“There are many things of which a wise man might wish to be ignorant” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
I haven’t watched TV news or read a paper since mid-2009. Oh sure, I’ve stumbled into some ‘news’ during halftime of a football game, have read some odd stories while crumpling up newspaper to start a Winter fire, or see the social media chatter, but for the most part, I haven’t been party to headlines in years.
And look, I survive! Somehow I still work, breath, eat, and am entertained. I thrive actually. I find myself doing what I want to do just about everyday, and have even started a business that revolves around what I like to do, namely getting people to consider a greener/more sustainable lifestyle.
I feel better than ever, have created more time for family and art and things I want to do. Most importantly, I create a head space filled with things I want to be in there, not things I should worry about.
My marriage is better than ever, and I have a great time with my kids. They don’t overhear details of school shooting or marathon bombings because the CNN/FOX/MSNBC is never on. Never. Ever.
So I miss a joke during a Jimmy Fallon monologue? Wake me when that’s important.
Tune out and you’ll be better too, once you realize the world doesn’t stop because you don’t know what the headlines are. Even more importantly, you’ll realize YOUR WORLD doesn’t stop. It will actually slow down and be more manageable. Does the news stress you out? Shut it off.
I was never much for water cooler talk, and actually would laugh out loud when marketing people would actually speak of such things in meetings. Can we dumb ourselves down any further? Have we no sense of creativity left? Can we only talk about, or be interested in, what everyone else is talking about?
I remember the time specifically that I opted out of the mainstream media bs. It was a final straw reaction I had to a feeling that was totally duped in the recent election. I won’t get too political here, but it did spin out of the political arena. But I owned it. I felt like a fool, fooled again with the next best thing, only to find I got the placebo, the snake oil, the empty suit.
So I decided it was MY FAULT for taking what I was being given, and not carving my own path of thought. So I stopped. Cold turkey. No nothing (except sports scores, which I must say are the most real thing in the news).
The first major event that happened during my blackout, was the earthquake in Haiti. Terrible thing. Awful. You couldn’t NOT know about something like that, especially with social media blowing things up.
But that’s where it ended for my head space. I didn’t need to watch 24-7 coverage of peoples plight. Yes, there were wonderful heroic stories, as there were gut wrenching tales of horror and loss. Neither were going to help me help my kids that week.
Before you think I’m just sticking my head in the sand, or using the ignorance is bliss cop out, remember these ‘news events’ are now packaged for entertainment purposes. Bad news gets ratings! School shootings get ratings! There are producers/director’s calling every shot during these tragedies, play by play, knowing fully how to pull your heart strings and keep you tuned in. It’s sick, and I don’t reinforce that behavior anymore.
I don’t need to know about every natural disaster, murder, rape, coup, or war that happens. Instead, I’ve spun my world to concentrate on the things I CAN help, which is being a better human being and better to the planet. That’s actually more important to the big picture than anything on the TV today. And it makes me feel GOOD, not depressed or worried.
The library still exists, and there are countless books, more than I could ever read, about politics, money, sex, psychology, science, history, the world, turtles…. you name it. I can easily bookmark, and have literally at the tips of my fingers, ALL the sources of information I deem credible, or that are to my liking. I choose my sources. I can read read read all day long if I choose, without being TOLD what to read because it’s the paper.
It’s like I broke free of my shackles, only to learn I had the key the whole time. You can do it, and you won’t miss a thing.
Less TV, more music!
Just yesterday a neighbor came over and was flustered at some political thing that’s in the news. I knew there was some hubbub going on because you can’t NOT see it on the social media, but I couldn’t for a million dollars explain what it was (like Duck Dynasty).
All I could think was shut it off, you’ll be happier. Politician ___________ will win the next election, and things will mostly stay the same. That’s the game. They count on you to play the roles of left wing vs conservative. They bank on it. They need you to get riled up. A bookie doesn’t need one side to win by a lot, they just need equal action on both sides to make money. And the guy who owns both fighters in the fight never loses.
These stories are chosen to polarize, and to put you on one side or the other. You can’t be put on a side if you ignore them. Yes, you win if you don’t play.
For a people who supposedly love and crave freedom, we in the USA seem to just strive to be like everybody else. Yes, we all seek acceptance, but that’s a different conversation. If you want to learn something, or grow as a human, you need to step out of your comfort zone. Shake up your information sources, there are options all around you (that’s why they now want to slow down and control your internet!).
Yes there are stories out there, many fascinating, most not so much. We can read about them, or watch them play out, over and over again, 24-7, but what do they really have to do with us? There are plenty of ways to actually help people, every day, right now, without waiting for a tragedy, and then buying the t-shirt.
My news revolves around myself, my wife, my kids, my friends, my neighbors, my work, my music, my art, and that’s it. If all is well there, then life is good. If watching CNN would bring about World Peace I’d do it, but I’m working on, and succeeding at, peace of mind in my world.
People at peace don’t shoot up schools or plant bombs.
Don’t let them make you crazy, make up your own mind, and make your own news. Turning it off is a good start.