Great stuff, but I reckoned I knew what was coming from the second sentence: “I think maybe the media is just getting better at making us all feel like the world is little more than a collection of 7 billion whining people-organism-things.”
The fact is that nothing makes me feel. Things happen and I feel. It’s natural response, a natural sequence of events, not a compulsory response. What I do with the emotion that arises in me is my business, and if I am feeling sane and balanced, my emotional responses do not dictate my next action. My personal autonomy, such as it may be possible, depends on my recognition that nothing compels me to feel any specific emotion, and that my emotions, surprising and extraordinary as they may be, arise naturally. I own my own emotions and I am responsible for any action I take that may follow from them.
There is also a difference between a thought and an emotion. For example: “feel like the world is little more than a collection of 7 billion whining people-organism-things” is a thought, not an emotion. Accurately describing emotions is quite difficult; the number of single words that comfortably end the sentence which begins “I feel … ” is surprisingly small. (Bear in mind that “like-a-gin-and-tonic” is not an emotion.)
The key to the media’s attempts at emotional manipulation (which are incessant) lies in the fundamental fallacy that it seeks to perpetrate: that it/they, the media, can make you feel. If they can convince you of that, they have 99 per cent succeeded in whatever else they want to do, and they have removed a vital part of your personal autonomy.
My alarm bells ring loud whenever I hear someone say that he, she, they or it “makes me feel”. I know that I am listening to someone who has just surrendered a key part of themselves.