Why do we sometimes feel compelled to give a standing ovation in the theater or at a concert? Why do we sometimes linger in a movie theater for seconds or moments in silence after the final credits have been projected? How does it happen that occasionally we say to ourselves “I must watch the next episode” or “the sequel” or even “I must listen to (or view) that again” after observing a great painting, webisode, novel, television program, sculpture, dance, film, or book of poetry?
One reason we often wish to seek more is that a chord of recognition, realization, or revelation is struck deep within us. I call such catalysts in our consciousness “media that matter.” When writing this blog I’ll be bringing your attention to media, especially newly released media and arts that have induced an awakening or thought-provoking experience within me or others. At other times I’ll be exploring with you the deeper meanings, not just of other people’s creative work but of the deeper meanings within ourselves that are drawn forth by such creations.
What if we are each a medium of light and meaning? No doubt we’ve each been inspired by someone—perhaps a teacher, performer, or mentor—whose very presence could light up a room and our hearts and minds. It is as if such a person is transmitting or emitting something special. For me, it is not far-fetched to call such people “true media” or emissaries (messengers) of light.
So, perhaps all of the other “media” and arts are just an extension or expansion of the medium of light we call an “artist.” To my view, the true artistic medium is within us all and we can all be artists if and when we transmit our light creatively. I can be either an inspiring or depressing medium depending upon my attitude and degree of radiance. For those of us who use spiritual language, anyone expressing such radiance creatively might be called an emissary of divine light.
I have a great interest in the way such “emissaries” express, not only in person but in the creations we project that I am calling “media that matter.” I am not only referring to what we call artistic “masterpieces” (because they are so well crafted that they give evidence of the symmetry of the cosmos) but also “lighthouses” because they help us creatively navigate our lives and “elevators” because they assist us to rise in consciousness. I am using “lighthouses” to mean works which help us better see the way before us and “elevators” to mean media which take us higher in our experience and perspective. Yet clearly there is overlap and some media are both!
So some of my blogs will simply say “Have you seen …?” and then list and describe some new or timeless “lighthouses,” “master’s pieces,” and “elevators” which “take us up” or open our hearts. Other blogs may allow us to meditate upon what this “true medium” is and how it may be expressed in life and in the arts. Such a medium may bring healing, humor, joy, and other positives, although the ability to genuinely grieve, understand the plight of others, and be humbled are also part of the awakenings brought by “media that matter.”
Naturally your own thoughts and inspiration are most welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org and I may quote you from time to time in a later blog such that we create conversation and community. Here’s to your own medium of expression and the media that matter whom we are to each of us.
Dr. Tom Cooper
DR. TOM COOPER is currently guest scholar at the East-West Center, University of Hawaii, Stanford and Berkeley and professor at Emerson College (Boston). Musician, black belt, and playwright, he has written eight books and two hundred published articles, been advisor to the Elders Project (with Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan, Jimmy Carter and others), co-nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and is co-publisher of MEDIA ETHICS magazine.