“Entertainment” or, to me, media art, is a huge part of human lives. The word “entertainment” carries two meanings: to divert attention and to contemplate an idea. Its pure purpose is to serve as humanity’s method to deliver meaning.
the human spirit will always seek meaning. The search for it is a primitive instinct beating within our souls.
The Bad News: What Media Today Sounds Like
With entertainments purpose in mind, I cannot help but wonder that if today’s entertainment isn’t serving us as well as it should be. Television, film, and even literature compete for “buzz” to climb over the noise of one another; a noise that is drowning us in distraction until we cannot hear anymore and we become oblivious to it. The main concern for me is what this noise, lacking in meaning and substance, doing to us in the long run? Is it desensitizing us? How does it change our hearts?
The Good News: A New Hope
Still, after all the noise, there is great news: the human spirit will always seek meaning. The search for it is a primitive instinct beating within our souls. If one turns away from it, observe how it bothers his/her demons. It’s never too late to tell good stories that awaken the soul, that beat the drums harder, and that arm us against the weapons of heedlessness. These stories are how I choose to define Conscious Media Art.
Media Art: Its Definition
And by the definition of media, the plural of medium, it can connect, communicate, influence, etc. Which means you can see conscious media art literally anywhere: books, TV, movies, speeches, podcasts, music, plays, news, the internet, etc. My great question for these industries is if they can have a powerful influence on the planet—on people—while telling the stories they love (horror, superhero, action, romance, rock, rap, etc.), then wouldn’t creating media like that be worth the effort? What reason is there not to?
What Counts as Conscious Entertainment?
So it comes in many forms, but what makes it conscious? I can find no better idea of conscious entertainment than what Derek Rydall has written in his book There's No Business Like Soul Business. He says:
Entertainment is the most powerful tool of change on the planet. How many people around the world partake of some form of media every day - usually many times a day? Imagine what would happen if the majority of that input was "Conscious Content." That doesn't mean it's preachy or has a "message". It simply means it is content created from a conscious intention to bring people into a deeper connection with their life and world- rather than distract them from it- ultimately transforming them and their environment. And doing it all in an entertaining way!
Why Not Conscious Entertainment?
As audiences, if we can enjoy stories we love through TV, literature, music, podcasts, etc., then why not seek a little bit of medicine with our sugar? Why keep voting with our cash through our TV, phones, and internet access for media that leaves us feeling emptier the more we fill ourselves up with it? Media, as we can see through the Arab Spring and past USA elections, is powerful. We need to give that power to the right sources.
Reel Applications for Conscious Media Art!
So how do we start this? How do we find conscious media art? How do we support it?
For now, I think we can do our best by simply understanding the power of media and helping to spread healthy dosages of “sugar that helps the medicine go down.” This can mean creating “media art” appreciation clubs or asking critical questions of the next film your household watches. It can mean telling a friend about a book or a song that’s changed your life. It can also mean challenging ourselves to grow the next time we choose to create stories and relate truths. Individually, it can be about making the decision to be more conscientious of what you are choosing to consume and support, thinking carefully about what kind of value that form of media will add—or not add—to your life.
Distracting entertainment will always be out there, but understanding, seeking, and promoting conscious media art/entertainment will help us filter through the noise and hone our hearing in on that primitive drum, starving for meaning.
Jump into Action!
If you’re looking for a place to start conscious media consumption, we, Reel Nation Media, have started a club of sorts on Facebook to “seize, embrace, and uphold” conscious media art. Surprisingly the name of the group is Conscious Media Art! So check it out, join, and I encourage you to post about what has influenced your life for the better!
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Keep it Reel!