Sunday, September 23, 2007

Living with Questions in practice (Visa Ad)

In question one--"Does What I Think Really Matter?"--of Living with Questions, I explain the endless diversions we have in the Wild that keep us from searching for Home. These diversions often silence our most important questions.

In the list of questions to explore at the end of the chapter, one of them reads:

Hunt for Jedi Mind Tricks. Watch your favorite TV show. Pay close attention to the commercials. Whom are they trying to convince? What are advertisers trying to get you to believe?

Today, a reader of Living with Questions came across this magazine advertisement and he immediately thought of chapter one and sent me the following from Visa (click pic to enlarge):

Notice what is in the picture. It's the New York City skyline redrawn in endless electronics. And many of those electronics are for music (a diversion I cover in chaper 1 as well).

Note what is written in the bottom left.

What belief is this advertisement pushing? The Jedi Mind Trick is that electronics are 'essential' for 'modern living.' So if you don't have them, you aren't 'modern.' And, 'modern' is another way of saying 'up-to-date' or 'with-the-times' or 'relevant.'

To compound the ad, Visa isn't selling you electronics. They are selling you a loan at a high interest rate. So the 'essentials' to being 'modern' are within reach and Visa dupes the reader (especially the lower-income reader who needs loans to have such 'essentials') as it takes your money to the bank.

The truth is most electronics are not 'essential.' Food is 'essential.' Love is 'essential.' Electronics are not 'essential.' They are mere luxuries that often divert us from real life and the things that matter.

And 'modern living' is an illusion. We're still the same kind of humans that existed 5,000 years ago. The only thing modern is our technology. But our souls still need the same answers they needed in the ancient days.

Will we be tricked into ignoring we're connected to a larger story?

The diversions are endless in the Wild. Keep an eye out for them on your journey Home.


Paul said...

znI've always been a techno-nerd of sorts and thought I really needed the newest gadgets. Over the span of two years I bought 5 new phones just because a newer and cooler one came out. Now that I've canceled my cell phone plan altogether, it's even easier to see how ridiculous it was to dump so much money into a phone.

It's nice to be unattached and still be free of the guilty 'I should turn my phone back on' feelings. Maybe the internet will be next...

Dale Fincher said...

Wow, Paul, you got rid of your cell? You know some electronic things are necessary, given the world we are in and how so much commerce is done.

That's cool not to have that 'I should turn my phone back on' feeling... of course I only get that feeling when I'm away from Jonalyn and I think she may need to phone me. But, as it is, I hate the phone otherwise.

Paul said...

We realized there aren't many times when we are apart and both aren't at home. So even though I got rid of my cell, I still end up taking Tina's with me if I have to run errands and she's staying at the house. It's been a pain a couple of times, but not enough to spend the extra $45 a month on an additional phone.

I keep trying to remind myself that my parents got along just fine without all the electronics. That at least makes me seriously consider if my electronics are needs or just wants (but most of the time the 'wants' still win out!).