A View From A Happier Place

We have long conjectured that the primary function of modern media is twofold: to influence the movement of money from our bank accounts, and to act as a herding mechanism for our beliefs and behaviors. With this in mind, we embarked some time ago, here in our little home away, on a life altering journey to curate the information we receive. We don’t watch network news except on the rare occasion when an event affects us locally . We’re choosy when it comes selecting digital information sources. We try to be aware of cognitive bias in both the giving and the receiving of information.

We’ve discussed this project here before, but as the efforts to plunder and herd are unrelenting, it bears repeating. It has been interesting to observe how attitudes and behaviors change, for the better, in the absence of broken news and nightly shooting reports.

One of the primary benefits of our project has been the disappearance of a particular kind of stress which had become so endemic to our lives that it existed as a kind of background noise – We didn’t really notice it until it was gone. Last night I went to sleep with my digestion undisturbed by images of inner city violence. The first cup of coffee this morning has not turned bitter with fears of generational change, falling skies and economic collapse.

Unburdened by the spectacle of celebrity drama and opinions about opinions, there is more time for reading, more time for hobbies and projects, and there is no dust on the tools in the shop. Unburdened by politics, I find that people are more likable. If you refuse to discuss politics, your friends may experience some cognitive dissonance at first, but in time your conversations will become more rewarding.

“But if we don’t keep up, how will we know how to vote? It’s vital that we vote, especially now that they are trying to destroy our country!”

If it’s an acquaintance telling you that, you can simply say “If everything you say is true I’d have to agree with you,” smile, and walk away. If it’s a friend, you’re going to have to be patient. Deeply imbedded fears that are continuously groomed can be difficult to overcome. Your friend probably hasn’t read much history, or has forgotten that the same fears, arguments and accusations have cycled through our civilization many times, only now they are amplified by technology.

Your friend is not going to get a historical perspective watching “The View” or listening to Fox News faithfully reporting what was said on “The View.” By the way, I heard a good one recently, suggesting that we can now expand the usefulness of the word, “view,” as in a herd of goats, a flock of sheep, a school of fish, and a view of morons.

I’m not suggesting a “head in the sand” retreat from information about the world. It behooves us to remain alert and aware; to think globally, but not too much, and act locally, very locally, within that bubble of awareness which encompasses family and friends and community.

A cursory glance at my online news aggregator this morning is sufficient to inform me that the news is basically the same as it was three weeks ago, and most of it is opinion. When we separate fact from interpretation and set aside the latter, not much is left to trouble us. What is more important to my daily life is how my neighbor who has been ill is doing this morning. What is more essential to my own continued good health is not the rehashing of perpetual arguments, but the relaxation and fulfillment gained in reading the books I enjoyed by reinvesting that time.

And as far as economics is concerned, is it merely a coincidence that in the absence of the broken, the tacky, the prurient and the manipulative in media, I find that my wallet sits higher this morning, flush with all the cash that wasn’t spent assuaging the fears of an increasingly paranoid culture?

Think about it…but not too hard or for too long. The sun is coming up on another unique and
irreplaceable day. How will you spend it?

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