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Too much bad news                                                                                     Print this essay

Posted at: Oct/22/2009 : Posted by: mel

Related Category: My philosophy,

It is very easy to feel overwhelmed. In this era of continuous information, 24 hour news channels, pod casts, iPhone, etc it is easy to decide that our world is falling apart.

Technology has given us access to a continuous stream of information and most of it seems bad. Bank failures, unemployment numbers, suicide bombers, murder, rape, greed, corruption, tax increases….seems like the whole world is falling apart. How much of this do we really need and is the world on the brink of destruction?

For many of us, the hunger for timely information is reminiscent of those harried, harrowing months just after Sept. 11, 2001. There was no Twitter, YouTube, or iPhone, but there was 24 hour news channels and the beginnings of social networking sites. Many of us paid attention because we wanted to be informed, we had to be informed. The media services responded and our hunger to be informed was fed with a continuous stream of sensationalized events complete with high definition video. Watching this stuff is addicting and worse yet, it can be overwhelming. Once you feel you are informed about the world, you want to stay informed. What is the latest disaster? Who is the most recent politician whose personal indiscretions have now come to the surface. And I need to know all this because I need to be able to make good decisions since this affects my life…or does it?

The problem with news is that bad news is always more sensational than good news. The short version is “Bad News Sells”. When being bombarded with all this bad news it is easy to get overwhelmed and decide the world is falling apart. This can lead to a pretty depressing view of life and its possibilities. I personally think that a little research would show that we are living during one of the safest times in mans history. I know, thoughts of terrorism and random violence are with us, but these acts are actually fairly rare. The majority of the world can go to bed each night with food in their stomach and reasonable confidence they will wake up in safety the next morning. Considering man’s violent history of marauding bands and armies, this may be just about unprecedented.

Don’t let the plethora of bad news drag you down. It is very easy to become consumed by the wealth of bad news that is now available and find yourself living in a state of fear with an extremely pessimistic world view. If you really need a regular dose of news, try the local variety. Community news is generally much less sensational focusing instead on what is changing locally and community events. You can also try not being informed for a few days. Besides getting stuck in the occasional traffic jam you did not have advance notice of, life is very likely to proceed just fine. The is a glut of information out there and much like a fast moving tide, it is very easy to find yourself up to your ears and wondering how long you will be able to keep breathing. The world is only as dangerous a place as you choose to start each day believing that it is.

If aliens are sitting around watching our news channel signals that stream out into space the presumption would be that we are all cocaine addicts getting ready to fly planes into each others houses. While it may be a good way to keep the aliens away, this just isn’t what my life is about. I for one don’t want to be come obsessed with misery.

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