DESTRUCTION OF TIME BIAS MEDIA

Dr. A Nagraj


1.0 Introduction

Harold Adam Innis says, at any given point of time, civilizations are bias towards one medium. With regard to the information we live in Postman’s "one neighbourhood" (1985:65) and McLuhan’s “global village” (McLuhan 1964:37). This change we see today has taken shape in the last few decades of globalization.The time and space between the continents and people shrunk to a large extent making the information to reach the target audience much faster. The“one neighbourhood” and “global village”is the result of our modern day communication technologies especially the satellite communication accompanied by the growth of mobile telecommunications.The satellite communication has made the information accessible for everyone throughout the world.Today we live in information overloaded society, and in this context the information moving at faster speed may also have little life span and at times may get erased from the memory very soon, as one has to process more information coming from different sources. one can see the distinction between pre and post satellite eras with regard to information sharing and storing. With the coming of the modern communication systems, the space bias media has become omniscient, overshadowing the time bias media.

2.0        Easy Manipulation of Space Bias Information

Today the information gets generated in millions of Giga bites and is circulated at a much faster rate with the aid of new technological innovations in telecommunications networks. The space bias information moves at faster rate with the help of internet and latest mobile services and applications that we use, information moving at such speed has positive and negative ramifications around the world. Without verifying the sources of information, we share the information with our family, friend’s colleagues and others. In fact, the space bias information is found to be the cause for many tragic and unwarranted issues and events.

In recent years, there has been widespread concern that misinformation on social media is damaging societies and democratic institutions. In response, social media platforms have announced actions to limit the spread of false content. (Allcott et al. 2018)

Christopher Blair according toAnisa Subedar is the “God Father of fake news and one of the world’s most prolific writers of disinformation” (Subedar, 2018). What we see today are people like Blair sitting in front of their computers cooking some fabricated news for people’s consumption and change the discourse about relevant issues emerging from different parts of the world. This disinformation has brought more trouble and individual trauma for millions of people around the world in the last few years.  It is important for us to understand that the time bias information was very slow in reaching people, but the distortion in the message/news is very minimal, on the other hand the distortion of the messages/news in the space bias media is very significant and has a huge impact politically, socially and culturally. It has now become necessary for the individuals and media organizations to distinguish what is authentic and what is fake news. The impact of the fake news is such that the media organizations and governments across the world have to step in by enacting new laws to counter the fake news. Organizations operating various social websites and applications have to curtail the freedom of the users in order to counter the fake news. Governments have to issue public service advertisement to make people aware of fake news.

3.0 Time Bias Information and Destruction

The difference is visible when we compare time bias media with space bias, while the former moves at faster rate and instantly gratifies the audience with the information, the latter is slow in its reach and can withstand for centuries. It is this information that has stood for centuries and made the mankind more humane as and when required with his surroundings.

Time-biased media, such as stone and clay, are durable and heavy. Since they are difficult to move, they do not encourage territorial expansion; however, since they have a long life, they do encourage the extension of empire over time. Innis associated these media with the customary, the sacred, and the moral.

The time bias media is slowly but steadily getting erased forever across the continents, this media is being destroyed by the humans in the name of religion, race and to gain supremacyover others for the last few centuries. The destruction to time bias media is a great loss to the present and for the future generations of mankind, this media largely depicts the religion, culture, economy, administration hierarchy and the people’s lifestyle in a society. The time bias media explicitly showcases different time periods in an epoch of a civilization and highlights its past glory to the present. The media is rich with information and it is this information that has shaped the humans and to understand himselfwithin the environment and the universe.

Earlier advanced civilizations in order to pass information to the next generations have drawn built and erected some of the architectural marvels, and have inscribed and etched the information on various aspects ranging from their day-to-day lifestyle, ceremonial rituals, astronomy and many more.While the primitive/more advanced civilizations have etched their information in the caves and onrocks to pass on the information from one generation to another we in the present share the information through digital platforms making the information vulnerable. The ancient heads/priests of various civilizations understood the value of information, that is why they etched/carved information in cave and sacred sites, monuments and other places of importance. In his book the ‘Chariots of God’Erich Von Danikensay that

Knowledge perhaps lead these sages to hide secrets and traditions from the mob in the colossal buildings of their period or to preserve them from possible destruction in a safe place? Have they "hidden" information or accounts in pyramids, temples, and statues, or bequeathed them in the form of ciphers so that they would withstand the ravages of time? (Daniken, 1968)

while we in the present are sharing and storing the information in digital format in various electronic hard discs, high end servers and digital clouds,there is no guarantee that the information that we send and store may last forever. Emphasizing the impending dangers of digital media Chris Chesher quotes source from BBC saying,

A recent study of the computer records of Bronze Age excavations in North East London from the mid-1990s found that the computer records had deteriorated more in one decade than the relics had in thousands (BBC News 2000).

The time bias media is getting destroyed at a faster rate than expected. Issues like global warming to present war and destruction raging in different parts of the worldare reasons attributed for the damage of time bias media.Information that is supposed to last for millennia’s is getting erased in minutes. The primary reasons for the destruction of time bias media are wars, treasure hunters and religious fanatics.The wars have taken its toll not only on humans but also on theknowledge centresthat were conserved for over millennia.

The texts and fragments still available transmit a great deal of knowledge from the remote past. In all ages the sages of a nation knew that the future would always bring wars and revolutions, blood and fire(Daniken, 1968).

Be it civil war or war between two nations, these wars bring more civilian casualties and destroy the time bias information forever. People have witnessed this destruction during the many wars in past.Knowledge that would have helped the mankind form destruction is now shredded into pieces. Piecing this knowledge together to its original form and understanding it, is a challenge for our future generation.

3.0       Wars and Religion

For ages rival civilizations and groups have waged wars over their opponents and in the process looted and destroyed the religious and cultural monuments forever and at times imposed their own. This destruction is not confined to any particular place or region, look back in to our history we can see how the prominent and rival religions have waged wars over each other and destroyed the religious, cultural and knowledge centres.

In the modern period the destruction of these sites is much faster, the sites are blown up andbombed by the opponent groups just to prove their dominance and at times to send a message to the outside world. In the last three decades we have seen how the 4th -5th century Bamiyan statues of Buddha were destroyed by the terrorist group in central Afghanistan. We have also witnessed how religious fanatics destroyed the Tetrapylon and other sites in the city of Palmyra, Syria.The destruction of these sites causes heavy loss to the time bias information. These sites with rich cultural, religious and other information dating back to centuries is lost forever. These are only few examples of how the time bias information is destroyed forever by the mankind for gaining supremacy over the other.
In order to preserve the centuries old information and the existing knowledge of the mankind, we are searching for ways and means to not only protect but also pass on the knowledge to the future generations. The world’s most politically, economically and militarily advanced nation the United Nations of Americahas preserved the information in two time capsules for the future generationsreckoning the inevitability of a nuclear war.

Americans buried in the soil of New York two time capsules soconstituted that they could withstand the very worst that this earth could offer in the way of calamities for 5,000 years. These time capsules contained news that we want to transmit to posterity, so that someday those who strive to illuminate the darkness surrounding the past of their forefathers will know how we lived. The capsules are made of a metal that is harder than steel; they can survive even an atomic explosion (Daniken, 1968).

This action of preserving the information by the most advance country in the world highlights how much we value our information, and how important is this information for future generations of mankind.

4.0       Treasure Hunters

Past civilizations across the world are rich with not only religious and cultural information but also with huge amounts of wealth (gold, copper, silver, diamonds and other precious metals).The time bias information carved and etchedis found across the countries when one visits these religious and archaeological sites of importance. The rich information about our past heritage is destroyed for personal greed by individuals and groups for hidden treasures. Many time bias monuments and sites go unnoticed in vast stretches of land, and many a times are ignored by the state and the archaeological departments around the world. The lack of attention by the state and archaeological department is taken advantage by the treasure hunters. They vandalise statues, sculptures and other information unknowingly that dates back to different centuries. The architectural marvels belonging to different epochs with loads of information about the kings who ruled the empires and the economy of the region, culture, lifestyle, and other that highlights its past grandeur are lost forever.

5.0   Conclusion

Though we are now bias to space media, we still trace our roots to time bias media. The time bias media has the power to last long and guide the mankind to trace his origins. Much of the information that we know about ourselves is from the time bias media. Though we live in the age of digital communication, it is in the interest of our mankind, that we protect this time bias information to guide the future generations.

References
  • BBC News. (2000). Old computers lose history record [Electronic Version]. BBC News. Retrieved from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/654116.stm.
  • Erich Von. Daniken. (1968).Chariots of God. BroadwayPenguin Random House.
  • A. Hunt, G. Matthew and Yu. Chuan (2018). Trends in the Diffusion of Misinformation on Social Media. Retrieved fromhttps://web.stanford.edu/~gentzkow/research/fake-news-trends.pdf
  • M. Soules (2007). Harold Adams Innis: The Bias of Communications and Monopolies of Power. Retrieved from http://www.media-stu dies.ca/articles/innis.htm

About the author: Dr. A. Nagraj is serving as Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication, English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad. Previously he served as Assistant Professor in the department of Mass Communication and Journalism, Tezpur University, Assam. His articles are published in daily newspapers and magazines. He is a regular contributor of Dimorian Review also. A good number of his research articles have been published in national and international research journals. He has participated and presented a good number of research papers in various national as well as international seminars. He is also associated with various scientific associations/ bodies.

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