Week 5

26 Mar

How is our reality established? And how do we know what is real?

I’ve been beginning to notice that our reality is heavily influenced by what is central to us, what we perceive as valuable, in short what connects to us on some level. One example of a constructed reality really affected me lately; this was a report by journalist William Daniels for TIME magazine. He recalled his ordeal escaping form Syria.

Now how many of you can say you know what is happening in Syria?

I would like to say I have an understanding of the issue. That I have constructed a reality of what is happening there.

I follow it in the media, and so construct a sense on reality of the situation.

For example: Escape from SyriaWilliam Daniels photo Essay- Syrian conflict

I continually engage with online galleries.

I read reports on possible NATO interventions.

But do I really understand the situation?

I am questioning my reality and my perception of the events in Syria. This is because my experiences have emerged with the world, a world that the media had mediated for me. It has therefore been depicting my reality of an event.

Daniels escaped from the conflict that killed two of his colleagues and injured another.

He makes two significant points:

1. Our perception and reality is contextualized. We see the reality of an event in relation how it is connected to us.

2. The media intervenes in our reality construction process, producing a limited view of the real.

Daniels says, ““The real story is not us. “It’s the Syrian people”.”

“It is unfortunately, a story that cannot yet be told in full.”

Here we are given a limited view of the reality, due to Syria’s government’s censorship. But importantly in this analysis, we are given a story of Syrian conflict contextualized due to the Western journalists involved.

“The ordeal of Western journalists has gripped the worlds attention while hundreds of residents in Bab Amr have been killed. The people they left behind may have well been slaughtered by the Syrian army…” says Daniels.

Daniels claims that because he is a Westerner, Syria was put in the media spotlight. But this is a sad truth of cultural proximity. It is also the sad truth of how our reality is affected by our relationship with the content. How it links to us, how we identify with it. The atrocities and raging war in Syria was linked with a Westerner, the truth of the event, the mass murders and government corruption is therefore left out of the spotlight.

Murphy reinforces this, “While it may not affect us it is communicating to us in a relational way.” The images in the article of Daniels related to me, they evoked personalization.

I was affected and utterly moved by this article. This is because I could perceive it in my limited reality. Journalist student-relates to working journalists. I cannot though relate to the Syrian people dealing with mass persecution of their race by their own government. Therefore my reality of the event is so far separated from the real, it is completely limited.

The media helps to reinforce my limited reality by exposing me to stories that I would relate to. Like the Daniels article.

So what does this mean?

Am I ignorant?

I don’t think so, although I try to engage with mediums that show this conflict I cannot contextualize it in my memory, experience and reality. SO I will remain within a limited reality. I am caught in a limited reality trying to deal with a complex one. I can understand the plight of Daniels; I can modulate this media experience.


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