Stephen Fahey: Beautiful Strength

While we all know that mass media wants us to believe the world is full of terrible people careening us towards global apocalypse, in our hearts we all know that’s not true. I know better. And I know that you know better. But every single day we’re fed stories about gangs and crime and murder and disease and tyrants, rather than medical innovations and peace treaties and miracle babies and mountain rescues and literary awards and awesome new works of art. But why? All that stuff makes us feel better about ourselves and each other. Surely that stuff is the news we should be fed. So why isn’t it?

The reason is that there’s no money in good news. Because, deep down in our subconscious, we feel better about ourselves when we hear about those less well off as us. It’s a nasty piece of human evolutionary nature, but it’s true. It’s actually part of the curriculum in journalism schools.

The truth is, though, as we normal human beings know, billions of us get up every morning and work hard and don’t rob, stab, shoot, choke or cheat anyone. Then we come home after a day of contributing to society and fall asleep with a clean conscience. But news feeds would have it that we’re all on our way to hell in bobsleigh, for reasons previously explained.

Clearly it’s not true that the world is falling apart! And it’s clear that they want us to stay worried so that we keep buying their magazines.

We even have physical proof of just how greedy they are: they go so far as to sensationalise already very serious situations. As if elections and wars and presidential assassinations and tsunamis aren’t awful enough, they douse it with dish water and marital infidelity and then rub it into our faces. But, and here’s the kak bit, it’s not their fault. It’s our fault – they only do so because we let them.

We let them because it’s entertaining, and addictive, and emotionally rewarding to know that we’re not embroiled in some sordid nightmare. But, we areembroiled in it, because we support it by paying attention to it. It’s not about getting our money. They already own all the money. But still we pay. And we pay dearly, for enabling the status quo to not only continue, but to thrive. But all we need do is not give them oxygen.

Yes, amazing things happen all the time. All over the world there are brilliant people saving lives and creating things that make our lives easier and more fulfilling. In fact, there’s just too much worldwide beauty happening for any one human being to keep track of. We all know this. But still we suckle that putrid nipple.

And yet some people feed themselves nothing but the good news (even while keeping abreast of current affairs). They prove that we can ignore the main stream of molten slurry being poured down our throats. And, furthermore, they openly attest to the fact that if we did go for a week, or even a day, and let the machine churn away without feeding it our souls, then we would become such far richer people for it.

It costs nothing, but the rewards are infinite. Our unclasping of ourselves from the prescribed teat slings a tall barn door open onto a whole new world of options. That same self-determination is what the horror show of so-called news is taking from us. Or, to be precise, it’s what we are giving it of our own free will. It’s an insidious arrangement that most of us don’t even realise we’re a party to. But we are. And the system is counting on our not copping onto it.

It’s kind of sad. Isn’t it? And not only have we already surrendered, but we didn’t even put up a fight. However, there is hope: The war isn’t over.

In fact, this opening technological salvo is just the first attack in the first battle. The war hasn’t even actually begun. The beautiful strength of technology will obviously continue to help us do great things, but it’s so easy to become smart phone potatoes, like couch jockeys of old, that we really need to get our heads right on this. So, what do we do?

We seek.

It doesn’t even matter what we seek. In the very act of seeking, rather than drinking that slurry, we are more than the sum of our parts. Because then we’re determining for ourselves what we take into our homes and into our minds. What’s more, doing so is immense fun, and massively entertaining. Think about it. No matter what weird stuff you’re into there’s a whole community of people out there posting content. Plus, stumbling onto something new along our way broadens our tastes and lets us enjoy even more cool stuff.

Lastly, even if you don’t take the reins of what you allow into your mind, do be aware of the fact that someone else is controlling your destiny when you watch the so-called news. Don’t believe them. They lie. They cheat you out of a huge chunk of your freedom. And remember, it doesn’t have to be this way. It never did. And it never will. You have the power to choose. We all do.

Stephen Fahey

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