Giving Up News Will Make You Happier and Healthier

A World War II gentleman I know lives alone out in the country.  He has no computer, only a television to know what’s happening beyond the walls of his trailer.  When he calls, however, his thoughts and opinions are identical to what newscasters have told him.  Doesn’t matter what channel.  It’s primarily liberal orthodoxy.

     He says that the news makes him depressed, so I recommended to him some of my recent ideas about turning the sound off while he watches the images.   I also advised him to eliminate all processed foods with added sugars, which I’ve likened to the tobacco scourge in our history.  

     Now I’ve found the perfect article for him, published in The Guardian:  “News is bad for you – and giving up reading it will make you happier,” says Rolf Dobelli, who adds that “News is bad for your health. It leads to fear and aggression, and hinders your creativity and ability to think deeply. The solution? Stop consuming it altogether.”  He asks, “Out of the ­10,000 news stories you may have read in the last 12 months, did even one allow you to make a better decision about a serious matter in your life.”

    “News misleads,” says Dobelli.  It spoon feeds ideas nonstop without allowing even a split second to assert a personal assessment.  Then come the commercials that shut out the viewer’s critical faculty.  When tragedy strikes, every emotion is carefully orchestrated in the interests of collective uniformity.  He interestingly makes the comparison of news consumption to our society’s debilitating interests in sugar and entertainment:

    “In the past few decades, the fortunate among us have recognised the hazards of living with an overabundance of food (obesity, diabetes) and have started to change our diets. But most of us do not yet understand that news is to the mind what sugar is to the body. News is easy to digest. The media feeds us small bites of trivial matter, tidbits that don’t really concern our lives and don’t require thinking. That’s why we experience almost no saturation. Unlike reading books and long magazine articles (which require thinking), we can swallow limitless quantities of news flashes, which are bright-coloured candies for the mind. Today, we have reached the same point in relation to information that we faced 20 years ago in regard to food. We are beginning to recognise how toxic news can be.”

    Viewers who think that they can withstand the incessant control of media are only fooling themselves.  You will only carry away fragments of ideas and emotions, none of which will make you stronger.

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