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Breakup with the news

If every time you spend time with your partner, she only talks about depressing stuff, constantly bums you out and makes you feel bad, would you stay in that relationship?

Or say you have a friend that you only see for about half an hour a day, but every time you do, every single day, he tells you these things, in this exact order:
1. Some people just died in Wherever
2. They’re thinking of a building a new highway in Whothehellcares
3. There was almost a terrorist attack in Blahblahblah
4. Some sports results
5. The weather today was cold in some places and hot in other places and tomorrow it will also be cold in some places and also hot in other places
5. A cute story about a cat being rescued from a tall building or maybe a new panda was born in captivity.

Sure the sports results could interest you, and the panda story’s cute, but wouldn’t you tell him, ‘Seriously, man, can you please just go away and never talk to me again’?

So why do some of us read, watch or listen to the news?

I don’t think that totally ignoring what’s going on in the world’s the best thing to do. But if you’re interested, reading books or watching good documentaries about what’s going in is a much better way to do it. I don’t watch or read the news but I’m going to guess I can tell you the news today:

‘TERRORISM IS EVERYWHERE. BE SCARED –ALL THE TIME.  THE IMMIGRANTS ARE GOING TO MURDER US AND STEAL OUR JOBS. THE ECONOMY IS BAD BUT IT USED TO BE GREAT.  THINGS USED TO WORK PERFECTLY, NOW THEY WORK LIKE CRAP. EVERYTHING USED TO BE GREAT AND PEOPLE USED TO BE HAPPY. EVERYTHING IS BAD NOW AND WE WILL NEVER BE HAPPY AGAIN. WE USED TO HAVE SO MUCH FREEDOM AND NOW WE HAVE NONE. EVERYTHING IS BAD NOW AND IT’S GETTING WORSE. ‘

If you read measured and informed arguments in books or in certain documentaries, you can still learn about events in the world, but they analyse and address the most important parts of them, without having to make it sexy, or sensational or good for advertisers to make money.

And anyway, history repeats, so if you want to understand the conflict in the Middle East, fears about immigration, pick up any historical book written about any age and you’ll have a far better understanding than the news can give you. Whether its about a period more than 2000 years ago, 1000 years ago or 40 years ago (or less), you’ll see that themes around migrations, liberalism, conservatism, religious conflicts, fear of minorities etc. all go in cycles. And surprise surprise, they’re repeating again.