Think about the last time you questioned what you saw on television. Were you watching your favorite weekly series, an old movie, a documentary or the news? After the viewing, what was your impression of what you saw? Were you informed, enlightened or entertained? Now, compare and contrast your daily life, habits and beliefs to the images and messages you intake through this medium. Is there a difference?

There has been and most likely will be constant deliberation as to the influence of all types of media on people of all ages. The most common one and that which stirs the heated debate is the ability of movies, video games and “children’s programming” to affect the behavior of the young impressionable minds of adolescents around the world. The constant bombardment of violence and sexually charged images unleashed on our youth is said to be the root cause of the majority of society’s ills since the first glimpses of Elvis were seen gyrating on stage to the satanic beat of “Hound Dog”, over fifty plus years ago. This grand conspiracy of Elvis Presley and Ed Sullivan must be exposed for the sake of the children and the remainder of civil society.

Each side of the argument will fiercely defend their position and maintain the other is out of sync with reality and making spurious accusations to further an illogical agenda. Without engaging an arduous discussion of statistics or citing countless examples of anecdotal incidents, you have the ability to discern the true nature of media influence on yourself, your family and by extension the social order in which we live. In making this determination one need only appoint calm rational thinking for the choices one make with the focus of that decision being the long term outcome of that action rather than the immediate gratification derived in the moment. In short, the marketing experts will tell you that today’s successful advertising campaign is designed to force you to act immediately based on what you observe in a thirty to forty-five second assault on your senses repeated multiple times, thereby creating the impression of need versus option.

As we advance in our ability to receive and disseminate information and our choices of ways to be entertained escalate, our vigilance as to what we deem credible must also intensify. Should we become a disciple of the latest or most fashionable mass media mogul or enslave ourselves to the communications devices of the day, we will have no one but ourselves to blame for not only the feeling of hopelessness but for the reality of helplessness which is sure to follow.

At first glance, this may appear to renounce the progress of mankind and return to days of unenlightened habitants who liken “modernization” to that of cultish ignorance and the denial of man’s evolution towards the corresponding end – utopia. Is this theory or fact? Examine your certitudes. Are they founded in time tested irrefutable truths or determined with the need to have the “new and improved, faster, shinier bigger” model of the season?

Analyze the options available during an election season the same as you would when bombarded by the plethora of ads to buy your next cell phone. Have you been reduced to emulating the life of a television reality show or are you able to see the reality of the life you live? Will you buy on impulse and regret the expenditure or employ necessary due diligence to enjoy the benefits of your vote beyond the life of the new car smell? Perhaps it is not only the children who have been induced by the anesthesia of the box on the wall.