Conscious Media and Consumption

Consultants, Sparks & Honey, who describe themselves as “trendwatchers and tacticians, strategists and savants, creatives and quants,” and GaiamTV, recently published a white paper titled, The Explosion of Conscious Media that I found very interesting.

So what is conscious media and what does is aspire to?  “It inspires or creates an awakening. It expands the spectrum of choices and possible answers to our most pressing concerns.” I’ve shared its goals for years.

Granted, a great deal of my overall focus in past years has been on the right-wing political propaganda machine because that’s where I find the most delicious  opportunities. Make no mistake, the left offers lots of tasty treats too.  It’s just that their message is not as coherent and they’re just not very good at packaging it.

So what is this goal that I share with Conscious Media? It’s an awakened consumer. The good news is that this audience is estimated to be at 100 million people today and growing. How does it create an awakened consumer? It naturally questions the status quo and provokes its audience to reconsider the full range of possible questions and answers to the world’s problems.

The Conscious Media consumer is on a journey that follows a path. To demonstrate, I’ll use capitalism as a practical example: It starts with being asleep.  Asleep is a condition that feels like being awake because you can interact with others in the same condition and re-state, discuss, and debate traditional interpretations of current events.  Here’s the soothing narrative that works like a lullaby: “Capitalism has built the most abundant way of life in the history of man. Continuing unabated, it will make our lives even better.  So more consumption will make us happier. The only question that remains is how do I consume more so I can be happier.”

You can stay asleep in that narrative or you can take the next step, awakening. To stay with our example of capitalism, it is a state where you begin to notice that some very qualified people are questioning its future effects on the web of life, the planet’s natural resources and the myth of “more is better.”  These may be folks you’ve never heard of but their arguments make good sense to you. You can relate to the unfulfilled promise of happiness from material goods. You know about the trillions of dollars in private retirement funds lost due to unethical financial practices on Wall Street. You’ve become aware that not a single executive has been charged with a crime.

Once you begin to awake, it’s a short step to exploring.  This is a state in which you seek out other sources of information rather than the traditional main stream media and favored individual sources like Fox News or MSNBC, capitalist organizations themselves. In other words, these are the for-profit machines called “corporate news organizations.”  If you can tolerate the discomfort of consuming news that sounds disagreeable and doesn’t confirm your biases, the next state, transformation, can begin.

Transformation is a state in which new thinking emerges with the help of new input from the above mentioned non-traditional sources. Your confirmation and disconfirmation biases are challenged. What used to sound like “facts” dissolve into questions. And you begin to realize that higher levels of consciousness come from tolerating the questions and not seeking a new set of doctrinal truths. The fuel of this transformation is the deeply felt realization that you cannot know anything for sure, regardless of the sources.

Finally, you are awake.  Awake is a state in which you will see the same reality as though with new eyes.  For instance, being aware of the simple truth that the core value of capitalism is infinite growth and cannot continue on a planet with finite resources.  Or that our continuing striving for a better life through consumption robs us of appreciating and enjoying the good life we already have. Or there exists a new organization in capitalism called “too big to fail.” And its executives are “too big to prosecute.”

But beware: Our minds demand certainty and when you think you have it, you’ve regressed into slumber. So the journey is rigorous and you are always tempted to go back to sleep. It’s so much more familiar and many of your friends will be there to welcome you home.

This challenge is not an easy one. There is well established institutional resistance. In addition to the main stream media there are other sectors like religion, government, and business, all invested in not disrupting our slumber.

But the rewards are considerable. They might lead to new levels of awareness and contentment even though they are not accompanied by substantive changes in your reality. In the words of French novelist, Marcel Proust, “the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”

Consumed regularly, conscious media results in new lenses for the mind.

Robert DeFilippis

Author: The Blue Route

What say you, the people?