With monster-sized corporate advertisements reaching their way across the globe to even the far-away corners of Mozambique and Kazakhstan, the folks at Adbusters magazine meet their days with no shortage of challenges. Founded two decades ago as a nonprofit organization with the agenda of revolutionizing our “mental environments,” Adbusters has been the driving force behind such successful grassroots campaigns as Buy Nothing Day and Digital Detox Week, which serve to help us rethink consumerism and to cleanse our minds of the mental pollution with which advertisements bombard us.
As an activist and contributing editor at Adbusters, Micah White advocates for simplifying our lives by rejecting social networking sites, limiting our electronic media and actually connecting with people face to face. He argues that there are heavy cultural consequences to relying on search engines and sites like Facebook, stating that “whatever is present on Facebook is obscuring the genuine political movement as well as real-life friendships.” He challenges modern-day activists to resist the easy successes of modern technology and reassures us that “it is OK to not have answers immediately and that it is healthier for the mind to slow down and be contemplative.”
With Adbusters articles such as “Commit Facebook Suicide,” “Beware of Wikipedia” and “Screen Addiction” on his list of well-reasoned and philosophically insightful writings, White is no stranger to the concept of mental clarity, and is currently writing a book on the same subject. White points out that although word of movements and events can spread like wildfire from iPhone to iPhone, the real successes are when people actually show up, get involved and build a community movement beyond our electronic screens and into our natural environments.
To that end, Micah White speaks on “Our Mental Environment” on Saturday, Sept. 19, at the Nest, 1019 Atlas Peak Road, Napa. 6pm. Free. Sponsored by Wandering Rose. 707.255.7484.