money, the values and the ownership— and to be aware of how these factors influence content.

    Media Literacy is also the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and produce communication and information in a variety of forms and means. 

    Questions to ask while watching or listening to media:

    Who is showing this to me?
    What message are they trying to get across to me?
    Why are they showing me this?

    When (context) is this information being brought to my attention?
    Where would they like for my mind to go?
    How did this information get to me?

    Monday, August 02, 2010

    The Matrix As Philosophy

    "What is The Matrix?"

    The Matrix represents all teachings, beliefs, and rituals in our lives that have no intrinsic value. It also represents things that we are "programmed" with, things that are passed from generation to generation without people ever questioning their validity. Some of these "programs" become so inhered in people that many of us can't see ourselves as separate from them. (How do you face your problem when your problem is your face?)

    From birth we are programmed with a name, an ethnic identity, a nationality, and often a religion. Since we are given these things from the very beginning they become part of the (unquestionable) fiber of our psychological "DNA". When you can "see" The Matrix it means you can see the "false" things for what they really are, programs.


    Agent Smith is the "strong arm" for the governance of The Matrix. He represents indoctrination, and blind submission to the orders from his programmer. One can call him a "true patriot" of The Matrix. Agent Smith can "posses" the body of anyone plugged into the system making that person an agent.

    The Matrix has taught people, for generations, what is and what is not reality. People are born into these ideas, which are taught to people over the course of an upbringing and become indoctrinations. These indoctrinations are part of the root assumptions individuals build their beliefs on.

    No one within The Matrix ever thought to question whether or not The Matrix itself was ethical or real, or if what it taught people was true or good, until "Neo" came along.


    Neo was an average man who always felt there was something wrong with the world in which he lived, He felt there was more to life than what was taught by The Matrix and the people living in it. He had trouble accepting the idea that all there was to life was to get a job, make some money, work till you're sixty, then move to Florida and die.

    Neo was given a choice between believing what he was taught by The Matrix and the "people" in it, or to see things as they truly are, the undercurrents, the hidden hands, how things truly work.

    Neo chose to see the truth. He chose to see things as they really are. He was warned that once he saw it there was no turning back, he could not un-see it.

    What he saw was not as pretty as the world that was sold to him. He saw that people were controlled. He saw that the system of The Matrix lied to the souls plugged into it about reality itself.

    Not shown in the scene above, Neo had trouble accepting the truth and became distraught upon learning it. He fell into such deep denial and internal conflict that it caused him to vomit. However, after some time he accepted the fact that the concept of reality he was taught was a complete lie.

    He learned about The Matrix and saw the world as never before. He learned that people who still willingly believed the lie defended it as truth, and would suddenly turn into agents upon learning that he (Neo) was unplugged.

    The film ends with a monologue by Neo:

    "I know you're out there. I can feel you now. I know that you're afraid... you're afraid of us. You're afraid of change. I don't know the future. I didn't come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it's going to begin. I'm going to hang up this phone, and then I'm going to show these people what you don't want them to see. I'm going to show them a world without you. A world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you."

    The rest is history.

    There is no religion higher than truth.

    Be the change you want to see in the world.