Does media affect our behavior?

The free flowing information and the mixing of ideas and cultures often result into a state of fluidic consciousness where norms are varying and not very consistent, which in turn give rise to certain pain points in a society.

Does media affect our behavior

“Do movies affect our behavior?” is a question that has been heavily debated and lies at the middle of that uncomfortable churning and evolution that societies across the world are continuously experiencing, albeit rapidly recently. The first question is who is miffed by this change in society, its values and cultures? The answer is anyone and probably everyone who has attained an age where he has already passed considerable time in his own society and has now an opinion formed in his mind about his and apparently his society’s accepted norms, principles and practices. But the fact is that evolution/change is as real and unavoidable as death itself. While we know things change, we can very well analyse most prominent factors directing it.

We need to understand that everything that is around us, affects us. Whatever we hear, see, experience, and do, make us who and what we are. It is just like that old saying, “You are what you eat”. What is around us, we interact with it and this forms one’s own consciousness. Since the early ages of a person is where he/she is absorbing more than reacting and observing more than interacting, the mind is susceptible to easy influence on accepting as real and normal, what they just went through. The skill to discern amongst varying ideas and beliefs is something that hasn’t yet come to the impressionable minds of youngsters. This, gives rise to the ‘generation gap’ as we know it.

It is possible that we haven’t yet evolved much from chimpanzees, for in reality, often seen in public/social life, people tend to emulate, imitate and even mimic people or things that they have had an impression of. Thus, a youth’s mind is not adequately capable of discerning between what might be considered as acceptable in a particular society, as against its obliterating effects on other cultures that are different. Since times immemorial the constant flux has been in motion. But it is through modern methods of communication and dissemination of information to a wide audience that societies are evolving so fast that it has become a bone of contention among the current population today who has seen these technologies growing and becoming important in recent times. Someone who was born in the 21st century takes the social media revolution as comfortably ‘natural’.

The problem for a millennial today is that he is stuck in a weird situation where he does not know what is morally right today in his society and what is not. Sometimes, a certain attitude looks harmless but at the same time, it might offend a huge section of the population. In fact, different cultures as such are still a wholesome prospect within itself and these are mostly well balanced in a particular context. If we talk about the ancient Indian culture or relatively the new cultures like the American, they all are comfortable for people who live in it.

But the present day today, particularly all post-colonial third world developing countries are in a state of a huge amalgamation of information and ideas coming from different parts of the world and so, especially in India, when the western culture makes an impression on an Indian and this leads him/her to evolve their own culture, the state of a mixed and often altering influx of ideas make the beliefs of a respondent very fragmented. This is also the reason why we have a boiler of differences within our society and morally, the youth is slipping into degradation (at least according to the veterans) on the lines of culturally corrupt western civilisations. In other words, American culture is fine for its people as Indian culture is good for Indians. But what has become painful today is the mixing of these two very different ideas and based on the idea of liberalism which gives rise to uncertainties and incoherent existence of two ideas within one set of people.

A very common problem today in India has become the expression of one’s own sexuality and what one wishes to do with it. Indian culture has been very accepting of all diversity, but there is a way everything is tolerated in India. For example, for women, the idea of pre-marital sex and the demand of owing one’s own body has recently become a demand for them to liberally live their lives in India. But to most men, born and brought up is an environment where the rights of possession, patriarchy and morality hasn’t still been thrown down the drain, it has become a very painful affair to accept sexual independence and more so- promiscuity of the sex we consider as fairer. It must not have been very difficult if this change was slower, or natural.

The fact that the modern means of communication and the media through news, movies, social media, music, etc. affect us so much that we do not realize, they have become the harbinger of much pain to us. All the churning is due to this phenomenon where people are rather rapidly accepting what they are learning about people on a different part of the planet while people do not have the time to discern, and to properly think about it, to contemplate over it. At the least, we have been made to consume information so much, that we are not left with the time to ever process most of it. The way we behave today is much influenced by the media, often to the point of dictation when it comes to consumerism. This mindless chase is going to cause much harm to the youth in India, just like it is giving tremendous pain, anxiety and discomfort to the elderly population today. The generation gap, is becoming wider.