What goes in, comes out

Stabroek News
October 1, 2001

Dear Editor,

When I listen to the radio and television newscasts and when I read the newspapers, I wonder what are some of the root causes of so many negative complexities in our society today. But I think the following lines will reveal part of the answer as to why such problems exist.

Man is commonly considered to be composed of body, soul and spirit, and the soul is composed of mind, emotion and will. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the mind is defined as "the seat of consciousness, thought, volition and feeling." It is often thought to be part of the core of man, and that whatever we feed the mind with, that is what we will become.

According to science, the output of a system is proportional to the input into that system. For example, whatever information we get out of a computer system depends on what instructions and data we input into the computer. So it is with the very complex concept that is called 'the mind.' Therefore, whatever gets into the mind will be reflected by attitudes and actions, positive or negative in nature. Attitudes and actions are 'windows' of what's going on in the mind.

Hence, to evoke positive behavioural patterns, positive information must be fed into the mind. But what do we feed into the mind? We receive information through our five senses, but especially through sight and hearing, from diverse sources - radio, magazines, newspapers, textbooks, television, internet, etc. From the perspective of the users, the negative aspects of information should be avoided or sifted out, while the positive and profitable aspects should be received and utilized. But obviously all stakeholders should play a part in the production and dissemination of good information.

What do we feed into the mind? Aren't our leaders, particularly managers and practitioners of media houses, aware of the garbage that is peddled in our newspapers and electronic media? I firmly believe that the media has a great and responsible role to play in shaping public thinking and livelihood.

I venture to say that some of the very things that we publish or advertise are deadly threats to the well-being of individuals, families and the nation at large. They subtly take root in the mind and manifest in the ugly crimes that we are becoming so accustomed to on a daily basis.

Do you think that morality and sanity should be sacrificed for materialistic gains? The late Mohandas K Gandhi wrote an article to the effect that we will be "foredoomed to failure" if we get trapped in the get-rich quick syndrome.

Do we have to go to a university to learn such a simple lesson? Obviously not.

Many of us may not actively take part in some of the wrongs that are perpetrated in our society, but we are secret accomplices when we condone or turn a blind eye to them. This situation is implied in the Guyanese proverb, "cow nah eat pepper but he dung does mek mould fuh am."

May these few lines serve to remind Guyanese, moreso the responsible ones, that we need to streamline (for example, through the Broadcasting Act) what we publish via the media, lest our society continue to degenerate into the gutter.

I look for ward to seeing some steps being taken, through the Broadcasting Act and by all stakeholders, to facilitate the publishing of enlightening programmes, clean advertisements and unbiased news.

Yours faithfully,

Randolph Sue