Shootings are interesting now because death happens and is not news, but if death is by a SHOOTER I feel fear even though it’s a thousand miles away, if not across the ocean. It’s as if our collective mind, which is our nervous system, is wired to a Media heart monitor that stimulates are nervous response and shows it back to us, like the one in the hospital. Media News has become an interactive fear feed-back loop since 9/11. Every shooting is like a 9/11 reenactment. I feel vulnerable to attack, even though I’m not under attack.
This is just the way media news operates, the side-effect of real-time news. Print news did not have this side-effect, this instant collective fear response. The news was a day old and in print. It was information, not emotion.
When there is tension in the plates of the earth, there are earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Mass shootings are eruptions that are the result of tension in the plates of reality in America.
Look at America as a collective mind. When there is an external threat like in WWII, that collective is united, focused and works as one mind. But today the American mind is divided into two separate and opposite plates of reality, and these plates strain to separate themselves, but at the same time there is the stronger pull of the One mind trying to restore its unity. There can only be One America, but there are now Two Americas, and that cannot be. We fought a civil war over this, but here it is again.
The rubbing of these two Americas together creates earthquakes, and these earthquakes are felt as tremors in each of our bodies and mind. Are our mass shootings now the pimples on the face of an adolescent who is caught between the plates of childhood and adulthood? Pimples and mass shootings are eruptions caused by a hidden tension of two worlds each with a different frame of reference. The facts of the world are the same but each world infers a different meaning from the same facts. This creates a neurosis, a fissure in the One America that tries to heal itself by creating a greater split.
The Mass Shooter is acting out a death wish for he always ends up dead. That is the point. Why not just shoot yourself? That is not the meaning of the mass shooting; it’s not just a suicide, although that is the end.
This is a collective suicide, a shooting that has a different reference then our normal suicide which is a private event. This is a social event.
Mass Shootings are metaphorical rituals. By metaphor, I mean that there are two meanings of the Mass Shooting. One meaning is literal, the facts of the event. The other meaning, hidden when we can only look at the literal facts, references the totality, of the America in which the event takes place. In the metaphor, the foreground or real even and the invisible background are brought together as a dynamic unity, which is revealed. Ahah! America is the cause of the Mass Shooting. And today America is Media. We are all plugged into a mass media that delivers a shooting in real-time as a personal and impersonal emotional event.
You see. Events are impersonal unless it happens to you in your own house. But Media delivers the impersonal as personal. That is just the way it works. That is its Operating System.
We need to understand the OS we are living in. What are the laws that govern it? What is the code with which it is written? The collective Media Mind is my own mind. I can understand the Media Mind’s OS when I become curious about how my own mind works. What is the OS of my own mind? I should be curious.
In our literal age, not that metaphor and myth have been rationally erased from the modern mind, we can only focus on the foreground. It is as if we only have a lens that zooms in on objects leaving the background out of focus. So all we can do is focus on the event as a thing in itself and we cannot see the context in which it happens. It is the background, context, or environment that gives meaning to the foreground objects. Objects and events have no meaning in themselves; meaning comes from context, the frame of reference.
If we have different frames of reference, the meaning of the foreground object changes. The Mass shooting from the Right’s frame of reference is that we need more guns. The meaning from the Left is we need fewer guns. Same shooting, different meanings, different Americas. Is there One background that we are missing. Are both backgrounds of left and right both wrong? Are they equivalent? Are there two realities, backgrounds, or environments? Is this possible?
Can there be only one background or environment or context? Is it possible to have two equal but separate contexts? If you have a photographer studio can you have two backgrounds to the subject at the same time? No, of course not. You can have one canvas and then another, one setting and then another, but you cannot have two settings both at the same time.
But that is what we are trying to do with mass shootings.