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Panem et Circenses

Jun 23, 2021 学びの種

I am assuming that most of my fellow netizens (especially late Millenials and early Gen Z) are familiar with the idea of “trigger” and with the emphasis on trigger warnings and all of that internet stuff.



Up to two years ago I had billions of triggers. I had so many you’d wonder how I could even manage to leave my room in the morning without drowning in panic (I couldn’t).
Luckily Zennial digital culture in 2020 & 2021 grew incredibly passionate about “Shadow Work”, suggesting a way to get over your “shadow self”.



Long story short in 2021 I can tell my “shadow self” to shut up and more or less get over the sight of blood, but even so, there are still two things that I cannot put up with;
1) Ugly pop ballads and people singing in cursive.
2) Television

The reason I couldn’t overcome these triggers? They do not belong to “my shadow self”.
Now, I need not explain why hating ugly pop ballads is completely valid, you already know why.
I’ll jump straight to the reason why the sole sound of a TV program upsets me to the extent I have to either turn it off or leave the room right away.

My teachers told me that back in the day Television was an instrument of mass education. TV programs would teach common people how to read and write, they would teach math. The family would gather and spend an informative hour in front of the screen. They would learn. This would improve the literacy of a whole country.
Something must have gone wrong because there is nothing informative about television nowadays.

I live in Japan where TV is especially upsetting. It is not that TV doesn’t educate you. It’s more that it educates you to be stupid(ly obsessed with irrelevant minor things).

Think programs where people go on a quest to find the bestest noodle restaurant (spoiler alert, it’s never the one run by that Taiwanese immigrant that still follows that recipe passed down through the generations), or the most interesting cafe, or the tastiest dessert this or that brand is selling.
Think TV shows that have people sit down and comment on the love lives of 20 somethings like it were ok to do so.

Imagine having a huge platform with which you can reach an entire country, and using it to obsess over food (not recipes), souvenirs, trivial matters.

Decimus Iunius Iuvenalis in the 2nd-century comments:
“Populus duas tantum res anxius optat, / panem et circenses”

The people choose / desire only two things, food, and entertainment.

The same people who were involved in political debate, that played an active role in society now willingly surrender their political power and limit themselves to easy brainwashing.

The knowledge of my ancestors still applies nowadays, it is more valuable then ever.

Try and bring up a political matter, an environmental problem, even a serious one to people who are well-fed and entertained. What they will tell you is “I don’t want to have to deal with that, it’s so bothersome”. They are satisfied with tiny trivial satisfaction, and happily surrender their power to bring about change in the world. To them I am some crazy conspiracy theorist, always exaggerating.
But in actuality people that think this way are inclined to forgiving all sorts of evil things. After all, dealing with problems is so bothersome.

It is this tendency of taking a trivial little thing and putting it on a pedestal, giving it a lot of importance it doesn’t have that has the power to brainwash you. Why bother being indignant. I can eat this special cookie.

At the beginning of the article, I said this has nothing to do with my “shadow self”. Well, maybe I was lying.
It does get lonely when people around you are so uninterested.
It does get painful to think how much of my life was occupied by this kind of brainwashing and how I used to buy into that as well.

I haven’t lived in a house with a Television since 2014.
What about you? How do you feel about Television? Do you watch it? Do you feel that it brings value to your life? Or does it make you upset?
Let me know in the comments!





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