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Saturday, January 22, 2011

People and News

People need to be better equipped to process news. News surrounds us; and news is not truth.

In particular I am thinking of bad news.

Bad-news-spreading can feel noble, can be almost compulsive; especially if you are at all left-of-centre in your politics, or are a sensitive person. Spreading negative stories to others is a way to make yourself feel like someone might pursue a remedy; it is also a way to try and exorcise the negative emotion one feels when reading about duck deaths in corporations' tailing ponds or the like.

Bad news can raise people's awareness, leading to organization; and so promote change...

But what is much more likely is that the reader will feel worse about life than they did before. Worrying can detract from the energy needed to live your own life.

And a life lived heedlessly can lead to, say, addiction, which can contribute to statistics, which can be used to sell a newspaper, which can detract more energy from another person's life into an informational non-event which has no real meaning.

So be very careful where you spend your emotional energy. Right now the only bad news I am really letting myself care about is threats to net neutrality. As people, we are all awesome. If we can have a free internet I am pretty sure we can solve all those other problems... :)

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