Interview with Media and Crisis: Communication Management Monthly, May 2009
Interviewer Ali Varamini, social reporter
Mr. Doctor, first of all, how can the media evoke people’s sympathy in times of crisis, and in general, what media do you think we can call successful media in this regard?
As Allen de Button quotes Hegel in his News (User Guide); In the new age (modern and postmodern) the media has replaced religion, and what religion did to human beings in the ancient (pre-modern) age, the media does today. Religion gives meaning to the phenomena of life; For example, something like a flood or an earthquake happens; One religion may say that you are paying for your sins, another religion may say that it purifies your soul, one religion tells you the story of Noah’s flood (divine punishment), and another religion tells the story of the calamities that befell the sheep. And defines the children of Job coming (divine test).
So when you are faced with a flood, an earthquake, a famine, or anything, religion means something to you by defining a series of anecdotes and a series of stories. This meaning may give you different emotions; Such as feelings of guilt, pride, emptiness, lightness or heaviness. When we say that the media does this today, it means that today the media determines that we should learn from the flood, feel sorry for it, feel guilty about it, or have other perceptions. The media itself does not create meaning, but the “media” chooses the message it wants to spread. In the competition between the media, the media that is pervasive “installs” the macro-narrative related to the story in our minds. The media itself does not say that the earthquake was a divine punishment, for example, but when someone says somewhere that the earthquake is due to the increase of sins and this message is widely spread by the media and this meaning causes to form in the minds of people. The media can also choose not to convey a meaning. So the media, by choosing from the myths, news, interpretations, or analyzes that exist, tells us where the news happened, what the news was, what the cause was, and how we should feel and react to it and what We have to learn a lesson. We need to see how the media gets on board when something like a flood, earthquake, fire or plane crash happens, and with what analysis and intensity how it informs the audience; In fact, we must see how the media mediates between man and phenomena. Now, if we want to see what the media has done in this recent flood, we have to see what each media outlet has published in this regard, what images it has shown, and what analysis it has done. This requires us to look at two, three, or four pervasive media outlets and, when something happens, start comparing how they are reported and how they are analyzed.
With reference to the same book that you mentioned (news, user guide from Alain de Botton) I offer. Alain de Botton discusses the use of literature and art, he says, adding that we can use literature and art to show the depth of the tragedy. But some people who work in the field of communication or journalists and media people say that we should avoid chanting and let the truth be reflected (especially in the early hours of the crisis). what is your opinion? Which do you think we should choose between representing reality and evoking emotion? Which one is more sympathetic?
sometimes we talk about the desired perfection and sometimes about the possible situation. Unlike Alain de Botton, I think we have done a more important job as a medium if we translate classified information with the right analysis. But this is a desirable situation, and this desirable situation is not always possible and will not always be implemented. Much of the media does what Alain de Botton says, but not to build sympathy and social solidarity; But for specific political-economic purposes for which they are cultural agents. So when you see a newspaper with the headline “Glorious community of the people of a certain city”, then a glorious community means the use of literature. To write, for example, the “Black Pact of some countries,” is to use metaphor and literature instead of talking about a group coming together somewhere in the world and concluding a contract from which we do not benefit.
In my opinion, if it is an independent and honest media and tells people, for example; A group gathered in a certain place and made a pact that this pact has an impact on the national interests of such and such and has this effect on the geopolitics of the region; This media is better than the media that says “Black Pact”. Or if he says that tens of thousands of people gathered in the distance between such and such a street and chanted these slogans, it is much better than saying that the “glorious community” of the people is against, for example, “old colonialism”. But the fact is that this does not happen, and some media outlets are using literature and art in a very prominent and naked way to convey the meaning they want to the phenomenon or news. Some media outlets may do so naked and others may do so very softly, but in my opinion independent and honest media outlets that do not try to magnify or downsize phenomena are objective but categorized and orderly information (not mind-blowing). Give the audience a more moral and constructive effect on society with scattered news.
But if art, literature, and all the technologies at the disposal of the media are to be used for a changed meaning of a social phenomenon is reached, the healthier media is committed to creating social solidarity Or, for example, to direct public aid to those affected areas properly, or to teach people what can be done to make these incidents less frequent and less damaging. So if it happens that the media is independent and only talks to our cerebral cortex and does not put pressure on our brain limbic, I think it would be better, contrary to Alain de Botton. But since this does not happen and the media uses psychological, art and literature techniques to interpret events, it is better to encourage people to use art, literature and technology, at least by raising media literacy among the people and creating non-governmental structures to critique the media. Use for the common good.
You have probably seen the poll conducted by ISPA and it is almost accurate. About 60% of Iranians did not help the flood victims in any way; However, this recent flood is considered one of the heaviest events and catastrophes of the last century in Iran. Aside from all the sociological controversy, there is a growing public distrust of the institutions involved, government agencies and even celebrities who came in to help in the pre-war period. It is also remarkable) they did not feel sympathy, what?
In my opinion, one reason is emotional numbness; For example, when you constantly torture person and cause him constant pain, after a while, a series of opioids are released in his brain to counteract this pain, which makes him numb in the face of pain. So you see a person who is in a very difficult situation, after a while he does not cry at all, he does not scream anymore and you do not see any more signs of fear in him. Only when you meet that person do you see that person with an empty, empty and cold look and an indifferent and “stony” face that is enduring pain.
Unfortunately, our society is one in which crises occur frequently. The message of “condolences to Iran” or blackening of profiles and the like happens every season. Floods, earthquakes, falling school buses or students, strange economic changes that cause many to lose their jobs and many people to fall below the poverty line, all of which cause emotional numbness. In this situation, it is clear that when it is said that the air of the capital has reached a level of poisoning and danger and has not been so polluted in the last 5 years, you still see that people live their lives indifferently; Because they suffer from emotional numbness. When a society is constantly in crisis, it suffers from numbness, whether these crises are natural and out of control or caused by clear and preventable factors.
Yuval Noah Harari, for example, in his book 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, points to Putin’s management style and how some in Russia are constantly creating crises to further their own interests. One chapter of the book is about the types of macro-management, and one is about the leadership style of Vladimir Putin in Russia. An authoritarian monopoly government that, in Harari’s view, is primarily not a matter of national interest but of a “state monopoly” that they have set up for themselves, both economically and politically, and administered a package of state power for the benefit of this group. they do. Here’s Yuval Noah Harari’s how they can do this in the long run. Finally, the Russian people must understand that Vladimir Putin and his team are not doing constructive work for Russia! He says one of the things these governments are doing is creating a permanent crisis. Harari believes that the Russian system does not fundamentally prevent crises and even creates crises itself. It is not bad to see the same Harari text about Putin-led Russia. On page 29 and 30 of the book “21 Lessons for the 21st Century” he says:
“Revived Russia sees itself as a much stronger rival than the liberal world power, but although it has rebuilt its military power, it is ideologically bankrupt. Undoubtedly, Vladimir Putin is known both in Russia and among various right-wing movements around the world, yet he does not have a global reputation for potentially attracting unemployed Spaniards and disgruntled Brazilians. Russia has proposed an alternative model for liberal democracy, but this model is not a coherent political ideology; And use the strength of their laws. Democracy is based on the moral principles of Abraham Lincoln, in which you can sometimes deceive all people and some people always. But you can not always fool everyone. If a government is corrupt and fails to improve people’s lives, citizens will understand enough to change the outcome, but government control of the media calls into question Lincoln’s logic because it prevents citizens from knowing the truth. By dominating the media, the ruling oligarchy can repeatedly place the blame for all its failures on others and divert attention to external threats, both real and imagined. When you live under such an oligarchy, there are always crises or, in some ways, issues of concern such as health and air pollution. If a nation is faced with an external attack by evil forces, who has time to worry about overcrowded hospitals and polluted rivers? “By producing an endless stream of crises, a corrupt oligarchy can continue to rule indefinitely.”
I believe that in many cases, the crisis occurs in a media-directed way, so that people get so caught up in the day-to-day problems and so many incidents and crises every day that they are too involved to be able to make a thorough analysis of the situation. Do what is necessary.
As I asked the first question before; Regardless of all the big debates in political sociology, we see that all media, from the liberal media and the Western media to the domestic media, are always spreading bad news, and even if they always show crisis and even suspicion of crisis, that is why Does not people become indifferent to real crises?
Yes. Certainly. In many media, there may be biases in favour of some powerful currents. There must be a media in America that is supposed to elevate Republicans, there must be a media in Britain that is supposed to bring conservatives to power, and…
In general, any media that tries to bombard the minds of the people, causes emotional numbness or confusion that they do not know what to do, exaggerates the phenomena that guide the people, it does not matter what government group or what it belongs to. Being a country, this media has a destructive role rather than a constructive one.
In the capitalist system, the media feed their audience what the customer has, and they want to attract their own customer. Alain de Botton, on the other hand, believes that horrific external news is a way for a person in modern society to come out and relieve himself by focusing on the pain and sorrow that is outside of himself, and from the anxiety and stress that is inside him. Which aspect of this event do you think is more colourful? That customers are moving the media in this direction? Or is this is made by the media?
Authoritarian systems that take advantage of us ride on our mental weaknesses to take advantage of us. George Orwell makes this point well in his 1984 book. The protagonist of “Winston Smith” works in an organization whose job is to deliver lies to others, he knows that this is false news, because the right news is under his control and he himself is responsible for distorting the news; Is to distort the news and give it to the people. Little by little, he becomes an infidel to the ruling system, doubts the system, and begins to think outside the system. When Winston Smith is arrested and severely tortured, Winston Smith is almost physically broken, but he is still mentally infidel to the system and strongly believes that it is lying to people and that the system is illegitimate. .
When they try to kill him, they take him to a room called Room 101, which has been talked about before. In Room 101, he is confronted with what he feared as a child; Carnivorous mice. In this novel, you see that when Winston was a child, he found himself in a situation where he found the body of his mother or the body of a member of his family in a state that mice were eating. Of course, this is based on an article and book by Sigmund Freud, borrowed from Freud by George Orwell. Barry “George Orwell” wants to say that the affiliated media and the institutions of power abuse us, but how do they abuse us? By tapping on our Achilles heel. Our Achilles heel is a psychological phenomenon; That is, when we tend to run away from some of our issues to a global phenomenon such as the FIFA World Cup, the media takes advantage of this tendency to run away from us and ride on it, making the story great for us.
If none of us want to run away from our problems, we do not see football as bigger than football, but when our hearts want to be carefree for a month and just sit and watch who scores, who’s well, the media uses that too. So this is a two-way street; That is, social institutions are made up of the human bio-psychological state, and the human biological state is also made up of social systems. This is not one-sided.
Psychoanalysts sometimes are thinking that everything that happens in society has a psychological root in the individual. On the other hand, sociologists may fall into the trap of thinking that everything in a person is based on a social system and do not recognize at all that a person may now be genetically aggressive. In my opinion, the correct narration is that social institutions are formed based on the biological biological needs of human beings, and the human biological biological state is also made up of social systems, and these are like a Hegelian thesis and antithesis in a dialectic. So surely if we are not indoctrinated people, the media will not be able to sell us the goods we do not need. Indoctrination is an inner thing, but when the media mounts on this indoctrination and creates in us a greed that we all think we need a commodity, now this greed itself makes businesses, and therefore our psychological greed again It builds a series of social institutions, a series of businesses and a series of economic interactions. In fact, the causality of these does not contradict each other. After all, we also have an individual responsibility, and we must have the courage to face our own psychological and existential problems, to resist contemplation of our existential sufferings, and not to run away to the fever of the World Cup, to a telegram group or to a television network. It should not be the case that when we get home we turn on the TV, drink our tea in front of the TV, have dinner in front of the TV, are with the family watching TV, guests come to watch TV and… this is a mental problem that can have different reasons Be. Escape from loneliness, silence, contemplation, meditation and existential issues to the media. But on the other hand, social institutions use the same story to capture, engage and exploit us more and lead us to cultural slavery, and our collective responsibility is to criticize these social institutions, boycott them and resist them.
That is, the ideal situation is for man to face the pains and responsibilities and that reality of his external and internal existence, does this help to improve his life? Or is it a situation at all that man wants to get out of himself and the media encourages this. Do you find this undesirable? And what is the desired situation?
It is not really possible to give a single prescription about a human being because when we talk about a human being, there is so much diversity of human issues and diversity of human genetics and diversity of human thinking that giving a single prescription will inevitably lead to a fall which some psychoanalyst and philosophize fall in due to suffering from this collapse and finding the key king and prescribing a single version. So I can not say that man must do so. But basically we have to tolerate being alone, contemplating, going inside and being aware of our senses. This is a very general discussion; How should this happen? Should we be alone? Do we have to have i’tikaaf courses? Do we have to meditate daily? Should we read tragedy and see theatre? Should we go to a psychoanalyst? These are the must-haves that may be different in each person. But the fact that we do not go into introspection and study our inner situation and only our minds are following and observing the external events, this causes us to be unaware of a part of ourselves so what needs to be solved inside we look for it outside by mistake. The opposite is also true: sometimes some people all crawl into themselves and do not value the social issues and citizenship issues they need to pay attention to. Instead of focusing on the politics that make up the big plan of our lives, they are constantly crawling in, psychologically analyzing, meditating, using psychedelics and the like. That is, sometimes when we encounter a dead end on the outside, we go to the extreme, and sometimes when we encounter a dead end on the inside, we become absorbed and overwhelmed by external events. So this is something that we may have problems with on both sides.
There is a very deep inequality in the world. A very big chat. And there are unfair media outlets, one of which we saw in one of Trump’s speeches. He said in a speech: “Now there (he meant Iran) there is a big flood that you are unaware of (it was addressed to the people) because our media did not cover it and …
Alain de Botton, on the other hand, points out that when we have no idea of the ordinary life of the people of an area, we cannot understand them in times of crisis. In your opinion, the normal life of many people, both in Iran (all except Tehran) and outside Iran (Third World) in the news and media is not daily, that in times of crisis there is no less empathy Not effective? For example, Europeans think of us as a crisis-ridden country with less normal life, and therefore may not understand how floods disrupt normal life in Iran. It is natural that they have this image from the media. Take, for example, the incident at Notre Dame’s church and the extent of it, and it is said that there was a very unique antiquity in Sanaa (the capital of Yemen) that was destroyed and no one was informed. Given this situation, do you think that people who want to resist this situation, especially journalists and intellectuals; How can they and what can they do? In spite of all the media and media giants who have money and capital in their hands, what is our personal duty? How can we make ourselves aware of this situation?
We can not put too much burden on the individual, because each of us can not have a personal media for ourselves or pay for a powerful and independent media. So in the current context, in this age of media, even the intellectual may suffer from the phenomenon of “hyper reality” introduced by Jean Baudrillard.
The solution I have come up with for myself, and it may work for some, is not to basically get involved with the daily news; I mean, I do not turn on the TV, I do not pick up the newspaper and I am not personally present on social media, and this means that I do not face a daily news bombardment. Whether the church in Notre Dame catches fire (which I may hear from my colleagues a week later) or what happens in Iran, I do not understand. If I want to meet the news, I go to analytical magazines, I go to documentary programs, not news programs. I try not to expose myself to constant waves (which do not help me to move in a structured and purposeful way). If I am going to do something to help the crisis victims, I will design this work from the end of 1397 for implementation in 1398. I plan to put this share of my time and this share of energy or this share of my money in an NGO. That NGO is supposed to have a team of analysts, and that team of analysts, based on the study and specialized analysis of big data, will come to the conclusion that what is our most important current issue, for example in the field of children, and we are going to work in that NGO in this field. Tell us in what areas we need to work now. We have a vision and a mission for ourselves as an organization, and we have drawn this mission and vision as a strategy from the beginning of the year to the end of the year, and we are moving in that direction, and it is not like opening radio and television or a newspaper to Let us know what the situation is now and what to do, and we have just decided now that we have to go to our resources and what to spend our resources on.
We also see such actions on a macro level; For example, during the crisis, the new authorities were thinking of financing the victims of the crisis. Shouldn’t the current budget of a country that is involved in floods, earthquakes and the like every year be foreseen in the budget? We, who have not done anything to prevent natural disasters, have just started thinking about providing money for what is happening.
At the individual level, it is natural that we look at the headlines and decide what to do today! While we have to distance ourselves from this media bombardment and choose for ourselves what analytical sources (not on a daily basis but as a study trajectory) and draw a trajectory for ourselves based on that this year I What are my plans for the outside world? Naturally, each program leaves out a backup, and if something like this happens, I might change my schedule for a week and go somewhere to help, for example.
But when I have no such plan at all; I mean, despite the fact that I have never been trained to help emergency, to help and to deal with accidents also I do not have the physical facilities and skills; when crises are happened somewhere , I say kids get up to go, therefore it basically does not help the crises or even my own improvement. Just only I take action under the influence of emotion, and as long as I am involved in the emotion, I relieve myself of any worries because I think I am involved in this story right now.
But in fact where the excitement subsides and I return, I am again in the same confusion I had before the incident, the crisis. So I think we have to turn off the media for many hours, turn off the televisions for many hours and not turn on our cell phones, or if we turn them on, know that I am going to use this device in a specific hour.
In this case, when Instagram offers me a movie and Yahoo offers me a movie or news, in return for this offer, as I go to the market and know that I should not buy all the beautiful things that exist, so when in I go to the media space, I know that I do not have more than an hour to sit at the foot of my laptop, and the same hour is set for me to do this specific task. In my opinion, we must give ourselves such a regime, otherwise we will be one hundred percent overwhelmed by constant crises and media bombings, and as I said, we will be subjected to a cultural slavery. We are like robots that are supposed to be thought of in a think tank and we are going to execute them. Even when we are sacrificing, this sacrifice is designed for us and therefore we are the sacrificing robot at that moment.
** So when Rumi says “whoever adds to the news of his life” he meant other news; Not the news that is constantly being broadcast in the media.
Yes; Rumi meant the kind of consciousness that he himself called “general science” and Dr. Soroush called it “the development of prophetic experience.”
Along with all the calamities that have natural disasters, from a perspective, it can change the view of modern man and calm his inflamed soul. Alain de Botton points out that our souls may calm down a little when they find themselves in a position subjugated by forces far more powerful than any human being. What do you think about this? When do you think it is appropriate for the media to get involved in these cases? How much do you sympathize with Alain de Botton here? Do you think it is at all appropriate for the deeper media to enter into these cases after the crises and warn them or not?
I want to answer your question from the point of view of Carl Gustav Jung, instead of Alan Alain de Botton. Modern man has succeeded in exercising great control over the world; It manages to overcome the gravity of the earth, it flies in the air with huge cars, it manages to control the weather, and when it heats up, it presses a button and cools the air conditioner, it manages, when it catches cataracts. Broad removes the dysfunctional lens from his eye and puts a new lens in his eye, and he has succeeded in increasing his lifespan compared to humans a few thousand years ago, 40-30 years. Man believes that he can control the world. Sometimes this creature encounters uncontrollable phenomena of the world such as death that it has not yet been able to control and will not be able to for at least the next few decades; Exposure to these phenomena causes collapse and breakage. Because man in the age of industry and technology has learned that he must exercise control over the world and, as Jung puts it, face the world. (We used to have a detailed discussion about anime and animus lifestyle, and your readers can read the text of that interview at drsargolzaei.com) These achievements that you have made are incapable of the set of this life, and on the macro level of life you do not determine anything; This causes a balance to be struck between that animosity aspect and that animation aspect (between the masculine and the feminine) that gives up too much control and knows that many things are not at its disposal and are not going to reach its maximum well-being, safety and enjoyment. Such an anime / animus balance can be created for the individual.
Of course, surrendering to the world as it is, although many parts of it are painful and difficult for us to endure, is something that is very much tended towards in the Eastern religions, especially Taoism and Buddhism; For example, in Shinto, nature is praised. Much importance is given; That we do not change or manipulate the world around us as much as possible. The modern man of the industrial age learns to face the world with animosity and masculinity, the flips that constantly remind him that he is not in control of you on a large scale of life can somehow help him. Like the warnings that Khayyam gives; “We play and the heavens play” or “This potter makes such a delicate cup and throws it on the ground again”…
Instead of Buddhism, Taoism and Shinto, we can draw on these Khayyami flips. The flips that help the person, that part of his soul and that part that has an admirable connection with the world, and that part of the human psyche that may even discover or perhaps create meanings for the world through inspiration and revelation (formerly about our meaning of life We discovered or created a detailed conversation with you, and your readers can also read the text of that note in the name of discovering or forging meaning at drsargolzaei.com). Therefore, if the media does this Khayyami flip, it is not only not harmful, but also useful.
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