We are living in a time when wars are taking place that we do not even realise are happening.They are not 3D wars that we can see upon our television screens and they do not involve people living in far-off lands.
These wars are happening in our own homes and offices and as we go about our daily lives. The internet has opened up new worlds to all of us. It is exciting that we can connect with friendly right-thinking strangers all over the globe, some of whom may become good friends even though we will never meet. At the same time the internet has also become a battleground – a warring playing field where unknown organisations battle for control of our minds in ways that, unless we are familiar with their methods, are virtually impossible to imagine.
The Daily Battleground on our Screens
The battle for our minds is being fought on our screens and in the ether. While we can complain to television stations when we don’t like what we hear or see, we do not complain to social media sites when they manipulate the individually targeted posts that pique our interest as we open up our screens. We do not always recognise that this is happening and when we do know about it, we often find it difficult to understand just how it works. Even when we realise that we have engaged with a targeted idea which we did not invite in but which has encouraged us to change or form opinions that we do not always understand the ramifications of, many people would nevertheless still be wary of complaining to some abstruse email address in a large organisation in case they found their future internet access denied.
How Can we Respond?
How do we counter this trend to influence us unconsciously and subconsciously in ways we cannot imagine? First we need to become aware of it. We do that by monitoring our thoughts in the same way that we learn to do from practising meditation and developing our awareness. We need to recognise when unexpected ideas pop into our minds and take our time to try and trace back the origin of that thought. Was it something we read, heard or discussed in a conversation earlier in the day? Secondly we need to ask questions. Whose truth is this? Is this my truth? Does this statement feel right? Do I really believe it? And most of all, who stands to gain from my reading and shifting my views to align with this post or this comment which I have just read or heard?
It is still early days in worldwide internet use and there are many bandits in the territory. We cannot hope to understand the silent wars that are being fought for our hearts and minds simply by knowing that such things are taking place. But what we can try to do is to wake up and become aware that such things are happening every day to each one of us. We can at least make a start by employing greater vigilance about what we find in front of us every time we switch on our screens.