"If the problem can be solved why worry? If the problem cannot be solved worrying will do you no good." - Buddha
We all know the over bombardment of news isn't good for us. It's mentally draining. Five minutes from waking in the morning we might already be aware of ten people we don't know, but have the loosest connection with, in a situation we can't understand. What's the point of this?
It's a constant head f**ck.
It's not that I don't care what's happening around the world or in other countries to other people but at least throw in a possible solution, optimism, balance, rather than these bullet points of horror. It's the constant repetition too. My Facebook friends who I share similar interests, thoughts and views with must collectively end up sharing one particular news story at least fifty times a day.
The other morning I was half-halfheartedly making my way through a bowl of cornflakes as one of the main stories on the radio was how there's now further evidence that the Great Barrier Reef is dying. The negative and detrimental impact this is having on the ecosystem is huge. That was the information I was left with before leaving for work. How am I supposed to pretend that anything matters? Maybe I'm being slightly nihilistic, but It's too much.
In my last post, I reflected on my time spent volunteering. During this period I went three months with very little exposure to any media. I lived with a few other volunteers on a fairly remote caravan park in Northern France which had very questionable WIFI. We spent the winter evenings either talking, drinking cheap red wine, sleeping or gathering around music. Days off doing laundry, drinking coffee, reading and eating croissants. Ignorance to the wider world was bliss. It was like going back to a simpler time. This was all my world was and needed to be.
Our brains are built with our own survival being a top priority. Almost everything we do is based on our own necessity to survive. Wearing a smart suit to a job interview might make us look and feel good but the underlying reason for wearing it is that we want the job for money, to buy food, so we don't die. "Please don't let me die, I've got admin skills." However, fear is an emotion we're most responsive to and quick to act on, no matter how rational or irrational. It's an emotion that often gets used against us for manipulation. In certain situations, this quick response to fear can mean the difference between life and death. With this said, that fear response is triggered far too often by negative news, and when we're not able to act on it, it sits with us. It just eats away.
I'm not saying we should ban news or stop sharing views but let's not overload ourselves with it. There's a lot of good going on, problems being solved, people doing great work. Maybe I'm being naive but I do think we should try and enrich our lives with more optimistic, productive information rather than despair.