Staring at the news

Joaquin Phoenix in ‘Her’ shares a valuable lesson what it means to (dis)connect with other humans
Good morning! You’ve got 127 new updates. Shall we get started?

You’ve just woken up, and your brain thinks… “What’s happened since I was out? Did the world burn? Was there a new terrorist attack? Who became a Billionaire? What startup is disrupting the world now? What’s the latest with my favourite sports team? What did my friends post on Facebook? Who sent me a what’s app message? Who swiped me on Tinder? How many people liked my Tweet? What did people say about my Instagram post? What’s going on with the Kardashians? (I’m actually not even sure if the world still cares). What Slack messages do I got? Oh and what’s happening in politics?”

So many questions up in your head and it’s not even 8am. “WOW! SLOW DOWN COWBOY”, is what you’re try to say to yourself. However, your brain doesn’t care. It wants more pings, more updates, more sensational headlines that stick to the back of your skull as fly tape. Your brain doesn’t want to think about nothing. If you let it, it wants to stare at the news all day. It wants to see another picture, post, blog, tweet or video.

Are thinking for yourself?

It’s easy to let the news think for you. It’s easy to feel like you’re part of the conversation. It’s easy to trick your mind that you know what’s going on. It’s easy to create an illusion that you know the facts, the context and the nuance. The truth is … it’s actually incredible hard. It’s hard to be truly in the conversation.

Yes, we can shout on Twitter, we can get emotional on Facebook, we can troll on 4chan, we can make fun of the world on Reddit and we can pretend everything is amazing on Instagram. Yet none of these things truly matter if you don’t seek to understand. When have you ever had a serious, deep conversation with people on social media or with yourself for that matter?

What if today, you stop being entertained by the news? What if today you start looking in the eyes of the person next to you. Not for a fraction of a second, but for the entire conversation. Maybe, just maybe, you might discover that the fear of missing out on the news isn’t that scary anymore if you know how to connect with another human in reality.

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