Distractions of the Ego-Mind

Walter Benjamin argues that distraction became an alternative to contemplation. Distraction is fundamentally social. It replaces the viewer’s thoughts by moving images, stopping the viewer from thinking. Benjamin criticises the usual account whereby true art is contemplated and the masses seek only distraction. For Benjamin, contemplation is a kind of domination by the author: the work of art absorbs the audience. In contrast, distraction involves the audience absorbing the work of art. Reception of art now normally happens in a state of distraction, especially in the case of film. ‘The public is an examiner, but an absent-minded one’.

According to Benjamin, art is now gaining ‘entirely new functions’. The liberation of art from ritual frees it for connections to the practice of politics. Responses to art are also increasingly collective – as in audience responses to film – the individual reaction is produced or compounded by the reaction of the entire audience. Earlier artworks, even when exhibited in galleries, did not lead to an ‘organised’ mass response. (This difference is probably less relevant in the era of television).

Benjamin sees the transformations of art as an effect of changes in the economic structure.  Art is coming to resemble economic production, albeit at a delayed pace. The movement from contemplation to distraction is creating big changes in how people sense and perceive.


I was listening to Leo's (actualized.org) mp3 "Distractions" which concerns Ego distractions."Distraction - The Ego's Favorite Defense Mechanism"

I must point out: I put on this Site many different sites,thoughts of others,but remember these others have their own Belief's,ways of thought etc. I can't stress enough,we have to be open-minded to learn,yet also we have to develop our very own belief system,Mine is simply "Nature and the Force of Nature"..I don't need any human made belief system.Yet on the same token,I learn from other's,and History of Humanity.

Just remember the "Seal of Certainty",I think our Ego wants to stamp a certainty on a idea,belief etc. so can claim "this is a Fact",,now lets move on down the trail to the trading post,so we can get a new dress,or maybe buy some candy.

I came across this site ".the-unscripted-self.com" here are some Excerpts I found helpful:

What are the distinctive features of the ego-mind?

First that it is damn persistent. It won’t let go of you easily. It will jealously protect its assumptions about who you are, and what you are; that you belong to it. In its own way it seeks to protect you. It’s a bit like a German shepherd that will defend your home to the death. Good dog. But the trouble is it will keep out your good too.

An indefatigable talent for distraction is one of the great strengths of the ego-mind. It’s genius at this. And, if you’re not careful it will keep you busy doing stuff for the rest of your life. When we’re ‘doing’ we feel we’re important somehow.

Fundamentalism is one of the great weapons of the ego-mind. It loves absolute thinking, anything that can prove that it’s right. Being right is very important to the ego-mind, and being right is the bedrock of every kind of fundamentalism, not just in religion or politics. Fundamentalism can show up in your attitudes to ordinary things around you. If you’ve ever found yourself, in reaction to some change, thinking ‘but it’s always been that way’ (and I know I have), that’s fundamentalism. Be mindful of it. Do you feel the need to defend yourself when you think you’re right? That’s the ego-mind. Even if you are!

Another of its weapons is fear. So many prejudices, false judgments and the like are forged in fear. What you fear you will be enslaved by, because you will either expend countless energy trying to fight it, or feel overwhelmed by it. The idea of punishment either in this life or in some supposed next one frightens a lot of people. It’s been part of our thought process for thousands of years, going back to the ancient Greeks. And of course it’s part of the armoury of the ego-mind. But the idea that there is no punishment can frighten people more. It evokes stirrings of their own magnificence and that terrifies them. Remember all fear is a lie.

Strategies of the ego-mind

The ego-mind has the uncanny talent to adopt and absorb whatever hits it. It mutates, to use the scientific term. It can even absorb and subsume awakening itself. For example, it may tell you that now you must meditate 5 hours every day, and, on top of that, stop smoking. After all, it tells you, isn’t that what awake people do? So now get to it. And if you comply then chances are you’re still living in the ego-mind, you’re still carrying out its lie.

Now is there something wrong with meditating for long periods or letting go of harmful addictions? Absolutely not. It’s the motive behind your actions that’s the problem here. If you think this is making you spiritual, then you’re investing something in the act, and in your ‘doing’. That’s the busy mind again.

If, on the other hand, you love meditation, and the benefits it brings you, then great. That’s your natural calling. That comes from your higher mind, your Higher Self, or God Consciousness. Same with addictions, whatever’s not meant for you any more will fall away naturally. Let that happen by itself. Don’t try to push it. It’s when you step in and decide ‘this is the correct thing to do for one who is awake, or this is the correct way to think, or this is the correct way to behave’, then you know you’re still in the ego-mind’s grip. Because you’re trying to control it. And there is no control. Next thing you’ll start thinking ‘other people should meditate for 5 hours a day and do as I do. Must get busy trying to change them’. (That's my reality,so must be everybody else's mindset-thing)

"Seal of Certainty" links

As a "Hermetic seal"A hermetic seal is any type of sealing that makes a given object airtight

The early usage of "hermeneutics" places it within the boundaries of the sacred.[11] A divine message must be received with implicit uncertainty regarding its truth. This ambiguity is an irrationality; it is a sort of madness that is inflicted upon the receiver of the message. Only one who possesses a rational method of interpretation (i.e., a hermeneutic) could determine the truth or falsity of the message.[12]

As Socrates noted, words have the power to reveal or conceal and can deliver messages in an ambiguous way.[13] The Greek view of language as consisting of signs that could lead to truth or to falsehood was the essence of Hermes, who was said to relish the uneasiness of those who received the messages he delivered

Hermeneutics as the methodology of interpretation is concerned with problems that arise when dealing with meaningful human actions and the products of such actions.

Semiotics (also called semiotic studies) is the study of meaning-making,

In psychology, meaning-making is the process of how persons construe, understand, or make sense of life events, relationships, and the self.[1] Through meaning-making, persons are "retaining, reaffirming, revising, or replacing elements of their orienting system to develop more nuanced, complex and useful systems".[2]

The Semiotics of Photography: Towards Objective Hermeneutics
Salvador Leon Superior School of Visual Arts :

                   How can we know what a photograph means? What messages or codes exist semiotically that help us to interpret it? The mass consumption of images is reflected in the large number of contests, scholarships, galleries, museographic exhibitions and especially in advertising: What are the semiotic parameters that can be established for a reliable and clear judgment to discriminate one photo from another? For critics or judges, artists or the general public, this article seeks to answer these questions by proposing a semiotic analysis based on new advances in science, in psychology of perception and neurobiology of vision; said methodology, currently being applied intensively at ESAV and used in the postgraduate studies of the present author, seeks to facilitate the understanding of the meaning—to improve the hermeneutics—of the photographic image in a systematic and objective way.


Masculinity is a performed gender identity. Contrary to popular perception[citation needed], it is not the same as sex or sexual orientation. The contents and practices of masculinity are socially constructed and reproduced through daily interaction, especially on a more micro scale.[45] Theorists West & Zimmerman emphasized that gender is maintained through accountability. Men are expected to perform masculinity to the point that it is naturalized. Thus, a man's status depends on his performance. It is important to note, however, that masculinity can be performed by any sex.[45][46][47][48]

The dominant form of masculinity in a society is known as hegemonic masculinity. Men are constantly performing this to prove their status as men.[49] It is not really possible to reach it, especially as peers are in constant surveillance of each other, looking for flaws in their performance.[49] Hegemonic masculinity is constructed in opposition to femininity and is dominant to all other gender identities (including alternative masculinities). Men are socialized from birth to perform it, especially through behavior and symbolism. One of the prominent behaviors is aggression in order to protect one's reputation. An example of symbols used would be clothing.[45][50]

Sociologist Michael Kimmel describes three cultures that support masculinity (especially in young men) in his 2008 book, Guyland:

  • The Culture of Entitlement: Men are raised to feel they deserve something. They feel entitled to power, sex and women.
  • The Culture of Silence: Men are not to talk to outsiders (those not embedded in the cultures of masculinity) about drinking, bullying, rape, or any performance of masculinity by their peers that they may get in trouble for. If they do talk, they will be seen as unmanly traitors.
  • The Culture of Protection: Communities do not hold men responsible for questionable and illegal actions. Many turn a blind eye, assuming their boys would never do that. Others write off dangerous acts as "boys will be boys".[45]

Some of the prominent attitudes and behaviors of western hegemonic masculinity are: power, sexual dominance and activity, wealth, aggression, independence, and lack of emotion. Less extreme sexual harassment is often seen as normal behavior.[45] Exemplifying control theory, the norms of masculinity are so rigidly ingrained that men find little room to escape and end up constantly reproducing them.

Hegemonic masculinity is often reproduced and reinforced through media and culture. "Media representations of men…often glorify men's use of physical force, a daring demeanor, virility, and emotional distance." Contemporary rap music is a striking example of masculinity on display. Rappers boast about their sexual conquests of women (emphasizing heterosexuality as well), wealth, power and violence.[51] wikipedia