The Root of Entertainment
The word entertainment stems from the 15c Old French word entretenir. It then meant to keep up, maintain, to keep someone in a certain frame of mind. And entertaining or hosting a guest in our home is another definition where the goal is to make guests happy. From there, it evolved to mean to capture the attention and interest of an audience. And sometimes, the meaning also included providing distraction.
Psychologists believe the function of media entertainment is achieving gratification. No other results or measurable benefit are usually expected from it.
Today, media and advertising are omnipresent in our lives. Some people believe that platforms like Facebook and Instagram are free. But the truth is that most we believe are “free” are making billions in revenue in exchange of valuable information about us. Cookies used to be sugar buzzes but today we can’t visit a website without accepting cookies that don’t provide a sugar high. And target ads our way.
Search engines make money by getting searchers to click on ads. Google’s revenue is largely made up by advertising revenue, which amounted to $US209.49 billion in 2021.
Overwhelmed by Entertainment
We may have more television channels and streaming platforms but what is the quality of what entertains us? And does it entertain, distract or generate more fear of the unknown? There is a plethora of zombie movies, murder mysteries, serial killer documentaries, forensic detective shows sprinkled with comedies, romance, horror and science fiction.
There is a reason it’s called programming and yet, we get to choose what we consume and feed on. Trauma and doom are everywhere. And then there’s also reality TV, sports and 24/7 “news” programs.
Often today’s media paranoia reinforces the thoughts that we should be fearful and that we are not safe. And more of us are trusting the media less. We don’t buy into the programs of doom and gloom, and are finding new and ancient sources for conversation, dialogue and connection. Instead of non-stop programming—with never-ending trauma playing out on screens—we are making healthier choices. We’re not even talking about what’s fake and real because it is another distraction.
We begin to unravel the fear that no longer supports us by not buying into whatever we’re being fed by our sources of media. We understand that while a friend posts photos of rainbows and unicorns, they may be massively depressed. The external projection does not match their true state of mind. But in a world of social media, not much has changed from advertising and broadcasting—apart for it being far more personal in our networks.
Following the Crowd
And yet so many people prefer to accept things as they are. The tendency is to go along with what other people think as it is much easier in their minds to follow the crowd. They don’t want to make waves by thinking for themselves or going against the grain. When we are the same as those around us, we want to be accepted and safe.
But, at the same time, on the edges, about seven percent of the eight billion people on the planet are no longer following the status quo. We have found a different path where we trust our intuition and honor our path with curiosity and courage.
The need for being entertained is being replaced by gathering and having dialogue. There is a thirst for connection and conversation about things outside the norm. And it’s not about fighting the system or saving the world any more. Those are old programs meant to separate and divide us.
Bucky Fuller shares, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Despite the current chaos and the darkness, we see opportunities to take a healthy path. Nothing is taboo to dig into and question.
What’s Beyond Entertainment?
What’s fascinating is that we can choose to be entertained or we can nourish ourselves. We can go for walks, plant seeds, and connect with people in our communities. Nothing is stopping us except ourselves.Perhaps we can build local eco-communities that are needed with experiential, value-exchange economies?
Maybe instead of ingesting these streaming programs, we can birth life into experiencing books, music, gatherings, gardens, forests, communities and economies? Perhaps we can create a new wave of experiences (and not entertainment) for our children that help them become thoughtful opportunity-creators?
When we build the foundation we need for a healthy world, we choose what we give energy to and where we invest ourselves. Whatever we consciously give energy to is what we will keep seeing and experiencing in our world.
And we are freeing ourselves to create ways to govern that actually meet our needs from food to shelter and how we live in community.
As an increasing number of people hold a healthy vision for our individual and collective world, we will create the structures we need to support us. When we trust ourselves, and each other, there is no room for fear. We don’t need to be hooked into any programs or dogma or stories. We simply remember we are here to imagine and create.