Are we victims of vacuous gazes?


Guest post by Saeed Wattoo

This is in response to Wali Zahid’s post, What do our educated read online?

Put a speck on your table. Start gazing at it. The speck would grow in size. Gaze long enough and the speck would become a mountain. After some time the whole world shall vanish into that speck.

The TV screen on the wall is much more significant than the insignificant speck on the table. It knows how we gaze at it. It thrives on tricking the gazes. It turns specks into mountains … and the mountains into specks.

Those who know its power would want to distribute it for free to every household in the world. The reason why they don’t do it is perhaps the fear of giving away the secret.

This vacuous gaze on the wall is such a vulnerable target that one can completely transform the tastes, choices, thoughts and preferences of a nation in one generation. All this earthshaking, slavish transformation shall occur in such an imperceptible fashion that everyone would find himself liberated and empowered.

The freedom of speech that the screen on the walls epitomizes is in reality the oblivious servitude to thrill, adrenaline, glamour and pageantry. It is meant to rob the viewer of all objectivity and transport him to the illusory realms created by the clever minds.

Just for a moment allow your mind to get out and look at yourself objectively. See what you eat, drink, and wear and how you are ticked into making choices. Even what you speak or think is determined by your vacuous gaze on the wall.

(For mathematical proof of trickery, ask why ten dollars are spent on the product and hundred on its marketing.)

There is an amazingly remarkable uniformity in the product appearing on the wall-screen. News, entertainment, fashion, food, etc., seem to be meant for creating clones and multiplying them.

To me, more than biological, it is the intellectual diversity that is facing the imminent threat of extinction.

We cannot change this whole phenomenon of wall and gaze. It is too powerfully entrenched. But perhaps we can train our gaze to be vigilant and wise.

saeed wattoo

Saeed Wattoo is a graduate of UET Lahore and is a civil servant serving in Pakistan Customs.


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