I have seen the book you refer to thelerner, but have not read it, but you are right on the money.
I use the term Artifical Reality, but maybe it would be more accurate to say Artificed Reality, it is a package set of perceptions and desiderata that we are fed in order to control how we see things and what we see as significant elements in 'our' world. But unless you are personally encountering some of these elements, then they aren't truly part of your unfolding personal experience.
The mass media is not a natural phenomenon, they are crafted and limited, and counting on them to define what
'world' you inhabit will mislead you into being focused on something that ultimately doesn't really exist .... crafted perceptions.
Direct, personal growth isn't acheived by focusing on the international events that your goverment or the owners of a few multinational meme marketing companies want to present to you, it is in noticing what occurs in the interface between your experience of existence and the infinite manifestations of the Tao that occur around you.
While it may be possible for the Tao to speak to us through the television, I doubt it happens very often.
It's not about passivity, it's about being centered in yourself, not what those that rule think you should be centered on. There are many situations that demand action, and even violence can be neccesary, but it is difficult to imagine what could lead a seeker of the Way to become involved in the ongoing pissing contests between opposing groups of militant, authoritarian monotheists.
The militant neo-jihadists are so extreme and violent because their ideology has failed, their people wouldn't accept it, so they became more radical and their ranks filled with the most violent and fanatical. Our ruling elites are deeply involved with the Saudi Arabian monarchy, which funds the radical imams who teach the New Jihad to disgruntled and angry young men. They do this in order to focus their revolutionary ire on some other target than themselves. Since the ruling elites make a great deal of money off of their relationship with the Saudis for both oil and weapons sales, AND having a never-ending war with an ephemeral enemy that by definition can never be defeated, the alchemy of the situation allows for military-industrial complexes wet dream - The Forever War.
On top of that it has a great deal to do with the fact that demand for oil has continued to increase at a near unprecedented rate, but supply is not increasing .... it is declining. This means that the US must secure control of supplies of oil or face the collapse of it's way of life. Given that supplies are not increasing and demand from the EU, China and India are rapidly outpacing our own, that means we must take oil from someone else.
Now, it took me a lot of reflecting and examing to put all that together....and it's accurate.
What good does any of that do me? Does any of that affect how my day will unfold tommorow? Will it help me to be aware of how I make my life more difficult every day?...Does knowing any of those things lead me to deeper understanding of the unfolding manifestations of the Tao in my daily life?
I don't think so. It scatters my focus, and especially leads me to feel emotions that have no real target, my anxiety for instance would be generated by an abstract threat some guy on television is telling me about, and therefore an anxiety I cannot take any direct action to rectify.
I would have been better off, spending that energy and attention, if I truly seek to live in harmony with the Tao, paying attention to how I walk ...or why I eat what I eat...or any number of things that seem mundane or frivilous in comparison to all the big, serious world events that the media and goverment insist I must be concerned with, but they have a great deal more to do with my ongoing experience of existence than the New Crusade against the Infidel, whoevers infidel it might be.
Sorry this is so rambling, I just woke up.
Take care everyone.
And, of course, he's an easily manipulated idiot, why do you think they chose him as the front man?
and he is so patriotic and concerned about Amehricuh, because when a goverment is in trouble, loyal ministers will appear.