We are connected. Our logic, mathematics, science, and engineering are communal tools we use to build a virtual world, which we all inhabit. It contains us, sustains us, it directs our action. It feeds our minds.
We view our cultural experience as a part of the real world, yet it is something we have created with our technology and which is suffused with the dissonant contents of our troubled psyches.
We are one species – a biological super-organism, connected by mirror neurons and a vast species-specific theory of mind. We sense one another’s awareness, emotional states, behavior, and we react to each other’s mental states.
We contribute to the collective state of mind. This affects us all. The weakest among us bear the heaviest burden. We maintain the fiction that there is a separation between what we call the real world and the world of our media – the virtual worlds of our creation, even though they are coterminous, nested. Our virtual realities reside entirely within the larger environment we all inhabit.
There is no boundary between our minds and the world. This is the nature of the mind and it is the nature of the world. It is the meaning of evolution, and co-evolution. The environment and the organism co-evolve. Our culture is the habitat which our species creates.
Our perception and experience are channeled through learned linguistic structures. In this sense, there is no individual experience. What we experience is a culturally conditioned co-evolutionary awareness. To the extent that we brutalize aspects of our experience, we brutalize the shared environment.
The collective violence spread by war, crime, cruelty, anger, and mean-spiritedness is magnified and echoed by media, for profit and for our entertainment. It serves to anesthetize us, to dull our perception and disrupt the natural empathy we have developed over millennia of neural co-evolution
In this way, we share in the collective responsibility for what occurs in our
midst. Unfettered expression is a corrosive commodity if it is not harnessed by a sense of social responsibility. Creative freedom carries with it the responsibilities incumbent upon those who create experience for others to consume.
To create violent aesthetic experience is to add to the sum total of violence experienced. How could it be otherwise? To have deluded ourselves, to have given ourselves permission to participate in a mass virtual sensorium of voyeuristic hyper-violence does not alter psychological
reality. This has always been the message. It remains so today. We can change the world only if we are willing to change ourselves.
“Culture of Violence” – Tullio – 2013