I’ve always been an avid reader. This can be a two-edged sword. Of course, it’s a good thing to be aware of what’s going on in the world. But for those of us who are living with and hopefully, recovering from our PTSD, we have to be careful of becoming victims of “mean-world syndrome.”
I first heard the term when I was in college. And I think it’s important to talk about the topic. Especially today when the world seems so “out of control.”
What is Mean World Syndrome?
Mean World Syndrome is a phenomenon where the violence-related content of mass media convinces viewers that the world is more dangerous than it actually is, and prompts a desire for more protection than is warranted by any actual threat. Mean World Syndrome is one of the main conclusions of cultivation theory.
The term “Mean World Syndrome” was coined by George Gerbner, a pioneer researcher on the effects of television on society, when he noted that people who watched a lot of TV tended to think of the world as an unforgiving and scary place.
Individuals who watch television infrequently and adolescents who talk to their parents about reality are said to have a more accurate view of the real world than those who do not, and they are able to more accurately assess their vulnerability to violence and tend to have a wider variety of beliefs and attitudes.
“You know, who tells the stories of a culture really governs human behaviour,” he said. ‘It used to be the parent, the school, the church, the community. Now it’s a handful of global conglomerates that have nothing to tell, but a great deal to sell.”
So in light of these conclusions, I believe that it’s imperative that those of us who have already had to deal with life-threatening situations, must try to keep things in perspective.
To survive in this crazy world, I’m using the concept of “detachment” that I learned long ago in Al-Anon. For those things over which I have no control, I need to ‘let go and let God (or if you don’t believe in God, perhaps the Universe) handle things. It’s a much healthier and sane way to live, than to be constantly feeling that the “sky is falling.”
That’s my thought for today. And on that note, I’m going to get away from the computer and go take a walk. For right now, the sun is shining, the sky is in its proper place, and I’m at this moment, safe…
I pray you are too.