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READING IS BELIEVING

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Once upon a time, before civilisation had come to realise that the many theories of science could provide answers to almost every problem, life was lead in fear of the one and only: God. He was the mystical, superior force who had stories and myths weaved in the depths of time about his mighty omnipotence and benevolence, his strength and compassion and his methods of punishment for those who refused to abide by his principles and beliefs. If a natural disaster happened, God had willed it, no questions asked. If a person died unexpectedly, God had willed it, no questions asked. If people were tested in their lives, God had willed it, and so no questions were asked and through obstacles, people persevered. Nobody dared to question God, and if they did, they were made aware of the fact they were wrong immediately, a sanction would have most probably been applied, and since the amount of religious people were the majority, the ramblings of a non-believer were barely acknowledged.

All those who had sinned knew what they were destined for, and whimpered in fear with the anticipation of the eternity they were doomed in Hell where lots of painful sanctions awaited them. This fear, this belief, was enough to force people into acts of goodness and obedience to the words of sacred books and word of mouth that surfaced within local communities. Impending punishment allowed for there to be a mould set for good people, and the rest who refused to accept the consequences of their actions in the eyes of God were condemned ‘Villains’, the bad people of the community.

Nowadays however, the power of God is only enough to keep those of faith in fear, leaving a large space for another force to rush in and occupy the minds of all those who are open to influence (which I would like to state: we all are regardless of whether we believe we are or not). We are shaped as people by our beliefs, and our beliefs are shaped by those who influence us in life who also inevitably influence our fears and negative attributes. My theory is this: Modern society is lead by the media, the media is present to insinuate fear, the people of our world provide the substance from which the media creates fear and so the vicious circle of a fear-controlled society is established. I have seen on many occasions, articles on what we should look like and what we should collectively be afraid of as a community, these are popular subjects that are constantly fleshed out in order to appeal to a wide audience and to enforce ideas until they are finally embedded in our minds. The beliefs are sketched out for us in the newsprint of our local magazines and newspapers and we do nothing but the natural response, we pay up and read to our hearts content.

What scares us? There are a variety of pressing matters that have us all squealing whenever an update is available, here are a few that I can name from the top of my head: The threat of terrorism, the discovery of new epidemic diseases that will have us crippled in the millions, impending war in countries such as Libya, global warming and the issues present as a result of our own environmental ignorance, extremist figures such as murderers and paedophiles that are reported to surround us in our quiet suburban neighbourhoods. These issues are just few of the recurring articles within newspapers, all applied with good reason of course, we as citizens are the fuel for the articles, we provide the encouragement and demand that makes these controversial and difficult issues so publicised.

I can’t deny that I am alike every other reader, of course I am influenced by all that I read, but as time has progressed I’ve learnt to challenge some of the things I read, after all, tabloids and the latest exclusives on E! are hardly the most accurate of sources, and I believe that conforming to the images projected are wrong.

All that I ask of my gullible fellows is that we strive to look further beyond the ideas that are projected upon us and question the hand that feeds us before we bend to the will of the media and find ourselves fearing almost everything we come into contact with. It doesn’t hurt to look a little further into things and consider what it is that we are reading, and we most certainly shouldn’t go through life with fears accentuated whilst more optimistic aspects are ignored.



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