16 September 2021 | Opinion
You’re okay thinking about the unconventional ideas that could uplift society and norms to a higher standard? Do you like a challenge, or do you prefer convention in life? Filtering into today’s music, artistic expression, literature, and video footage can soak you wet. It can increase the mental weight you put on yourself and your loved ones. It’s like taking a pill or substance to ‘numb’ your instinct to seek adventure and change. It’s being in the trench for a year and is used to take defence mode to cope rather than move beyond the war.
The media constantly conditions us about what to wear, how to speak, what to think about, what to deem as important, to have status, and to influence. What are you adding to the media agenda with your photos, videos, and standards? Are you sustaining parts of the nearly impossible standards that sows so much doubt into the learning youth?
I’ve learnt that authenticity links you with any group of people. You are kind enough not to judge and stern enough not to feel evaluated or weighted on a scale bar. I don’t like it; I don’t believe it. I like, I believe. Which words are we holding onto most? Does it separate or create?
I did it my way?
Frank Sinatra was poetic at most, but let’s sing another tune: One without words, and one with acts of change. We must not lose the cover of the book or the keys to the back door. We must not tolerate, because else we condone. Time is the new currency, and what are you spending yours on? Are you holding a grudge? A mind battle for purpose? Are you fighting with food or your best friend’s new car? What do you harbour in your heart?
What we think dictates our future. So many people inbox (Facebook) the bank for a loan; just a ka-loan. Where is the thought in that? Have we become so important that we apply for a job via a WhatsApp message? Or that we ask for money from a random peer that makes it super awkward? Or standing on the same corner of the street with the same message day in and year out (and we drive by pretending to be fidgeting with something important). That you are the car guard that is literally on your phone the whole time every time and do not greet your client?
There are some basics to good ethics that we all can learn and share from.
My daughter started crying after I gave begging children some cold drinks and food, and they started a fistfight about it. My kids were also consumed when we delivered bags of pap on a street corner, and the men grabbed everything out of the car.
What we view and what we speak defines us and the material we share. Being into instant gratification, today’s youth use words like “it’s so satisfying” when playing with their poppits (it’s a toy), fidgets, or slime or gum.
I remember playing with our imagination (and two imaginary friends), talking about everyday stuff. Ja sure, a bubble gun was fun, but we were not raised as cubic children comparing our schools, sports performance, preferences, or skills. We were in healthy competition with life itself. Not with the media.
I recall (shamefully) that I was forced to read my first newspaper(s) at varsity. I’m no politician but majored in BCom Economics (by the skin of my teeth), Politics, and Philosophy. What I loved was the philosophy of leadership. The ability to dissect information to its most authentic core and purpose. The ‘being’ of our conversations and the themes we used to define this neat life. Have we not saturated the market with information, strategies, titles, tools, pride, and self-sufficiency already?
Our media reports on various issues, and they do a great job. However, what are the standards of conversation on social media, what level of knowledge, respect, or interest does it reflect – and how have we become victim to this in many circumstances. Do you prefer the trench (stench) of social media, or can we live without TikTok and long sad Facebook posts demanding other’s likes and attention?
What we think dictates our future. If we think the same, we will remain the same.
I almost knotted my tongue with Majesty, His Honourable, Chief, Doctor what-not at the beginning of speeches when addressing leaders in society. Honestly, that was the part I was most nervous about. I once called an Advocate the Devil’s Advocate (jokingly); cringe. Sometimes the description before the title says it all. A Witch Doctor. An Apartheid Chief in command. The title of the books and movies we read and watch will also inevitably define us. They will harbour the demons you fight with that prevent you from becoming the peace you were created to live for.
So forklift (f*kk*t) your perceptions, the ones you need to chuck and be a bit weird.
It’s good for you!
*Natasja Beyleveld is the managing director of NaMedia media monitoring