Saturday, April 28, 2012

Liberalism and freedom from thought control...

We not been here three weeks yet, and I can already look back and see the effects of controlled access to information.  That is to say, in the US what we see and what is widely available comes nowhere near the full spectrum of intellectual thought, human feeling, or action.  It feels like everything, particularly information, is carefully dry-cleaned for your protection.

You can't feel the fullness of what it means to be a thinking breathing, critical, aware human without crossing someone's "politically correct" boundary.  The media prints only that which it feels is fit for your consumption.

Last night, my wife and I visited Shakespeare and Company down the river in the 5th.

Shakespeare and Company

What a contrast to our prior experiences of visiting book stores.  Even in the seemingly liberal city we came from, nothing compares with the broad range of political, philosophical, and poetic expression that can be found in this tiny, well visited, bookstore.

I nearly wept as I browsed the poetry section.  So many outstanding expressions of human creativity and feeling in word and prose.  If you have the time, you can even sit down and read a few passages and reflect at bit on what it means to feel or to think.  There is a chair in the poetry room.

I was then humbled by reading the last paragraph of a book, more a pamphlet really, by a WWII French soldier.  There were several copies of these small books on a shelf in the political section.  The books are devoted to talking about his participation in "la lutte" against any and all suppression of human liberties.

His final paragraph says that the forces of suppression have gathered again.  This time, freedom is at risk from an all pervading media that directs what and how we are consume.

I could immediately understand what he was saying.  Looking at the US, isn't the media is all about consumption?  Isn't it all about redirection away from ourselves and our freedoms and liberties?

Shakespeare and Company

The US media narrows the field of discussion by dictating discussion topics.  The US media narrows the fields of human expression by lionizing captains of industry and their role in "job creation", while ignoring the role of greed in culture and the way it drives nearly all behavior.  The US media narrows the range of human feelings to just those that stand out strongest, limiting feelings to hatred or titillating sex.

It was a moving experience to visit Shakespeare and Company.  It was incredible to sample a few passages from such a broad range of texts.  It was fascinating to know a human life can be so much more than what is bought and what is sold.  It was good to realize "la lutte" for liberty and freedom lives.

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