Tuesday, May 17, 2005

We become what we consume...

Are you among those who doubt or deny that what you read, what you watch on TV or at the movies, or the music you listen to has little if any influence on your thoughts, your attitudes, and ultimately, your behavior and character?

I am amazed at people who actually believe that the entertainment they regularly expose themselves to has little or no influence on the person they become. They seem oblivious to an obvious reality.

Doesn't it make sense that those who expose themselves constantly to violence develop violent tendencies? That those who expose themselves constantly to dishonesty tend toward dishonesty?

And conversely, wouldn't it make sense that those who expose themselves constantly to selfless, giving situations tend toward becoming selfless and giving?

I'm not speaking of absolutes here. I'm speaking of human tendencies that result from what we do with our lives, our senses, and our time.

One might then ask, "does that mean if I watch a show featuring terrorists that I'll become a terrorist?" No. But if you spend large amounts of time watching shows depicting terrorism in a positive light, such as from an Islamofacist perspective (or from an America-hating perspective like Newsweek) then you are likely to have a greater tendency to agree with the purposes of terrorism, if not also develop tendencies toward that sociopathic behavior.

Another might suggest that watching anti-social or immoral entertainment is a person's voyeuristic outlet - by having an outlet one could argue a person is less inclined to do such things in real life. This would argue for the thought that billions are spent on advertising so that people will NOT buy the product; that such advertising just serves as an outlet to reduce the desire for the product. Hmmm.

Newsflash: Adverstisers spend billions on advertising because advertising works! People who watch or read advertisements are more likely to buy the product!

Our practice of watching immoral entertainment and denying its effect on us is an addiction just as assuredly as smoking is an addiction. I've spoken with addicted smokers who will actually get defensive and angry at the suggestion that there is a connection between smoking and emphysema as they hack and choke with their smokers' cough.

The addict denies his addiction. In a sense we are all addicted to various things that aren't all that good for us. It is our challenge to identify them and change if we sincerely desire to be a better person, whether the addiction (or strong, controlling habit - take your pick of words) involves the foods we eat, substances we smoke, entertaining we soak in, friends we keep...

It all boils down to life priorities. What do we want to become? Just as "we are what we eat", we become what we consume, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. The book of Proverbs proclaims, "As [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he." (Proverbs 23:7.)

Some don't care what they become, so whatever life makes of them is OK. Others believe they are so much in control of their lives that the negative, destructive, anti-social entertainment they consume doesn't effect them. They are above it all - uh huh, uh huh.

I have some ocean-front property in Arizona you might be interested in.

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