Destroy the Entertainment Industry
It is in no one's interest to destroy the entertainment industry Ė Peter Cochrane
Entertainment industry: costs
The entertainment industry wastes billions of dollars a year on
films, games, pornography and escapism.
As such it is like a cancerous growth on humanity, sapping our
collective resources and strength.
These funds typically do not produce anything worthwhile. They do
not feed anyone. No housing or shelter is provided. The world does
not wind up better irrigated as a result. No more useful elements
or minerals come into circulation. Scientific knowledge is not
It is not just the funds that are wasted. Precious natural
resources are needlessly depleted as well. Human time and effort -
which could usefully be spent in other areas - are also used up.
Both the consumers and the producers are affected.
All that is produced as a result of all this expenditure is
What is entertainment?
Entertainment is a type of stimulation designed to trigger a
drug-like state of euphoria.
Upon receipt of certain kinds of sensory input, the human brain
produces drug-like compounds associated with positive behavioural
Various types of entertainment cause different types of
stimulation. Comedy activates the nucleus accumbens - a brain area
which is known to be involved in the rewarding feelings that follow
monetary gain or the use of some addictive drugs. The shock-relief
cycle horror movies repeatedly put the viewer through works as
another type of drug-based conditioning - based on endorphins. Action
adventure games are fuelled on adrenaline. Pornography works on the
brain's sexual reward centres - and so on.
The result of all this drug-related stimulation is a high level of
fantasy addiction in the population.
Addicts tend to become couch potatoes, often with various other
associated pathologies: eye strain, back problems, malnutrition,
RSI - and so on.
Some exposure to story telling and fantasies may be
beneficial - since it allows humans to gain exposure to the
experiences of others quickly and in relative safety. This explains
why humans are attracted to this sort of thing in the first place.
However, today's fanatsies often tend to go beyond what is healthy
and beneficial. They typically represent a super-stimulus, in
order to encourage a rapid response and subsequent addiction.
We see the same thing with sugars. Some sugars is useful -
so humans are genetically programmed to eat them. However, in the
modern environment, food is plentiful, and there is a huge food
marketing industry - and the result is an obesity epidemic. This
wastes billions of dollars in unwanted food production and
healthcare bills, and is a complete and unmitigated managerial
Similarly some exposure fantasies is beneficial. It is
when there is a whole marketing industry pumping consumers to
consume fantasies at the maximum possible rate - in order to
satisfy its own selfish goals - that problems with over-production
and over-consumption arise.
How did we get into this mess?
Many humans like fantasies, just as many humans like tobacco,
alcohol and cocaine. These humans will tend to vote for politicians
that will give them what they want. Just as smokers will vote for
cheap legal tobacco, so fantasy addicts will vote for copyright
As if the the genetic predisposition were not enough, humans get
hooked on fantasy as children by their addicted parents.
Without copyright laws the scale of the entertainment business
would be much reduced. Humans would still probably put far
too much effort into it - but it is the government-granted
monopolies that have encouraged the proliferation of pornography
and video games to the current levels.
Addicted humans will tend to vote for politicians that are
prepared to finance their preferred brands of pornography,
horror, violence, etc, by upholding the relevant copyright laws.
So the cycle of addiction perpetuates itself.
The role of copyright law
Copyright laws were created to offer artificial
protection to informational entities - which would
otherwise be too fragile to survive in a free market.
Since the copyright laws are the proximate cause of the
problem, one obvious solution is to strike these from the
books. That would have the effect of cutting off the air
supply to the entertainment pushers.
"Useful arts" that are genuinely useful would
not be affected by this - since anything which is
genuinely useful would receive government
What would suffer are things like video games,
pornography, violence and horror - the material widely
regarded as being least desirable - and least
likely to attract arts council funding.
In fact even abolishing the copyright laws would
not be enough. The prevalance of the wannabe-pop-star
syndrome - where individuals are naturally attracted
to jobs involving exhibiting themselves on stage
surrounded by adoring fans - means that humans would
spend too much energy on entertainment - even
if there were no copyright laws to help finance it with
artificially-created monopolies. Additional deterrents -
such as entertainment taxes - might be needed to redress
How do we get out of this mess?
Unfortunately, abolishing the copyright laws, would not get to the
root of the problem. It would leave vast throngs of fantasy addicts
gasping for their next fix.
Since these represent a large proportion of the population, they
would simply vote in new politicians, get the copyright laws
reestablished again - and then continue to writhe in their
entertainment-induced ecstacies, blissfully uncaring about the
billions of dollars their actions are collectively wasting.
According to my analysis, there are several ways around this
Education and treatment are the least radical
propositions - and thus seem likely to be the most easy
to introduce. We need to educate people about the
personal hazzards of living much of your life in fantasy
worlds - and warn them about the waste of resources their
sponsorship of these worlds results in.
- Political reform. The idea that people know what is
good for them is obviously flawed - yet it is the basis of
democratic systems. If people manage their own diets, we get
an obesity epidemic. If people manage their own education, they
become fantasy addicts. By and large, people are not sufficiently
competent to manage their own lives in such a way that they are
good, productive citizens. They obviously need help in this area.
- Therapy. If people are made sick by their fantasy
addictions, then maybe this sickness can be treated. The same
approach has been tried with obesity, with only rather limited
success. One problem is that people hate to think of
themselves as being sick, and go to great lengths to
rationalise away their health problems.
- Germ-line manipulation.
If humans exhibit variation in their susceptability to
entertainment-induced pathologies, maybe a human can be
constructed that is less prone to this type of malfunction.
If the obesity situation is anything to go by, this will probably
not produce much effect - but it would at least be a start.
Sexual selection analogy
Something analogous to the current situation happens in
some natural populations. I am thinking of runaway sexual
Sometimes remote islands are populated by birds - and are devoid
of natural land-based predators. Reduced natural selection
pressures on the birds results in more sexually-selected features
being promoted. The birds spend a lot of time dancing, singing
and displaying to each other, and acquire ridiculous impractical
The party sometimes lasts until a ground-based predator arrives on
the scene - whereupon the defenceless birds are often driven to
Today's cultural artefacts resemble the birds' elaborate plumage.
The biological function of love songs - and the like - among our
ancestors was to give a signal of health, well being and fertility
and to thus advance individual reproductive goals.
All very well - in moderation: the high variance in male
reproductive fitness produced by this type of sexual selection may
help with the elimination of deleterious mutations and it may also
be useful in the battle against pathogens.
However as with most runaway sexual selection processes, the
extremes have dangers of extinction associated with them - through
taking the eye off the ball associated with natural selection.
The longer the runaway sexual selection process goes on in an
uninhibited manner, the greater the chances that the species will
come to a sticky end when predators reenter the environment.
The scale of the problem
In my estimation, the scale of this problem is enormous.
To give one example Spiderman 3 reputedly cost over $500
million dollars to make. Woldwide, audiences paid $900 million
dollars to watch it. That's almost a billion dollars wasted on
At this stage in our development, humans need to concentrate on
establishing colonies on other planets, and on technological
development - to avoid being assimilated by the first aliens we
In the short term, that involves feeding and sheltering each other -
to take proper advantage of our current human resources, irrigation
projects - and other worthy endeavours.
Vast expenditures of resources on pornography and games is
not just not a high priority. Indeed, it represents a management
disaster that may contribute to our premature demise as a species.
Humanity needs to recognise this issue as a problem that needs fixing,
and work on fixing it.
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Tim Tyler |