Thicket of Unreality
The author of this book claims that there is a thicket of unreality between us and life facts. His claim points out to wealth, literacy, technology and progresses in the world as the major factors that have create the thicket of unreality between mankind and the real facts of life. Boorstin further points out to historical forces as the source of the unprecedented opportunity to deceive ourselves. The believes , wants and expectations of the people in the world have made them unable to face realities in life which in fact exists and is part and parcel of the living. We do face these facts in every day activities but out of illusions we avoid them so much for the sake of comfort ability and extravagant expectations. The author puts it in simple terms that, ‘our expectations are extravagant and goes beyond the limits of moderation’, (Boorstin, 3).
Our limits to face realities have widened the scope of unreality which is termed as a ‘thicket of unreality’. It’s through this that our illusions have widened unreality in us. We are expecting new things every time in the world that are fascinating and favorable to us. This is being individualistic and is the best cause of unreality in the world. We are expecting every thing in the world to turn in our favor but unfavorable to others. He points to an example of a person who is in a two- week vacation, he expects it to be romantic, exotic, cheap and effortless, (Boorstin,4).But what about the organizers of the extravagant vacation for you, don’t you think that they also need similar treatment from you which will make your vacation unfavorable and expensive for you. This is what he points out as being unrealistic due to the extravagant and individualistic nature of mankind.
Boorstin further blames the extravagant expectation as the best cause of unreality to mankind. What the world holds for us in everyday life dictates the degree of reality people have. The desire to know more on the world from the news about the heroes, new exotic places, familiar, unfamiliar places and people builds our inward desires to ;live more than others and more than our lifestyle which is impossible and unrealistic. The desires to change the shape of the world according to our wants such as creating new events when there is already none available, make heroes when actually they don’t exist etc, are among the unmet and may be they will never be met issues that are unrealistic. Thus our earthly expectation has ruined our reality about our situations in the world and creates the demands for illusion which deceives mankind, (Boorstin, 5).
The degree of extravagant in the world is under the blame of the writers especially novelists and the newspapers. There exaggeration about the world events and news that are more often and extensive especially the American journalists builds extravagant expectations among the readers which lure the illusions, (Boorstin, 8). The newspapers more aims at transferring the world from God to the newspapermen and now they can frame a story to be more interesting however much it may be anti-Godly. As a result of many events in the world the newspapermen aims at producing the most interesting stories for the pride of the readers’ eyes and mind. And in the process they create illusion to the readers. According to the author, the change in the attitude towards the new is due to the revolutionary change in the attitude of what happens in the world other than American news only. The American readers are demanding more than what the writers can produce in the American newspapers. The author approves demand as one of the readers’ demand for illusion from the newspapers.
As by the author our minds are accustomed to here and experience changes that are better to us but worse to others. That is why Americans wake up every day in the morning seeking for news in the radios, televisions, newspapers of what happened in the world while they were deep a sleep, (Boorstin,10). These expectations of the people to read more from the newspapers everyday has put others in jobs and that is why the author says that we cannot moderate our expectations. This is one of the advantages of illusion so as to keep the nation and its people moving.
According to Christopher Hedges, “we are chained to the flickering shadows of celebrity culture”. The author tries to show us how celebrity world has misled ourselves into unreality. Here he talks about men, their greatness in the world and how they have used these to lure men and women into illusions. These men and women cannot understand that there source of greatness is God given. They imagine that such kind of greatness is earthly gained and that is why they can boost around. This can create anxiety before the people who may want to be like these great men because they are liked, respected and adored by many. They are seen as if they know everything on earth. They do things which are appearing unique to other common people.
Thus majority of the people want to here from them and see them all the time. In most cases they are modeled by other human beings whom the author describes as the graphic revolutionist, (Boorstin, 45). Since time memorial, the author points out that much of our thinking has changed so much about human greatness. We no longer consider human greatness as Godly given. He further points out to those two centuries ago when the people looked at these great men as God’s people. They thus respected them because they were like the representative of God on earth. Their thought was that God had given them extra power than the rest on earth. But today these great men who have turned out to be celebrate. They are looked at from the press agent point of view.
Similarly the world has also divided them into three categories; there are those who are born great, those who have achieved greatness and those who had greatness trusted upon them. The other category is that of those who have used the influence of others to make them great. They hire powerful secretaries and public relations experts to publicize them before the people. Their entrance to celebrate world is influenced by the amount of resources they have than others pin the society. They have converted the reality into a stage of graft, (Boorstin, 45).
The celebrate culture has some elements of thicket unreality such as the imagination that the celebrate world can be earthly gained. There is a lot of advertising of the celebrates especially those who are publicized by the secretaries and the public relations experts they have set an anxiety among the people who want live the kind of life these people are living. Thus everyone wants to here about celebrate in the news especially reading about them in the newspapers. The newspapermen can now be the ones to blame here for over-publishing much about celebrates. It has created allusion in the minds of many people .This still indicates the thicket of unreality as explained by Boorstin.
The author’s claim about reality is true. There is existing thicket of unreality which is majorly brought about by too much anxiety, exaggerations. This has created allusion. The newsmen especially the newspaper people are exaggerating too much in order to sell their business well in the market and in the process they are creating allusions. This makes people to imagine to be what they are not, hence the existence of the thicket of unreality.