Thursday, October 30, 2008
By Steve Hammons
Knowingly or unknowingly, people may be looking for transcendent concepts in fields like media, government, education, national defense and international relations. Transcendent concepts can be applied to almost any endeavor and may represent a new wave of thinking about a wide range of human activities.
This perspective includes several assumptions and conclusions.
One factor in this viewpoint is the awareness that new discoveries have been made, and are being made currently, that impact directly on the human race. These discoveries are, in part, related to the capabilities and strengths of human beings as well as the nature of our environment on Earth and in the Universe.
For example, new views about quantum physics, human psychology and other phenomena often provide support for transcendent thinking. Related to this is the viewpoint that these discoveries may indicate that modified approaches to certain challenges are sometimes appropriate.
"Transcendent warfare" concepts can spark new thinking about international conflict and cooperation as well as peace operations, information operations, public diplomacy and humanitarian efforts.
Transcendent ideas can be applied to creative media such as movies, TV, books and online communications platforms.
Whether the challenge is gathering intelligence on destructive terrorists or understanding how the mass media and TV can most successfully connect with audiences, being open to new and interesting developments can be important.
For example, we might look at the changing relationship of people with the TV media. TV is one window into society and can tell us something about ourselves.
In the aftermath of the Hollywood writers strike, studies have shown that TV viewers are drifting away from some of the broadcast networks' programming. A widening variety of good-quality cable channels, delayed viewing via DVRs and current events such as the political campaigns and the financial crisis have been cited as part of the reasons for viewer behavior and choices.
Some observers suggest that viewers want diversion to help them forget their plunging home values, disintegrating financial investments, increasing risks of job loss, apparent government dysfunction and ongoing war in foreign lands.
Other people note that shows having practical value, insight or maybe some valid connection to reality are attractive to many viewers. The idea of shows having meaningful connections to reality should not to be confused with "reality TV" such as competitions at unusual challenges and the camera-eye view of the lives of publicity-seeking lower-tier celebrities.
Another kind of reality TV refers to programs that explore our connections with, and our understanding of other people, society and the fast-changing world we live in today. What is going on in the world? How do I and my family and community fit in? What are the dangers, opportunities and discoveries around us now?
These questions may help create a foundation for TV programming that includes tried-and-true stories and characters, a solid rootedness in interesting current events and plenty of room for imagination and creativity.
Combining these elements with fundamental aspects of human striving, human strength, human dignity and human progress might just be a winning recipe for attracting today's TV viewers.
This is the opposite of the "dumbing down" of TV.
Today's mass media, including TV, are platforms within which many creative ideas can flourish, entertain, enlighten and inform.
When we open ourselves to emerging developments and when we craft new approaches and creative endeavors in response to these developments, renewed and significant connections with audiences might result.
CONNECTING AND UNDERSTANDING
The connections between what is going in our lives, our communities, our societies and on our planet are interwoven in many ways. The activities of humanity, the events triggered by Nature and possible impacts from forces and factors we don't fully understand also intertwine.
Exploring the known realities around us as well as examining the unknowns are part of a vibrant and robust approach to many different kinds of endeavors. Some of these knowns and unknowns are equally mysterious, fascinating, frightening or uplifting. They may provide worrisome warnings or hopeful optimism. They can trigger defensive preparation or a peek at a fantastic breakthrough for the human race.
Down-to-Earth challenges can include activities such as developing needed renewable energy, reducing nuclear proliferation and developing innovative educational platforms for our children.
Some of the unusual mysteries that fascinate millions of people are also subject to a transcendent approach.
What are those unidentified flying objects (UFOs) that seem to be spotted fairly frequently over places like Stephenville, Texas? Are all crop circles made by human pranksters? Do humans possess a "sixth sense" of internal awareness that includes extra-sensory perception (ESP)? Are there other dimensions of reality where we go after physical death? What might be hidden within our DNA?
Common denominators in the ideas ranging from transcendent TV to transcendent warfare to unusual transcendent phenomena may be issues in intelligence gathering and intelligence dissemination.
Also, what do people perceive as being valuable, useful, truthful, worthwhile and important? Then, how can the related concepts and information be organized and communicated in effective ways?
A transcendent approach combines the best of solid proven methods along with innovative and leading-edge knowledge and insight. A thoughtful and well-structured combination of these may create another level of understanding and success.
Transcendent viewpoints may also create opportunity for new ways of accomplishing worthwhile objectives that are beneficial at many levels.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
By Steve Hammons
What do TV audiences want to watch this fall and in the coming months?
After the recent writers’ strike, that is a big question on the minds of people in the TV business. There are few new shows this fall in the aftermath of the strike.
For viewers, the message from creative development folks in the TV business may be: “We are experiencing technical difficulties – please stand by while we figure out what you want to watch.”
Is there viewer interest in futuristic and science fiction kinds of programming? What about cop and investigation shows? Sitcoms? Shows primarily about human relationships? Will viewers tune in to drama shows about various kinds of current events, or is that too depressing?
There seems to be interest in shows about leading-edge scientific developments and even unusual phenomena. Some of these topics fascinate large and diverse audiences.
Combining several of these genres in ways that are fun, moving and meaningful for TV viewers might fall into the category of what is being called “transcendent perspectives” and “transcendent activities.” These transcendent concepts generally consider our current social, psychological, media, scientific and international realities to be elements that can be adjusted in light of new, emerging developments.
Some of these developments are unconventional.
For example, several years ago, a U.S. Navy SEAL officer wrote a graduate-level research paper that dealt with the government’s Project STAR GATE program on ESP, “anomalous cognition” and specific intelligence gathering-activities called “remote viewing.”
The SEAL officer used the term “transcendent warfare” to describe a kind of thinking and viewpoint that takes into consideration new, emerging and very interesting discoveries. He pointed out that certain new kinds of thinking and perceiving are part of leading-edge understanding of human psychology and human consciousness.
Would TV viewers be interested in drama that blends interesting characters, elements of investigative shows, fascinating and fun locations, current events as well as a higher and deeper “transcendent intelligence” angle?
Some trend-spotters or trend-guessers say that viewers want escapist TV to take their minds off of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, terrorism, the worsening economic situation, concerns about government integrity and all of the politics in an election year.
They suggest that people want shows that take us back to the “good old days” of years past. Remakes of previous programs from previous decades may be popular with baby boomers and new generations coming up too.
It may be difficult to determine what viewers want to watch when they themselves may not be sure. Whatever the TV audiences are hungry for, writers and producers have a larger window of opportunity this fall to brainstorm about it.
In part because of the writers’ strike, TV executives and entertainment writers have noted that, perhaps especially for broadcast networks, new shows will be rolled out this winter in a sort of “fall season, part two.” In fact, some say that the fall season has expanded to 365 days a year.
The strike by more than 12,000 writers of the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW), and Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE), began Nov. 5, 2007. It interrupted the usual cycle of development of existing and new shows.
When the strike ended on Feb. 12, 2008, the timetables for creating new shows had been disrupted. As a result, this year’s fall season for fresh programming included only a fraction of the number of new programming usually rolled-out in the fall.
While the creative development pipeline fills up again with new series concepts, decision-makers are trying to read the minds of viewers: What do TV audiences want to watch?
The wave of transcendent perception may be emerging now more significantly. Media that embrace it and utilize it might ride that wave to new success in connecting with audiences in important ways.