“What used to be emotionally arousing simply isn’t any longer.” Reading that in class got me thinking, are we becoming desensitized as a society? The answer is obviously yes in at least some way. Media is influential. We see a lot of bad things every single day whether we watch the news or not, as we read from Konnikova many sites are designing their media to specifically play on our emotions, yet, as she quotes above this tactic pays off less than it used to. I scroll down a Facebook feed and see something about a kid having a week left to live and I think, “Wow, that sucks,” then I scroll on. To elicit an actual negative emotional reaction for me now it takes something happening to me personally.
Violence is a facet that is often discussed when it comes to desensitization. The journal of Psychological Science was quoted saying that, “If film is a drug, then violent film content might make people “comfortably numb” (borrowing the words of Pink Floyd).” I like their use of Pink Floyd here, it is extremely accurate, and potentially a good thing. Being “comfortably numb” in regards to violence and misfortune in our world may not be a bad thing. If we really held onto every dark thing we saw on Facebook or CNN we would likely end up with a weird hybrid culture of the 60’s and 70’s. Instead the existence where we are made aware of misfortunes and violence in our world and we acknowledge them without letting them get to us is ideal. It lets us carry on functioning even when the world is trying so hard to not. Stepping back, we can’t ignore these things mind you, as the New York Times discusses there may be a fair amount of correlation and causation between violent media and violent acts. However, for now this just remains as an idea. What do you think, do you think we are desensitized as a society? If so is that a bad thing, or maybe something in between?