Blackspot

Junk Thought

What is pollution?


What is pollution?

In the 14th century, pollution had an exclusively spiritual and immaterial meaning. Back then, to pollute meant to desecrate or contaminate what is sacred, such as one's soul or moral sensibility. Not until the late 19th century did pollution take on the scientific and materialist connotation it has today.

Tragically, with the changing meaning of ‘pollution,’ we've become increasingly concerned about contamination of our external, natural environment, while ignoring the desecration of our internal, mental environment.

Although you would never intentionally ingest poison, many of us continue to consume toxic information and visual pollution everyday, thousands of times per day.

Advertising is an info-toxin, a symbolic pollutant that targets our mental environment.

Junk food makes us obese, but junk thoughts and advertisements may harm us more. Unlike fast food, whose consumption is always intentional, fast thoughts hit us unawares.

Walking down the street, our eyes devour billboards whose carefully crafted imagery hit us on a subconscious, spiritual level. We are poisoned by each ad.

Concern over the mental environment isn’t new. Generations ago, the French writer Emile Zola wrote the satirical short story, “Death by Advertising” as a warning. It describes the swift decline of Pierre Landry, a naïve believer in the claims made by advertisers.

Throughout his life, Pierre suffered hardship because he bought whatever advertisers told him was best.

He overpaid for a paper-thin mansion on swampland, lost his hair because of a tonic and suffered health problems from popping pharmaceutical pills.

Pierre organized his bookshelves based on sales rank, reading only the newspaper reviews and the back cover of a book to discover what he ought to think about it.

Losing his ability to think critically and full of half-formed ideas inherited from the ads he saw, Pierre, poisoned by advertising, died a moron’s death.

Today, we are all Pierre Landry. Advertising has poisoned our minds, corrupted our culture and turned us away from the noble pursuits of virtue, wisdom and the stewardship of nature.

Now, we seek only the ephemeral pleasures of consumerism: new gadgets and twit thoughts.

Advertising obscures our vision, preventing us from seeing that because of our over-consumption, our civilization is marching toward ecological collapse.

Now we must gather the strength to launch an insurrection against corporate communication. Only then will a movement to protect our mental environment catch flame.

This video is the result of a collaboration between the visionary artists at Smart Bubble Society and Micah White, Contributing Editor at Adbusters.

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20 comments on the article “Junk Thought”

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Anonymous

Hey I am a young student, just beginning to think about these sort of things.
I see your point, our lives are guided by advertisements and the consumer sublime is
extremely powerful.
Nevertheless, what do you propose?
Companies are not going to stop advertising.
Yes, if we are aware of their control in our lives it may make a little difference in our actions.
But ultimately, I feel like in many cases buying in could be the only consumer choice.
Example: at any concert or event the only food products available are that of Coca-Cola or Pepsi. Two huge corporations.
So you can't boycott these products here.

Essentially: what is " an insurrection against corporate communication"?
Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated as I'm trying to expand my thinking here.
Thanks

Anonymous

Hey I am a young student, just beginning to think about these sort of things.
I see your point, our lives are guided by advertisements and the consumer sublime is
extremely powerful.
Nevertheless, what do you propose?
Companies are not going to stop advertising.
Yes, if we are aware of their control in our lives it may make a little difference in our actions.
But ultimately, I feel like in many cases buying in could be the only consumer choice.
Example: at any concert or event the only food products available are that of Coca-Cola or Pepsi. Two huge corporations.
So you can't boycott these products here.

Essentially: what is " an insurrection against corporate communication"?
Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated as I'm trying to expand my thinking here.
Thanks

Anonymous

The only real hope, Anonymous, and what Adbusters (I believe)_ actively endeavors to do, is to balance the trend of corporate domination (the moneyed collective troweling over the minds of human beings to form a self-serving economic mindscape) with individuals attuned, willing and capable of casting off that shroud and live the wildness that gained our ancestors survival, our modicum of intelligence, and our history beauty.

We must be smarter than ad campaigns, and we must be unafraid to shape our environment to reflect the world in which we wish to live. God(tm) bless the Sharpie(tm) and nimble minds/digits.

Anonymous

The only real hope, Anonymous, and what Adbusters (I believe)_ actively endeavors to do, is to balance the trend of corporate domination (the moneyed collective troweling over the minds of human beings to form a self-serving economic mindscape) with individuals attuned, willing and capable of casting off that shroud and live the wildness that gained our ancestors survival, our modicum of intelligence, and our history beauty.

We must be smarter than ad campaigns, and we must be unafraid to shape our environment to reflect the world in which we wish to live. God(tm) bless the Sharpie(tm) and nimble minds/digits.

Just.Get.Over.It.

"Advertising has poisoned our minds, corrupted our culture and turned us away from the noble pursuits"

Corrupted "our culture"? Please, tell me what is this culture in which you believe should be imposed on everyone? Cultures change. This is nothing new. The world has become a wonderful place where billions of actors are free to puruse a great many different goals (buying, selling, investing, in whatever they so chose). Many such pursuits werre unthinkable to previsou generations, but here we are making it happen. Amazing!

If you see no value in a certain product then don't buy it. That doesn't mean everyone who buys it is a brainwashed moron. The world is a global marketplace. It represents the diversity of humanity, and such diversity should be embraced, not shunned. We are moving forward, not backward.

Just.Get.Over.It.

"Advertising has poisoned our minds, corrupted our culture and turned us away from the noble pursuits"

Corrupted "our culture"? Please, tell me what is this culture in which you believe should be imposed on everyone? Cultures change. This is nothing new. The world has become a wonderful place where billions of actors are free to puruse a great many different goals (buying, selling, investing, in whatever they so chose). Many such pursuits werre unthinkable to previsou generations, but here we are making it happen. Amazing!

If you see no value in a certain product then don't buy it. That doesn't mean everyone who buys it is a brainwashed moron. The world is a global marketplace. It represents the diversity of humanity, and such diversity should be embraced, not shunned. We are moving forward, not backward.

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