We are living in the Age of Mental Graffiti. Whether you realize it or not, vandals are continuing, every moment of every day of your life, to scrawl their personal messages and vision of the world on the pristine wall of your brain.
People who put graffiti on trains, buildings, sidewalks and walls are souls screaming to be "heard" by someone - anyone at all. I remember Paris, not that long ago, when it had no graffiti like New York City. Today, the most beautiful historic buildings are covered with the scrawl of a thousand souls who feel comfortable defacing someone else's property with their own message.
I believe there is a reason for the rise in graffiti and it isn't just because it's considered "cool" or "artistic" now. I believe it is because we live in such a materialistic society dominated by corporate interests that have so abused our gentle brains that we have become enraged. We fight back by disrespecting private property and by yelling in spray-painted words.
I am old enough to remember the days when there was just one 60-second commercial on the hour! Slowly, this morphed into two ads, then a couple of ads on the half hour, then every 15 minutes. Now, all you have to do is turn on the television - at any time during the day or night - and surf 50 channels without finding a station that isn't airing an advertisement. Television has turned into one giant cesspool brain-washing machine. Slowly, I am losing my appetite to be mentally abused.
Television is not the only place where strangers are scribbling on the walls of your consciousness. All you have to do is try to read a newspaper online and you must fight your way through a maze of pop-up commercials and video-ads next to the text jumping up and down with ridiculous imagery like a young child fighting to compete with your attention. It is annoying. Look on the floor of your supermarket while you are trying to focus among the shelves of screaming labels, colors, products, and packaging, and you will see large, flat advertisements. The situation has become so bad you cannot even avert your eyes to a restful place. They have stolen the quiet moments of peace from your brain! Your telephone has become a new way for these vandals to intrude into your brain. Park benches, barn walls, inserts in your mail and billing statements, airplane banners at the beach, candy wrappers - everywhere you look, the ad merchants have scribbled their messages. Going to the movies is no longer a place to watch the movie you came to watch. You must first be subjected to 10-15 minutes of advertisements for products and other movies. You are, as usual, a captive audience.
If you are wondering why our politics have become so polarized in this country, just look at "opinionated" or "editorialized" news programs. They are screaming their opinions. There is no more polite conversation because of the chronic failure, and now inability, to listen. Sound-bytes beget violent opinions. Quiet tolerance is simply not newsworthy. This is another form of Mental Graffiti.
Of course, there is also visual Mental Graffiti. Architects of the "loudest," most efficient, cheapest types of buildings, such as hideous yellow or red gas stations, fast-food restaurants with giant arches, cartoonish plastic icons, discount box stores, and so on. These attack my peaceful countryside or town. They are a strategic assault on my senses. I do not want to look, but I am compelled.
Here's the problem with this as I see it.
- This kind of mental abuse prevents us from connecting with our feelings, thoughts, and environment.
- It kills our peace of mind and any ability to meditate. Without meditation and peace, we are no longer spiritual beings.
- It implants the idea that we have needs and desires that do not belong to us. This, ultimately, inspires unhealthy greed and human greed will bring about Armageddon - or, if you don't like that terminology, let's just call it the End of a Sustainable Earth.
- Your thoughts become muddled and confused. Your brain chatter becomes someone else's chatter.