With the resources we all possess, Google, information, unlimited in its availability where is our cultural evolution taking us? Awareness, consciousness, Mindfulness are all words that come up time and time again by the pioneers of the cultural evolution of which we are (consciously or not) now apart.
The free movement of information is the cyclone at the centre of this development as long as the interconnectivity of the planet increases, globalisation, travel, accessibility by-products of this shift will only serve to make it more obvious.
Our pioneers stretch out now in a global network of digital faces and personalities. Joe Rogan and a small community of comedians in Los Angeles all produce podcasts which are literally forming a cohesive tapestry of our development, charting, analysing and exposing ideas which our societies have and are clinging to in the face of an ever more enlightened present. Themes such as political structures, spirituality and religion, evolution and the role of psychedelics, consciousness, human optimisation and even historical narratives and conventional social constructs are regularly brought up and questioned from a myriad of perspectives and people.
“The quicker we all realise that we’ve been taught how to live life by people that were operating on the momentum of an ignorant past the quicker we can move to a global ethic of a community that doesn’t value invented borders or the monopolization of natural resources but rather the goal of a happier more loving humanity.” Joe Rogan
This relatively new form of media which has been broadcasting only in the last decade is itself a product of our technological progress, dismantling the thirty minute to an hour segments of traditional programming and replacing them with up to three hour conversations. Where guests and subjects are given time to explain abstract ideas or chart their visions and life works, connecting listener and guest in a platform which can expose influences which would never traditionally have been given air time by corporate media, beholden to advertisers and investors.
This one podcast example regularly out performs mainstream T.V shows and has received up to 9million downloads in one month from a broad spectrum of society both in America and internationally. The fact that Chris Ryan, author of Sex At Dawn New York Times bestseller, appeared on both Joe Rogan and Duncan Trussels’ podcast and went on to form his own podcast Tangentially Speaking shortly after only serves to reassert how powerful this platform is. But beyond the platform what guests and hosts say varies greatly, themes appear though when subjects such as political establishments, the future and what aspects of our culture are outdated are brought up.
“Our cultures domesticate us for obscure purposes, nurturing and encouraging certain aspects of our behaviour and tendencies while seeking to eliminate those that might be disruptive.” Chris Ryan
The Podcast community surrounding Rogan; Ari Shaffir, Duncan Trussell, Chris Ryan, Danielli Bolleli are at the brink of the worlds cultural and ideological change, while at the same time other examples of these themes appear in similar formats in other countries. Russell Brands’ The Trews berates mainstream media outlets for similar reasons to the LA podcast circuit and uses ten minute YouTube videos to cross examine news stories and other current events through a perspective of modern day compassion flavoured with eastern philosophy; Regularly exposing the propagandist elements of tabloids and the ignorance encouraged by media bandying sensationalist language around.
However it is not just alternative comedians who have been given a platform which isn’t tied to corporate sponsors’ through our technological interconnectivity. Ex CNN journalist Amber Lyon after experiencing the self censorship of media first hand resigned and has appeared on multiple podcasts since as witness to the humanitarian crises in Bahrain, Amber has launched her own website since her departure from CNN calling for the legalisation of drugs with medicinal properties including Ayowaska and charting her use and journey with the corporate media and the institutional attitude towards psychedelic drug use.
Another journalist Abbey Martin has seen significant success through internet broadcasting of her show Breaking the Set where she explores recent news stories without the limiting influence of national corporate backing, since the show airs on Russia Today Abby has editorial freedom other journalists simply cannot have when they are under threat by the advertiser’s investment being withdrawn over controversial stories.
The way that news and media is branded, packaged and filtered to the public is changing as a practically unlimited number of alternative news providers are now available, censorship is becoming harder and the prioritisation of particular viewpoints is becoming more transparent. And without a traditional narrative of separation being pushed, and as we are ever closer ideologically and digitally to our neighbours around the world, humanitarian crises and conflicts are harder to shy away from.
Nongovernmental organisations are gaining traction as social media propounds a way to make a change from a behind a keyboard and a screen. Avaaz is one of these international NGO’s which refuse donations from foundations or corporations and actually limit donations to $5000 depending solely on the generosity of the individual. Avaaz champions social action and is representative of the cultural shift which is happening, bypassing the age old key holders of information, the institutions, the stakeholders, the profiteers, the politicians, the corporations and heading straight for the individual recognising our basic need for togetherness global consciousness.
“Since 2007 Avaaz has launched hundreds of global and national campaigns. Relying on its fast-expanding international community of members Avaaz has worked to fight corruption in India, Italy and Brazil, protect the world’s oceans, rainforests and endangered wildlife, defend internet and media freedoms, and foster the democratic spirit at the heart of the Arab spring uprisings.” Wiki 2014
Even politically, activists such as Julian Assange with Wikileaks and Edward Snowden with revelations about the NSA and GCHQ have changed the way our society thinks about information and surveillance. They have proposed a question of how much power do we want our governments and media to have? And by default they have asked if with our new technology we are not capable of governing ourselves, becoming our own peacekeepers and restarting the cultural shaming which would have happened when our domestic tribes and societies numbered in the hundreds instead of the tens of millions. Digital tribes in a social change that echoes the Beat generation and Hippi subculture of the 60’s from the false start of consciousness raising practices, the attempt of an alternative press and communalism, an exploration of eastern mysticism to alternative states of consciousness…Where are the limits of where we are heading?
“Fuck this shit universe filled with festering blackness, and swarming with shallow, single-mided humans focused on crystallizing aspects of the material universe and putting it into their bank accounts, transmuting real experience into imaginary numbers, which then they ascribe to how good they’re doing, like some evil satanic score.” Duncan Trussell
“If you have inside of you the sweetness that comes from an understanding of how incredible where we’re going is, your head could be made of cat turds, and you would still be a million times more appealing than someone who is attractive but inside is filled with psychic cat turds.” Duncan Trussell