No News Really Is Good News!
When some people hear me justify not reading, watching or listening to the news they get a tad quizzical. But, listen to this 2,000-year-old piece of advice, “If you wish to improve, be content to appear clueless or stupid in extraneous matters” Epictetus. [underline added]
Six-hundred-years ago, Gutenberg invented the press to keep Protestant citizens 'informed', and we have been conditioned to believe that constant high street journalism is the only way to achieve it. But, only the first part of that sentence has merit. Yes, it is the duty of every voting citizen to stay 'informed'. No, journalism is not usually the best way of doing it.
Towards the close of the 20th century, ‘news broadcasts’ accelerated to what today has become 24/7 bulletins on every conceivable device ~ whether we want it or not.
So, my advice to you is: if you want to keep your brains from being sucked out through you nose; if you want to feel happier and healthier; if you don’t want sensationalised or useless or petty distraction do not switch on the tele, radio or click any ‘news flash’ on your device unless you have a very, very, very strong reason for wanting to do so!
In fact, in today’s world of evermore ‘fake’ news, high street journalism is probably the worst possible way of gaining any true perspective of the outside world. Indeed, such sensationalism-for-profit all too often intends to deceive.
Think about this; in February 2016 the head of CBS exclaimed that a certain US Presidential Candidate was "bad news for America" but “damn good for CBS.” If that’s not an indictment for not watching so much news, you might as well stop reading this article right here.
The Better Way To Think
The better way to remain informed about anything is to follow the path of those who never knew real-time journalism. You’ll find them in history. You’ll find them in the law. You’ll find them in the Stoics, and you’ll find them as you study human nature (including our T4TW Blog).
If you truly want to remain informed. If you truly want to understand what’s going on in the world, pick up a biography. Pick up Thucydides. Pick up Plutarch. Read Seneca and Aurelius and Cato. Read The ‘History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire’ by Edward Gibbon. Read psychology. Read Vicktor Frankl's 'Mans Search For Meaning'. Read the constitution of your country. Read the 'The Seven Ages of Man' Poem by William Shakespeare. Read the "the Great Charter of the Liberties" commonly known as the Magna Carta. Read the scriptures. Read my T4TW blogs. And, its OK to read the occassional carefully selected novel. But ...
- Forget tweets!
- Forget SMS!
As we have said before: Read to un-learn! Study to learn! Search to know! Go deep. Go historic. Question for the truth. That’s what informed people do!
And if you are seen as ignorant about every other petty, insignificant thing, you are on the road to enlightenment. You are doing just fine.
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Complicated IS Easy! Simpl IS Hard!