In the 1950s and 60s progressive thinkers were concerned about government intrusion into the lives of individuals for other than altruistic purposes. George Orwell's novel "1984" (1949) and Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451" (1953) each contain elements of this concern. In the latter, the 'parlor' in a residence consists of walls of television-like screens. The parlor is where some individuals became completely mesmerized by programming intended to entertain and manipulate.
In current U.S. culture, screens and video displays have become ubiquitous. Homes contain multiple TV sets and computers, as well as multiple mobile devices. It is rare to enter a commercial facility without encountering screens, e.g., bank counters, waiting rooms, service desks, etc. Programming on these screens is still intended to manipulate thinking and actions, but for a far more fundamental purpose than government intrusion into the life of an individual: Selling the viewer something has now become paramount. And doing so can now transcend our safety, such as getting through the busy intersection of Columbia Center Boulevard and Clearwater under the glaring, flashing distraction of the 'flash cube' building sign.
One area of research that has gained little public transparency is whether a connection exists between screen transmissions and the brain. Are we more likely to succumb to a marketer's pitch via a 50-inch flat screen than we are to a printed brochure? Why are eyes seemingly addictively drawn to the computer screen of a co-worker when we enter their workspace? Why are infants pacified by screen presentations? Why are drivers drawn to screens in their vehicles, even while moving through heavy traffic? And most significantly, is there a cause-and-effect relationship between the hyper-stimulation from video and sound in a computer game that could lead to aberrant behavior in susceptible minds? Recent horrendous shooting rampages suggest there is a connection, and this should be of great concern to us all. Mind control is very much alive and well!
-- ROBERT PETERSON, Richland
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