My new article on Linkedin “The Impact of the Media on Us – a Depressing Story”
An extensive survey concerning depression released by the Oxford University research center Our World in Data shows that depression is a very complicated condition. According to the editors of the survey, “people with depression experience different symptoms, with different levels of severity, at different times in their lives, with episodes that last different lengths of time.” Worse yet, even people who are not diagnosed with depression suffer from symptoms of depression. Still worse, the survey found that depression is an umbrella condition that contains subtypes, and that in general, more people suffer from depression or its symptoms than those who do not.
While the survey is important in that it illustrates the pervasiveness of depression, it does not answer, or even attempt to answer the most important question: Why is there depression?
The more we develop from generation to generation, the more we get to know the world we live in and the pressures it puts on us. As a result, we are becoming depressed. For its part, the media, which could have portrayed a balanced picture of the world, chooses instead to exacerbate our depression by emphasizing the negative and distressing in the world. By exploiting our weakness and vulnerability, they are deepening our depression.
The bad news that media outlets constantly present is not the only news worth knowing. Moreover, if all that they present is malice, violence, and fraudulence, without offering any solutions to these social ailments, what hope do they leave for the viewers? They are educating us to hate, distrust, and isolate ourselves from others. Is it a wonder that in such a state we are depressed?
The media, through all its channels, is humanity’s primary educator. It molds us and shapes us however it wishes by showing us or hiding from us whatever it chooses according to its interests. Therefore, what is happening in humanity today is first and foremost a direct result of the actions of the media.
We should not delude ourselves. The news we see, the stories we read and watch, and the information that percolates into our phones and computers are all monitored and manipulated to make us feel miserable, and helpless. By doing so, the media tighten their grip on us, and this is what they really want.
When we are depressed, we buy more stuff in order to compensate for our dejection. When we are depressed, we take medications, drugs, and do things to alleviate the gloom. These actions that we take bring them a lot of money, a lot of power, and make us dependent on them, which is what they want.
People can be happy only when they are hopeful. If they know that tomorrow will be better than today, that their children will have a better, easier, wealthier, healthier life than theirs, then they have reasons for optimism and joy.
Regrettably, the media reflects our nature, our egotistical disposition, as it is written, “The inclination of a man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Gen. 8:21). As long as we are wicked from within, we will not create media channels that give us hope.
Since we are rotten from within, since we want power, money, and all the things we blame on the media, then even if we ruined them and built new media channels instead, they would end up being the same as the ones we have today. In the end, it is not their fault that they are like that; they only reflect our inner selves.
To really change the media, we must change ourselves. We must create alternative educational channels that will create hope by encouraging care and mutual responsibility, and will strengthen our communities.
If we foster cohesion and solidarity within our communities and towns, we will be able to offset the negative influence of the media and change ourselves from within. If we change, the media will have no choice but to follow suit. After all, they are dependent on our views no less than we are influenced by their messages. If the messages we are willing to absorb are positive ones, these are the messages they will show us, these are the news we will receive on our devices, and as a result, all of reality will change for the better.