When the LOST series began, I was intrigued, especially with the concept of THE OTHERS. Listening to news reports and conversations today, the implication is always that “we” are “good and correct,” while THE OTHERS are always “wrong and evil.” If you are an American who supports the “left,” those on the “right” are fanatic fundamentalists. If you are an American who supports the “right,” those on the “left” are subversive communists. If you are a North American who supports the current NATO fighting in Afghanistan, THE OTHERS are ruthless, fundamentalist, Islamofascist, murdering cowards who hate North Americans for their freedom and democracy. If you are a person in Afghanistan who supports the Taliban or al-Qaeda, THE OTHERS are new crusaders who are attempting to convert everyone to Christianity and set up their puppets as government leaders who will give unquestioning support to establishing an Afghani state for the benefit of people of the West.
The Evil Others
People are willing to believe any evil of THE OTHERS. If the “good people” happen to do something that may be questionable, it was because THE OTHERS forced the situation upon them, and they were defending themselves or their family or friends. .. and, of course, there are hundreds of examples of incomprehensible “evil” that THE OTHERS have done. The evil deeds of THE OTHERS are far greater and far more widespread and more heinous than anything the “good people” could do. For example, I have seen reporters on CNN defend American soldiers who have shot unarmed civilians dead – because the soldiers had just seen their friends and comrades blown up by improvised explosive devices that were set by people who looked similar to the ones they killed. On the hand, people in Afghanistan, Iraq, or the Occupied Territories say that people plant these devices because they have seen husbands, wives, friends, brothers, sisters, children, parents, or grandparents, killed mercilessly by people who look similar to those they are trying to blow up.
The Others – the Epitome of Evil
At the beginning of LOST, I thought (maybe hoped) that THE OTHERS would turn out to be enlightened beings who had reached some higher plane of consciousness or at the very worst were much like the Lost “survivors” and the rest of us – mixtures of good and evil. As a result, a theme of the show would be that evil exists everywhere in all groups in society, just as good exists everywhere in all groups in society.
Benjamin “Ben” Linus was revealed in all his evilness. For anyone who has not seen LOST, Benjamin Linus is the embodiment of the supreme evil of THE OTHERS. He is an angry, bitter, blood-thirsty, boastful butcher of people; a cold, corrupt liar; a ferocious, hostile, mean conspirator; a menacing, merciless murder; a treacherous, vain plotter; a renegade, ruthless schemer, and a selfish, violent slaughterer … and to top it all off he is what my mother used to call plámásaí , which in Irish Gaelic literally means an ”insincere flatterer.” He is totally deceptive in his behaviour; he smiles and lies through his teeth.
Are There Any “Reliable Sources”?
What does this have to do with “understanding content”? We can only “hate” and “fight against” and even go so far as “to kill” ideas, people and actions we believe are “evil.” As a result, a great deal of propaganda in mass media and in social media focuses on making people despise those who “our side” or the “good people” want us to oppose.
At a school level, children carry on hate campaigns of “bullying” against THE OTHERS. At a community level, people carry on campaigns of gossiping against THE OTHERS. At a national level, people carry on political campaigns of propaganda against THE OTHERS. At an international level, people carry on wars against THE OTHERS.
“Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see” is a quote which is attributed to Benjamin Franklin. However, that was written before Photoshop and video tools enabled the manipulation of images, before mass media allowed careful selection and censorship of what is seen and heard. In the not too distant future, psychologists will study your interest patterns and social grouping, tailoring messages to your particular mind set though social media such as Facebook or Twitter.
How do we know that what we are seeing and reading every day is not manipulated?
Do we have any tools that can help us to become more aware of manipulation? What can we do and assist other to do? Are there any “unbiased” sources that we can use to find “true” information?
What are your opinions? What can we do?