When we are going through separation and divorce, for some time we become vulnerable to the internal noise of overthinking, over analysis and amplification, but also to subconscious conditioning from sources outside of ourselves too.
Given the saturative influence of the media, film and music industry, it’s well worth considering the effect that the content of these sources will have on us.
I’ve spoken in a previous video about the garbage-in, garbage-out phenomenon, but today I want to focus on the entertainment industry in particular, whose role is no longer to inspire us to be our best selves, but, with very few exceptions, to hypnotise us into manipulable and submissive morons, while indoctrinating us with the behavioural cues that suit some societal narrative rather than our own.
So in today’s video I want to pick apart some of the not-even so subtle messages that the music and movie industry are pumping into your head, and give you some ideas, as a single dad, how you can take back control of what you allow yourself to watch and listen to.
When I was going through separation, I found myself very sensitive to images, commercials and movies that portrayed men as idiots, incompetent and especially to the suggestion that they needed women to sort out the problems they found themselves in. The more I paid attention to this dawning perception, the more obvious and sinister it seemed. Maybe I was just creating a positive feedback loop, but I don’t think it was at all a figment of my imagination. Rather I think it is part of an orchestrated cultural attempt at empowering women, by contrastingly disempowering men.
Now, I’m all for empowering women, and for the record, I’m all for equal opportunity and equal pay for equal work (which, at least in Australia is enshrined in law anyway); but there seemed to be not just an emphasis on raising the image of women, but a parallel and insidious degradation of men and masculinity and dads in particular – as if this process were a zero sum game, which it is not.
Movies, TV shows and commercials that portray women as strong and competent seem to increasingly contrast this with incompetent, weak and buffoonish men. Movies can be a bit more subtle, but if you pay attention, you’ll soon see plenty of evidence of the dismantling of male competence.
Take James Bond for example.
It used to be he was the kind of man than men wanted to be like, and women wanted to be with.
Bond was always cool, calm, collected; he dealt with the evil around him in a detached, aloof and even humorous manner. He had a cheeky sense of humour that we all loved. The women were glamorous, equally intelligent, powerful and sexy. Bond was patriotic to a fault, loyal to his comrades and his violence was righteous. His flaws were few, and well controlled.
Nowadays, in an attempt to make him more “relatable”, and less “unidimensional”, he gets thrashed to a pulp almost to the point of death on a regular basis; the villains are way smarter than he is, always keeping him on the back foot and their back stories are designed to evoke an empathy that makes them even more sympathetic to us than our hero.
There are frequent references to his physical frailties and ageing; he carries significant emotional baggage from his childhood and failed loves; he has an alcohol problem along with other psychotic issues of ill-discipline and self-control; he is manipulative and unthoughtful to his comrades, and those typically “toxic masculinity” qualities we keep being browbeaten over- like a lust for violence and objectification of women, are portrayed in an increasingly pathological way in him.
Meanwhile, producers have no qualms about portraying Q as a unidimensional archetypical subservient beta, asexual nerd. He lacks any of the paternal superiority of the old Q, nor does the old Q feel trapped inside an oppressive and manipulative institution. Unlike the new Q, with his passive aggressive resentment of Bond, the old Q knows his worth, and is supportive of James, but chastises him like he were his father.
Of course, its not all black and white, and there are some positives there as well, but Bond is no longer the inspirational fantasy and escapism character that he used to be. This is the whole point. Our movie characters, like modern art, no longer aim to inspire us, or carry our imaginations away from our mundane lives; but rather they aim to put up a mirror to us to remind us how vulgar and pathetic we really are. Even our superheros are pathetic in their own way – so that somehow makes them more relatable. No wonder we’re all depressed.
I came across an entertaining and relevant video on youtube by The Critical Drinker that echoes my sentiments:
Think about many of the other films you’ve watched over the last 30 years and you could probably number on one hand the number of them that focus on the positive projection of archetypal masculine characteristics, or that had a truly positive ending for the hero.
Be very careful about the movies you watch, because when you are in that relaxed theta mental state, you become an easy target for hypnotic suggestion into the subconscious. Make sure the inputs you choose to view relate to material that empowers YOU, not the prevailing cultural paradigm. Be very careful. When you are in a state of depression, you want to watch movies that have a positive ending, because your current objective is to raise yourself into a positive ending.
And now lets delve into the music industry because I find it even more interesting.
Singing about lost love, loneliness and betrayal is as old as mankind itself, and some things never change. Beautiful, soulful music can be healing, and remind us that we aren’t going through our struggles alone. But throughout the ages, music hasn’t just focussed on those themes. There was also the love of homeland and country; pride in ancestors; respect for elders; pushing through hard times; not giving up; the power of mateship and doing the right thing.
I noticed in my own vulnerable state, that I had become quite sensitive to the kind of music and lyrics that had men pining away for lost love, lost hope and loneliness; but especially to the kind of lyrics that had men declaring they would kill themselves for their lovers, or that their lives were now worthless that they were alone. That they would do anything to make them stay. I found I just couldn’t listen to those kinds of songs, because they made my depression even worse. On some deeper level I knew that it was untrue, but the repetitiveness of the message only reinforced my sense of depression and isolation.
Now I’m not suggesting that this is a typically male phenomenon in music. It’s a theme that has run rampant with both male and female performers, and disturbingly, is especially common in the artists that appeal to teens and young adults. The sombre and suicidal tones pervading the ether nowadays are disturbing to any parent who might accidentally see a music video by one of their kid’s heroes.
There is the odd exception especially among female artists to portray the “I will survive” theme, but rather than focus on her own personal growth, most of the songs and related video clips graphically portray images of vengeance, bloodlust and misandry on a scale that would make even the most misogynistic of gangster rappers raise an eyebrow – probably because they wouldn’t get away with it themselves, let alone win a Grammy for it.
On the other hand, try and think of a male version of “I will survive”. Good luck.
So here, as in Hollywood, we need to be aware of the lyrics and tone of music that is being promoted. When was the last time you heard a patriotic song about your country? What about a song reminiscing about your childhood, or time spent with Dad, or Grand-dad? Or a lads party anthem that celebrated mateship and good times? Or heaven forbid, reference to a higher power?
No, there isn’t much of that all, and they certainly wont win any Grammys as we clamour to virtue signal our allegiance to all things non masculine, non Western and non-patriarchal.
So you have to take it upon yourself to become aware of the undercurrent in our entertainment industry, and to take control of what you watch, and what you choose to listen to.
When you’re in a state of separation depression, stop listening to music that makes you feel worse, or wallow in self pity. You already over think everything and probably blame yourself far more than you should.
Listen to music that inspires you, that empowers you, that reminds you to be proud of who you are and where you live. Listen to music that offers you hope and reflects on the good things, and good people you have in your life. Decide to only allow into your subconscious the kind of material that will help you repair the damage that has been done to you, so you can live a better life than you one you left behind.
To that end, I want to help out by creating a spotify playlist that only includes music that serves that purpose, and I welcome you to subscribe to it and offer your own suggestions for inclusion. My only requirement is that you not recommend songs that promote hatred or violence toward any other person. Leave your suggestions in the comments section, or email them to infoATtriariusproject.com (insert the @ symbol instead of AT).
You’ll need to set up a free spotify account, and then do a search for Triarius Project, where you’ll see the playlist.
Tightly controlling what I watched and listened to greatly helped me to overcome the depression that set in during my own separation and I’m sure it will help you too.