Thinking. The Heart of the Media

by Jacek Dabala (Author)
©2021 Monographs 192 Pages


In a unique, and at times highly polemical way, the author demonstrates how the media generally influences thinking and what kind of content they put into peoples’ heads. He aims to encourage a better understanding of oneself, one’s environment, and the world but above all, a better understanding of freedom, the condition of democracy - or dictatorship. This is probably the first book in the media and communication studies which, through scientific provocation, makes the readers delve deeply into their intelligence, teaches them how to use it, and allows them to decide whether they have a weak, average, or insightful mind. The book sets one of the most important trends: it tells how the media think and how they shape their audiences.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • About the Book
  • Contents
  • Freedom, community, civilisation
  • Punishing the opposition
  • To die full and rich
  • Language and political villains
  • Fighting fire with fire
  • Is history unnecessary?
  • History as product
  • Suicidal populists
  • Identity vs potentiality
  • Slavery and hypocrisy
  • A good German from the Third Reich
  • Politically correct fake news
  • Google at political gunpoint
  • The history of humanity: Three periods
  • Authorities and students
  • Limits of safe nationalism
  • The nature of historical conspiracy
  • The democracy of excluding “your own”
  • The paradigm of war rape
  • The secret of russian diplomacy
  • Balance as salvation
  • A correction to political correctness
  • Fairytale prophecies
  • Political pathology
  • The state as concentrationp camp
  • Politicians or mass murderers?
  • The ketman paradox
  • Freedom without freedom
  • The limits of liberalism
  • The failure of populism
  • Buying states
  • Eliminating self-identity
  • Reasoning made simple
  • Historical wisdom
  • Planned messaging
  • The blockhead of democracy
  • History of abnormality
  • Brexit, contempt and logic
  • Russia’s stupidity
  • The mechanism of enslavement
  • The chip of pleasure or death?
  • The paradox of the same face
  • Kicked out
  • “Improbable” journalism
  • Dark net without limits
  • Promotion of lies and obscurantism
  • Dangerous narratives
  • Between information and politics
  • The main task of the media
  • Information – proportions – detachment
  • Filter of information objectivity (patent I)
  • Democracy digitally designed
  • Fake news and freedom of speech
  • Political TV format
  • The omnipotence of speed in the media
  • “Multi-culti” in the media
  • Invisible Google
  • Journalism of the future
  • Sovereignty of the media
  • The paradox of balanced information
  • Media robo-actor
  • Chinese artificial intelligence
  • Imagination and impossible technologies
  • Banning citizens from the media
  • An invisible brake
  • Digital surprises
  • Mobile phone under arrest
  • Exoskeleton of the future
  • Journalism of frustration
  • The meaning of digital words
  • Media without privacy
  • Media narcissism
  • Digital life “on demand”
  • Silent Microsoft
  • Paralysis of the media
  • From capitalism to cybertalism
  • Critical mass
  • Internet indolence
  • Priceless naivety
  • The paradox of media quality
  • Politically correct artificial intelligence
  • Death of new technologies
  • Fear of the war room
  • The “other media” generation
  • Limiting knowledge and the media
  • Annihilation by the media
  • Changing face on the media
  • Optimistic face of the Internet
  • The media according to communist blockheads
  • Emotions manufactured by the media
  • Syndrome of naive journalism
  • The media face of truth
  • The phenomenon of fame
  • Surveillance on the Internet
  • Ugliness media created
  • Priceless words
  • Media pathologies
  • Punishment for media naivety
  • Swearing taken to court
  • An American court gone mad?
  • Sexism on the brain
  • Risky identity
  • The right to a dignified life
  • A parody of law in Germany
  • Benefits of the dating apps
  • Ostentatious showing off
  • Epidemic of to be or not to be
  • Immediately or never
  • Feminism and utopia
  • Expression of true femininity
  • Two kinds of old age
  • The paradox of equality in death
  • Legal depreciation of women
  • Diagnosis
  • Happiness otherwise
  • Ultraorthodox spleen
  • Legal vapours of misandry
  • Vivisection Hindu style
  • Media whipping
  • The vile nature of the state
  • The cruel sound of truth
  • Consequences of terror
  • Artists above all others
  • Scarcity of dreams
  • Bot above the law?
  • Enclaves of lawlessness
  • Sexual communicating
  • The phenomenon of shame
  • Ambivalence of dictatorship
  • The syndrome of poverty
  • Paedophilia and feelings
  • Eviction from life
  • Louts and communicating
  • Unpredictable incels
  • Prescription for voters
  • Backpackers and freedom
  • The right to freedom
  • Discrimination of freedom
  • Social cretinism of an obscurantist
  • Toilet surveillance
  • The arrogance of limitation period
  • The value of stereotypes
  • Democracy’s naivety behind the scenes
  • Benefits of lying
  • Axiology of inferiority
  • An antidote to blockheads
  • Epiphanies of love
  • The priceless limits of education
  • Infantile “what if…”
  • Theory of time and education
  • The thinking of the new human
  • The delights of artificial intelligence
  • The identity of an intellectual
  • Climax in film and in life
  • The phenomenon of ownership
  • Obligations towards geniuses
  • Condition of warring idiocy
  • Education, chance, fate
  • Stupidity grows by itself
  • The birth of error
  • Sexy death sentence
  • Love in the media
  • Putting a brake on women
  • Showing off, eminence, brilliance
  • Naivety and certainty
  • Trains and emotional vivisection
  • Algorithms against the law
  • Abnormal normality
  • The phenomenon of water and food
  • Survival test
  • The logic of mindlessness
  • The paradox of irreversibility
  • The Chernobyl syndrome
  • Immortal goal
  • Love is communication
  • Power
  • Facebook sees souls
  • Communicating and sex
  • Freedom without boundaries
  • The syndrome of parting
  • The identity of fools
  • Craving for authority
  • Banality and epiphanies of transgression
  • Happiness on a tray
  • Appetite for enslavement
  • Guru against guru
  • Education via the media
  • Stupidity without question
  • Paradox of annihilation
  • Hungering for subservience
  • The stupidest of stupid
  • Opinions and thinking
  • Intelligence crunch
  • Legal stupidity
  • Naive idealism
  • The church, advertising, the G spot
  • The essence of evangelism
  • Religions and aggression
  • Religion without imagination
  • Sexual church
  • Orthodox sex
  • True science
  • Life and medicine
  • A medical paradox
  • Bibliography
  • About the author
  • Index

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In this book, I have undertaken a rare and difficult attempt to combine essayistic and scientific narratives; I do so in an individualistic manner that refers to the recognised tradition of the French-Italian media researchers, Pierre Bourdieu, Giovanni Sartori, and Umberto Eco. The unusual formula of a brief comment instead of a classical essay in each case has a diagnostic function; it starts with a clear thesis stating the issue, is followed by its explication, analysis and diagnosis, ending with a conclusion, a synthesis. The final section is often a suggested solution to the problem, an attempt to go beyond a purely factual description. This was particularly demanding, since it involves both a significant number of media inspirations, i.e., also essays, two hundred to be precise, and the necessity to compress one’s thoughts and language to not quite two thousand characters with spaces. As a researcher in the field of the media, communication, literature, and film, I decided that today’s world is so dynamic and so overloaded with information that, in order to establish better contact and understanding with the reader, it is best to present it in a universally abbreviated form. Hence the perspective of phenomena and paradoxes. I must emphasise that each commentary was inspired by a particular media message, a consequence of analysing the messages of the press, radio, TV, and the internet on a daily basis. This provides a unique picture of the world via media messages: on the one hand, intelligent, universal, and timeless, while on the other hand – representing a particular style of thinking. So this is a book about how the media think, how the world thinks, and how one should think generally; in a sense, it is also a vade mecum of creativity, inspiration, independence and responsibility

The language of these commentaries is intended to provoke the reader to think; it is never intended to insult or patronise; rather, it tends toward the essence of freedom that comes from one’s level of self-awareness, maturity, and self-criticism. I think that science should engage with everything related to thinking about issues, that is to say – describing, diagnosing, solving them, and proposing actions to be taken; it should also initiate the process of thinking at an individual and social level regardless of how controversial the issue, making readers self-critical, doubtful, disturbing stagnation of intellect and worldview. The book does not always reflect the views of the author; sometimes, it simply explicates, inspired by the media messages, the possibility of specific kind of reasoning without judging whether it is contradictory or right.

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I hope that this book will allow readers to experience not only the strangeness and complexity of the issues described, to experience the essence of communication, but will also help defend oneself from one’s own naivety and the illusory impression that, since one uses the media, one also understands them and knows how to stay detached. In other words, it is also the question of making readers aware of being subjected to propaganda, manipulation and lies, in order to make them more discerning in their encounters with various media messages. However pretentious this might sound, the purpose is to provide “mental exercises,” encouragement to reflect. For this reason, some of the comments are controversial, intended to provoke, seemingly simple, direct or only ironic at first glance. Still, in order to develop thinking skills, it is essential to have intellectual conflict and ferment, controversy, surprise or amazement, rejection or continuing the theme in a different way. In this context, if someone were to ask what is the core of media, journalistic thinking, the answer would be just one word: proliferation. Without consciously adopting an alternative approach to every issue there is no hope of developing thinking, intellectual independence or distancing oneself from one’s own opinions.

This book does not solve problems, but it does explicate them, suggesting ways of thinking about them and possible solutions, as well as challenging the readers to form their own opinions. Questioning is integral to its message, it highlights the media expression of intellectual helplessness or illusions which aspire to wisdom. Some texts may also shock by their directness, but the idea was to comment on reality directly, without inner censorship or touching up what is obvious, since truth cannot be masked either by polite political correctness or by the noblest idealism and loftiest desires. One can only disagree, be offended, criticise, while still under the influence, perhaps even unconsciously, of what might be described as the uncompromising nature of life. Only confrontation with such a picture of reality may provide the stimulus to real changes. Only then law and politics might define accurately the purpose of the development of civilisation and create a humanistic safety standard.

These commentaries attempt to answer a number of questions, such as: how are we to understand and nurture freedom? How not to become intellectually enslaved? How to think independently and responsibly? How to identify important phenomena? How to recognise propaganda and manipulation? How to resist backwardness and obscurantism? How to improve one’s own intelligence and worldview? How to open oneself to a sense of humour? How to make optimal use of the media? How to grow into self-questioning and to recognise stupidity? How to develop humility in relation to those who are wiser?

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These mini-essays grow out of respect for freedom, including freedom of speech, that most wonderful tool at humankind’s disposal that allows it to develop. Totally limiting that freedom may destroy democracy, the best of all the imperfect political systems: something still not obvious to too many governments, societies, individuals and, unfortunately, the media. This is not changed by the constant threat of manipulation through organisational gerrymandering, and the invisible influencing of views by the selection of information in the social media, known as information gerrymandering, researched and described in Nature.1 But it does mean citizens need to be actively educated to resist “mob rule.”

I would like to express my special gratitude to the experts whose opinions I sought and who read through the manuscript in spite of the many demands on their time. They were my first competent readers who helped me learn how my work might be understood, and allowed me to invite other readers to learn their opinions. I would like to express my warm gratitude to eminent scholars from different universities (in alphabetical order): Professor Mark Deuze from the University of Amsterdam, Professor Tim Dwyer from the University of Sydney, Professor Roy S. Gutterman from Syracuse University, Professor Martin Rees from Cambridge University and Professor Kevin Warwick from Coventry and Reading Universities. My special thanks to Dr. Zofia Weaver, whose extremely kind spirit always accompanies my English-language books.

1Carl T. Bergstrom & Joseph B. Bak-Coleman, “Information gerrymandering in social networks skews collective decision-making,” Nature, 573, 40– 41 (2019), 4 September 2019, Correction 8 October 2019. doi: 10.1038/d41586- 019- 02562- z.

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Freedom, community, civilisation

When Witold Gombrowicz was writing about “innate stupidity,” everybody knew that the intention was not to insult anyone, but to state a fact. There is no point being angry about the fact that some of us are intelligent and others are not, or not very. One simply needs to know this.

When Professor Marcin Król writes that people may regard community as more important than freedom, and Tomasz Terlikowski places civilisation above freedom, we have a head-on crash between matters of fundamental importance for humankind: our understanding of freedom, community and civilisation. It turns out that a media message may at times touch on matters demanding a deeper reflection. Is Król being ironic? Is Terlikowski manipulating the concept of freedom, reducing it to a mere belief? What is the hierarchy here? Is freedom at the top, with community below and civilisation even lower? Or perhaps it is community that should be at the bottom, because that guarantees the existence of civilisation and keeping it in good shape? Does community without freedom provide happiness? Or perhaps it produces happy mindlessness and threatens civilisation? Understanding this relationship should be constantly drip-fed through play, through readings, films, programmes, discussions, lessons, lectures, historical examples. Memory is fleeting, education often poor, and propaganda so strong that it is difficult to resist in the midst of problems, obligations, family and social life. This is a recipe for the Stockholm syndrome, for giving up freedom without being aware of it; that is followed by simulations of law and democracy, freedom, community and civilisation. Conflicts, hatred, wars, lawlessness, anarchy, dictatorship, authoritarianism, fear and suffering all provide evidence of “innate stupidity”; these are the facts but fortunately this does not mean that so much the worse for facts – not everywhere.

Punishing the opposition


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2021 (April)
communication journalism quality audit politics Internet freedom
Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2021. 192 pp.

Biographical notes

Jacek Dabala (Author)

Jacek Dabala is a professor, novelist, screenwriter, and former TV and radio journalist. He is the Head of Department of Media Workshop and Axiology at the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin (Poland). Among others, he runs Dabalamedia.com, a global media quality audit.


Title: Thinking. The Heart of the Media
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