News is usually labeled good or bad. Even before we hear news we have this internal decoder guiding us in thinking if it will be good or bad. We hope for good news but steel ourselves for the bad. Sometimes there is no telling what will be said. There is rarely an in between news condition, but sometimes news is both good and bad intertwined and dependent on something else. What is truly fascinating about news is how colored it can become in our own presentation of it that amplifies its conditioning as good or bad. That in my mind is the truly dangerous news regardless of its label.
A long time ago I learned there are times it is best to not listen to the news. Not because it was not newsworthy or even interesting but rather because of how opinionated it all really was. There is no room for my own formulation of the information into an opinion of my own as it comes neatly packaged already. The information being already figured out, assessed and categorized as good or bad and as a result the implications of it are listed for my own use. Perhaps they did this for my convenience or perhaps to sway and influence me without the necessity of debate.
People say the news has changed. There was a time when it was delivered matter of fact with as little as possible personal inflection. Stand alone information that could then be discussed, debated and researched to form results and opinions that could then be further discussed. It was simply the news; information each person hearing it then had the responsibility to discern, apply or use as they saw fit. I often try to think what that would be like to hear fresh information like that and feel the steady thought processes occur to determine its relevancy to me. Trying to do this with today’s news is nearly impossible because it is quite difficult to sift through the personal inflection and opinions already baked into the information being shared.
Understandable we are all human and have emotions that come up for us based on the news, I imagine the job of a news reporter to be one the hardest. It must be difficult to hold a level face free of emotion and feeling and keep their personal biases, opinions and feelings out of what they are reporting on. The human heart is strong and some of our own personal convictions even stronger depending on the topic. Combined with their job responsibilities and necessity of aligning with management messaging that may in fact conflict with their own ideas and beliefs, it further complicates what seems on the surface to be a relatively simple task of relaying news.
With all of the complexities then I believe it was simple for me to not listen to the news anymore. Granting myself a peace of mind that I could find out information I needed from other sources and if it didn’t directly impact me then maybe I could live without knowing it anyway. That worked for awhile. It gave my blood pressure time to lower and a general relief from stress of worrying about political climates, international problems and even local concerns that I felt pressure to feel as the reporter explained. While these were helpful to my mental health it also seemed to leave a hole where I felt like I was missing something important. Something I should know about and be informed of as a person.
I think as humans we have a curiosity of things in the world. We need news to feel connected to the bigger picture to inform us so we can make choices and decisions in our lives. As much as we would like to sometimes feel we are able to live isolated and without community of others that simply isn’t always true. We are a part of something bigger even if at selected times. It is necessary to have news both about our community and those we more intimately care about. There is no way to separate us completely from the influences of community.
We can blame the educational systems, society and many other elements for the state of news and it’s delivery to us and if that is the cause I believe we have even a bigger responsibility in fixing it. There may not even be an answer for it all at this point either. It then comes down to individuals like you and me living and demanding naturalism in what we do every day, including how information and news is shared and consumed. That to me means breaking up with the trends of how something is done simply because that’s how we are expected to consume it. Similar to our consumption of products, news is a commodity that should be driven by consumer taste, preferences and means for delivery and consumption.
For me, it comes down to figuring out how to incorporate news into living naturally so I get what I need from it without the swirl of emotions that comes with it most of the time. Sifting through the news to arrive at those nuggets of information that challenge me to think openly and honestly about what it means and how I feel about it. In many ways this act of bravery is the same process we go through to live naturally anyway since it too challenges us to break from status quo and societal trends to listen to our own heartbeat. In this case it is the invitation to let our own minds work in the formation of action, emotion, connection to us from what is happening around us and at the world at large.
I think it is simply beautiful to rethink news in this way. It has given me a position of power to listen to the news and know that I will walk away with my own conclusions in it. Mastering the practice of living natural gives us that power and confidence to take these bold steps into reclaiming news consumption and enriching our lives from it. What a lesson we can teach our young children in how they too can learn and consume as confident, intelligent people who think for themselves.
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