Behind The Lens Many people question themselves when they think they aren’t right about something because everyone else around them believes the opposite. What you think might be truer than you think because the world tends to believe what they want to, and not the truth. In Plato’s philosophical example of life in the “Allegory of the Cave” he explains and questions his views on human existence and the reality of things. Everyone has a different reality and a way that they perceive things but other factors like the media influence and persuade us.
The media has the power through the radio, television, or other technologies to tell us things that might not even be true but we have to believe them because we don’t know what is true. The media even hides the truth in the news, has the ability to persuade us to believe something, and influences human existence. We rely on the news to know what is going on in the world, and we can’t really deny what they tell us because it’s their job to tell us the truth. There have been many mishaps where it has even been caught on television one example was on the news, “Taking her act one step further, this morning she appeared on a suburban street . . paddling a canoe. There was one small problem. Just as the segment came on the air, two men waded in front of Kosinki . . . and the water barely covered their shoe tops! That’s right, Kosinski’s canoe was in no more than four to six inches of water! ” (Finkelstein 1). If the news decides not to tell the truth even if doesn’t prove their story, what reality is there if they can make up some random story with proof that they didn’t even tell the truth on television.
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The way that the media has the ability to tell us false stories, proves Plato’s theory, “…and he will be unable to see the realities of which in his former state he had seen the shadows; and then conceive someone saying to him, that what he saw before was an illusion…” (Plato 1). The ‘shadows’ that he saw represent the shadows that the television cast on the people watching to deceive and manipulate them to believe things that are not true. Then when someone told him that it was all an ‘illusion’ he realized that everything that was said to be true was all one big lie to make it seem like everything in the world was perfect.
Plato had the right idea when he was explaining his theory and the synonymous examples he used which relates to the media, “…like the screen which marionette players have in front of them, over which they show the puppets” (Plato 1). This example of how the prisoners in the cave saw things relates to the way the news channels manipulate their jobs. The marionette players portray the reporters who report news to the public and the screen is the television which is the public’s way of getting information in the outside world.
The ‘puppets’ that the marionette players use are the false stories that they use to tell us what they want us to know. The story from the water and canoe on the news story is a perfect explanation on how they ability to not only fool us but neglect us because we rely on the media to know what is going on in our world. To realize the media was one big lie and know that it was always something that we relied on and trusted because it has an image of being honest is unfair.
The people who lie to us know the damage they are causing, yet they do not try to stop it from happening, “The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth; to lie outright; to pervert; to vilify; to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread” (Swinton, 1). The truth of the media is ugly because all the journalists are doing this for is to get money or their ‘daily bread’. The business of the media is to treat us like their slaves and so that we help in believing what is false so that it satisfies them in making them more reliable.
Seeing things might not always be a good thing because the media has the ability to manipulate our eyes with all the technology that they are capable of having, “…the prison house is the world of sight…” (Plato 2). The ‘world of sight’ are all the things that we see and can interpret which is the worst thing the media has the ability to persuade because they can turn something real into something that is totally fictitious but to our eyes can seem real. Our eyes are vulnerable into turning into a prison house perceiving all these lies that the media shows us.
Plato had many ideas that not only related to reality but the branches of reality and the things we see everyday might not even be real, “…how could they see anything but the shadows if they were never allowed to move their heads” (Plato 1). The shadows again represent all the lies that media tells us and we can never turn back because since the media is so widespread and everyone believes what they tell us, for the reason that their job is entitled to. The persuasion and effect that it has n humans is ruining the existence of us as a whole because the vulnerable we get the worse the world will get. Our human existence is in crisis because of the influence the media has on us. When we see things the media shows us in commercials we react and get greedy so we want more things. The media has the power for humans to react a certain way or to change the beliefs and ways that we each are used to, “the “media” seems to be invisible, anonymous, everywhere and all-powerful???saturating us, and, at the same time, completely beyond us” (Esdale 1).
The media has become an important factor in defining our future because it is always one step ahead of us but yet it has the ability to be ‘invisible’. When the time comes and we all realize that what we thought was true that was going on around the world was all a lie it will affect every single one of us, “will he not fancy that the shadows which he formerly saw are truer than the objects which are now shown to him” (Plato 1).
This would be the first reaction that someone would have when they found out that the shadows which are the lies that are overcast upon us are not real, they would be likely believe what they did before then what all these new things that are known as the true realities. The reaction would be so astonishing, “When he approaches the light his eyes will be dazzled, and he will not be able to see anything at all of what are now called realities” (Plato 1).
The light represents the truth coming towards him but his eyes won’t know how to react because they have been manipulated to believe in something else, but yet he still won’t be able to see these new truths. Plato had proven his theories with valuable information and it still affects us today in many areas of human experience. The media is important to what will happen even people don’t come to realize and identify fact from fiction. The media has the power to utilize us in manipulating us through television, persuading to believe in something, and it is starting to influence human existence.
The world needs to question itself and speak up or else the power that is behind the lens will one day control us. Works Cited Esdale, Logan. “Living Under Media Influence” 15 June 2000. <http://epc. buffalo. edu/ezines/rust/1/lumi. html> Finkelstein, Mark. “Up a Creek: Accusing Bush of Video Stunt, ‘Today’ Gets Caught in Stunt of Its Own” NewsBusters. 14 Oct. 2005. <http://newsbusters. org/node/2199> Swinton, John. “Media Blacks Out the Facts or ‘We are intellectual prostitutes'” Heall. 1995. <http://www. heall. com/medicalfreedom/mediablackout. html>