The Oxford Dictionary defines education as: “the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university”, but is it only in academic institutions that we are given systematic instruction on what to think?
Advertisements in newspapers, on TV, online, and on billboards across the world, constantly teach us that we are here to buy and consume.
Consumerism, the message goes, will make us feel happy and create a healthy economy at the same time; yet mental and physical illness is at epidemic proportions, while the world’s economies are in ever-increasing debt.
Meanwhile, in the news, we are systematically taught about the world’s problems. We learn this sombre story is the world we live in and that governments are working to fix the problems; yet climate change, war, poverty and environmental destruction keep increasing.
The mainstream media, then, also fit this definition of education. We are being systematically educated through TV, newspapers, adverts and online with chosen messages about the reality of the world we live in which shape the way we think, feel and act.
In terms of personal and global wellness, the problem with the mainstream narrative is that scientific research clearly shows that it is having an incredibly detrimental effect.
However, the mainstream narrative is just that – a chosen story that we are all educated to accept as reality. But is there an alternative narrative, another version of reality, that we could choose to focus on instead that increases (rather than decreases) personal and global wellness?
Author, scholar and environmental activist Joanna Macy states in the film Planetary:
"There are three stories actually".
"The first story", she says "is business as usual. All we need to do is grow our economy", and then "there's another story, which is seen and accepted as the reality by the scientists, the activists: when I lift back the carpet, look under the rug of the business as usual and see what it's costing us. It's costing us the world".
She goes on to say "That's not the end of the story though because there's another narrative" and that is "that a revolution is taking place. A transition". She calls this story "The great turning".
This Trews-style presentation follows the first two narratives - “business as usual” and “what it's costing us” and demonstrates that no matter what the conclusion, when we follow the reality given to us in the mainstream narrative, the outcome is always increased doom and gloom.
This is not to say that increased doom and gloom is not on the horizon, but increased personal wellness is also available to each and everyone of us, and global wellness will occur if we stop participating in this narrative and participate in an alternative positive narrative instead.
Evidence supports the position that there is an academic, scientific and social/spiritual movement taking place worldwide right now, and academic research confirms that focusing on this opposing narrative has an incredibly beneficial effect on personal and global Wellness.
All we have to do is shift our focus away from the mainstream narrative towards the solutions-focused narrative of personal and global wellness, and participate in that story instead.
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