Often, when I go around the newspapers of the Italian creeping populism (La Stampa, Repubblica, Corriere) I find myself reading these articles, where a malformed kitten is adopted and is happy, an abandoned kitten who didn't want anyone is adopted and is happy , the little dog thrown into the river with a stone around her neck is saved and finds a family and is happy, etc. etc.
Before continuing, it is better to make a clarification: I have nothing against acts of kindness towards animals, or against adoptions. My cats, both, I took them from a Tierschutzverein, that is, from a group of volunteers who take care of saving animals. To tell the truth, all the animals I loved were "collected".
There are constant traits in this narrative:
- Animal X is marginalized to death because it is ugly / defective, or
- Animal X was life threatening or
- The cruelty / insensitivity of some humans has almost killed the animal, OR
- It is also saved
- Finally, find a family
- he is happy in all this new love.
In itself it is always a novel, with a positive ending and a sad beginning. What changes everything is the goodness of some humans, and the unfolding of the plot is the rescue of the animal.
The real question is: what role does it play in post-modern psychology today? What kind of function does this type of narration perform?
My impression is that it performs various social functions.
But that's not good news.
Let's start with the first one: "Faith in humanity restored".
This seems harmless, if not positive, until we ask why trust in humanity has been lost. Because if it needs to be rebuilt, it's somehow lost.
The answer lies in the media overexposure to crimes and horrors of some kind. Only a couple of centuries ago, when the use of mass media was very limited, people knew only the crimes and horrors that occurred in their circle of influence. And it was very different, for two reasons.
- Obviously fewer serious crimes occurred, and the horrors were limited in intensity.
- Being the circle of influence, it was possible for people to take action.
If you think about it, there haven't been many horrors in your circle of friends lately. There were hardly any wars. Fierce crimes involving your relatives and friends are rare. Of ~ 400 murders that occur every year in Italy, however concentrated in some social classes, you have seen very few.
You have heard of it, of course. If we extend the degrees of separation, we perhaps reach 4 and we have covered the whole country, certainly this too.
But the truth is that when you say "with everything you hear around, you lose confidence", you mean "what you hear on TV" and "what you read in the newspapers". Because if we took these two pipes out of anxiety, we might even conclude that the people around us may also have some flaws, but we don't have to fear them too much.
Ultimately, the media make us overexposed to evil. Until we realize that the mass media is not telling the truth (probably the news of heinous crimes are invented on a healthy basis), we find ourselves with a perception of the world that speaks to us of a horrible place. Actually, things aren't quite like that. Of course, bad things happen (if what the mass media write really happens, and it's not all invented on a healthy basis: what the hell do you know about a rape that happened 800 km from you? Will it really have happened?), But if we go to see how many of you are involved, the calculation of the danger is quickly done.
If you want to have a realistic assessment of the danger you run, try to insure yourself against death by the action of criminals. Calculate the ratio between the insurance installment and the premium paid, and you will find that in the end we are in the order of a probability of ~ 10,000 / 100,000 per month. Nothing special. Consequently, the newspapers do not tell the truth even when they say it, because they lead to an overestimation of the risk.
Writing stories (probably invented on a healthy basis, in turn) does nothing but satisfy the "good" network of an audience on which a huge river of "evil" is spewed.
It is comforting to know that people like to read stories that speak of "good", but this happens because they are bombarded with stories about evil. Moreover, one of Mussolini's main actions was to abolish the crime news from the newspapers. The feeling of happiness that the masses had, the perception of living in a safe world (stories like "you could have left your bicycle unattended and …") was such that even today that is remembered as an era of extreme safety, where you could trust your neighbor. Trust in Humanity restored.
The fact that it was enough to abolish the crime news to transform a fascist dictatorship into a place where people could trust their neighbors (… ssseriously?) Speaks volumes about the role that the media have in the loss of trust. I myself personally experienced a complete gestalt change when I stopped watching TV years ago.
Another effect is "hope in humankind restored".
And now you will tell me: hey, but you just changed "faith" to "hope". Very true. Why is it relevant?
Let's take the story of the deformed and half blind dog that nobody wanted, but a family of humans saved her from the killing and now they love her and she is happy. It's all beautiful. But now let's change the subject: how many hopes does a deformed and half blind girl have to find someone who loves her, who takes care of her and takes her out of the social landfill?
Um. Um ….
This is the point. The truth is that none of us would have, in the same disadvantage, stray, deformed or disease conditions, the hope of being "saved" as happens to these animals. We know we are floating. We all feel that we are floating in a sea of absolute indifference that would not hesitate to drown us at the first hole in our lifeboat.
The truth is this. These articles make us hope that if, for a twist of fate, we were in those conditions, in the conditions of the deformed kitten thrown away, someone would save us. It would take us home. It would cure us. He would love us. We would live happy.
Hope is what we ask for. But if we go digging, we have to ask why this hope has been lost. If you read all the ancient literature, the person in these conditions knocked on all doors, before being disappointed (when it was a moral story about the needy) but in the end this person knocked on all doors.
Today, we wouldn't even try. And we wouldn't, or most of us wouldn't, because we take it for granted that no one will help us. We even think that if we show ourselves in difficulty, many would take advantage of our wickedness.
Psychologically we are floating on an evil and indifferent abyss.
But is this really so? Where do we get the image of an evil and indifferent world? Always from the same mass media. In reality, much of today's welfare is still provided by the family. And in reality we can also count on friends, if inhuman work rhythms have taken them away.
It is very difficult to prove that the world is not as bad as we believe, but we must ask ourselves who will take care of those six million people who come out of an Italian hospital every year and go to convalescence. We must ask ourselves who is helping the millions of poor people who exist now everywhere. And if we think that all this happens through the help of others, the portrait of the world changes a lot. It is not an evil and indifferent world at all.
It is the mass media to paint it this way. To take away our hope. And that's why they created the demand for news that hope gives us. In practice they led us to live in an evil and indifferent nightmare THAT DOES NOT EXIST, and then say no, in the end the world also has hope.
The hope that we would NOT have lost if we had turned off the shit pipe that spews news into the living room.
The same media that have dehumanized the "perceived world" are now trying to humanize it, or maybe they just want to take advantage of the fact that many actually need a little bit of relief, a brief parenthesis in this nightmare that wouldn't be a nightmare at all if only the the mass media did not paint it as such.
Everything you need is kittens.