“I read the news today, oh boy…”
I have really been attempting to limit my time reading or watching any current news. Particularly over the past few years. But, the reasons actually have little to do with the generally depressing nature of what is reported. During my lifetime, very few changes have occurred within the depths of human nature. Therefore, there has always been much sickness and sadness to report, and certainly more than enough people willing to ingest an endless supply of reporting from those who wish nothing more than for us to get our dose of reality — especially from them.
No, I have gotten much more selective at the news-banquet because something has changed dramatically and irreversibly — fracturing and fragmenting my attention. It has everything to do with the methods by which the news messages are delivered, the variety and viscosity of those delivering them, and the expansion of those messages being sold as “news.”
Today, our news is delivered from almost everywhere, by anyone with the means and motivation to reach the rest of us, and with coverage that is comprehensive enough to document virtually every minute of every day. And we, for the first time in human history, have been afforded the God-like power to hear and see all this news — and to watch over our planet — from the palms of our hands. It is enough to leave the news-junkie in me, dizzy and confused.
In fact, this empowerment has become almost addictive, compelling many of us to spend most of our days deep inside our news-reading, tech-environments — often feeling as though this exercise is more richly rewarding and fulfilling than participating fully within our own real worlds. There are generations alive today who’ve never known anything different.
To an ever greater extent, we are wielding these news-sharing devices in a manner that suggests we have grown numb to the power they provide us — just another mundane tool needed to survive. To others, perhaps they feel like a birth-right, and a natural extension of who they are and what they deserve. And they wish to, not only read and react to the news, but to be part of it — to inhabit the virtual. Yes… they are the news — important, immediate and relevant.
As a lump in the belly, they were broadcast-friendly. As their first words formed, they became reporters — and messages babbled from their lips with news of their world. And we watched, and we “liked” it, and we waited for more — all the while, telling our own tales from “the front.”
Such empowerment! Our species connected and communicating. What could possibly go wrong? How could this ever be anything but wonderful? “We made it”, and are all witnesses to the fact! Planet Earth still has a shot at a healthy life — and with most of us on it.
“Made it where?” you may ask — before launching into your laundry list of problems, plagues, and challenges in our world that have attacked your life or tarnished your perspective. “Here!” I say — right here. We made it, in the sense that our differences and competing personal dynamics have not yet completely killed us all. To be sure, billions have perished along the way in every conceivable manner, both natural and unnatural. But none-the-less, “We are still here.” Those of us who continue having a stake in the action and outcome are alive, brimming with technology and, if we choose, poised to change the future. It will happen one way or another — with our participation or without.
So in the meantime, for those of us still here, struggling to figure it all out — those of us living together or living alone — let’s all share the magic in this sparkling news moment. Let’s all reflect in silence before watching some random stranger crash their car or feed a bear; before watching them have sex or shoot their neighbor; before watching them steal a package or fly a drone; before watching them break their neck or beat a dog; before watching them eat poison or play the slots; before watching them punch a wall or wash their cat; before watching them slit a throat or toast a sponge; before watching them pass out drunk or bomb a village; before watching them change their world or change their mind… revel in the joy of now — right now — and never take for granted our legacy, and this specific match-point in our collective game of life. Before the future comes crashing in, before you move on to who’s doing what, next; celebrate with me. “We made it!”
Thanks for participating. Now let’s go back to our normal lives — which for me includes less time holding the world in the palm of my hand.
And should some of you finally get bored with messages from distant reporters - agitated and anonymous - or numbed by the piles of bad and benign news you are fed from every corner of the planet… then look up - like I did - and start seeing more of the world that holds you in the palm of its hand. A place where it hears your pulse and feels your breath. A place where news and life need more from you, than just watching, and waiting.