Sunday, 10 January 2010


There has been an alarming trend amongst news services in the UK to grab headlines by announcing things like "The murderer met his victim on FACEBOOK!", or "Chilling final message left by the terrorists on THE INTERNET!" or how about the killer "Children groomed by Pedophiles in CHAT ROOMS!"

So before the internet came along were there headlines like - "Terrorists used TELEPHONES to talk to each other!" or "Terrorist left letter with his GRANNY!"? Or "Pedophiles groom children in PARK!"

Why is the media sensationalising stories about the internet?

The billionaire media magnate, Rupert Murdoch is exactly right (interesting that he talks about choice for the individual, rather than opportunity, control or ownership). The internet is changing the way we do things. Now you know why television & newspapers want to demonise the internet.... The internet is undermining their control. Like it or not, the consolidation of power is moving away from the media giants, and towards the individual.

Do you think this is new? Governments all over the world are seeking the legal backing and the technology to monitor all internet communications. They want to get back the control that they had over the regular communications channels.

Oh this is so disgusting, I hear you say. How can they act like this? We all have rights to freedom and privacy! There is a more fundamental human nature driving such repression. It is the fear of chaos and the need for control. Unless we are unwell or disturbed, we all like things to be organised and calm. Unfortunately, we cannot agree on the definitions of organisation or the correct way to organise everything. So even with the most benevolent intentions, if we exert our control over others, they will resent it.

A martial artist can be seen as an expression of this need for control. Violence is - by it's nature - a chaotic activity. Martial arts give people the ability to anticipate, neutralise and control people who are violent. With this training comes a fundamental easing of the fight-or-flight instinct that brings tension to every daily activity we undertake.

But as martial artists, we must continue to examine our beliefs - to recognise the need for control as an affliction, and to accept that - fundamentally - all control is an illusion.


S.Smith said...

Sure we can accept that control is illusory, but can bureaucrats?

Richard Northwood said...

Interesting... I guess given the amount of billions (£$ etc) that governments are paying to shore up a fake economy, control is more important to these people than anything else. That amount of money could have gone close to feeding all the starving of the world. And what would that have done for world peace and international friendship?

Is renouncing control conditional? Should we - like some superpowers locked in an arms race - refuse to let down our guard for fear of reprisals?... Or is that another level of control? It is so addictive. I have a day job that pays the bills, and I see it every day in my colleagues eyes.. The fear when they can't control something - the panic when someone won't do something.

In the end, everyone has to accept that ultimately their mortality is beyond their control. So there is a finality to this dichotomy, I guess the best we can do is set a good example :-)

John Crewdson said...


Let me get this straight. If I let go of the illusion of controlling outside circumstances, I can free up energy and focus that will allow me to control myself better. Is that one of the points you're making here, or am I just grasping at a different illusion of control? ;-)

Richard Northwood said...

Hi John,

That's one way of looking at it, but controlling yourself is - as you put it - just another control. However - whether it is aimed towards the self or others, the need for control is ego based. To truly let go of the need for control is to let go of the ego. To give up your desires is to become free to just "be".

Taoists called this "the uncarved block" - or being without projecting ego.

Perhaps I finished the article too early!!!