It’s not all bad news…
If you were to open up the BBC website right now, you’d see a cavalcade of bad news. And if you were to turn on your local evening news later this evening, you’d be bombarded with all the stories that bleed and therefore lead: The celebrity turned public villain. The failing healthcare system. The corrupt politician. All negative. All the time.
Our nervous system is designed to keep us safe by keeping us on alert when we sense threats. And this “bad news” for many keeps them hyper aroused, over sensitive and exhausted by the seemingly terrible danger of modern living.
But is it really that much more dangerous to live today than our ancestors had to deal with?
Those looking for a little perspective on this should consider an observation that the brilliant Bill Bryson made on his travels through Australia for his book In A Sunburned Country. Picking up an Australian newspaper in one of the absurdly named small towns he was visiting, Bryson was struck by how much less stressful the news seemed than his hometown paper. Of course, it was actually full of the same journalistic staples, the only difference was that the unfamiliarity of the people and places allowed him to see it with objectivity. These were petty foibles. Things were mostly pretty good.
In a way, this is just a modern version of taking the view that nearly all of the great novelists write about in one form or another: Look at your surroundings with some distance. What you’ll see, was how puny and less stressful things look when you do this — empires turn into molehills, gossip and arguing is reduced to an inaudible murmur. The same thing happens, when you look at history: How common all these things that bother us today were. For how long the same events have been happening.
Of course, that’s no excuse to live in a bubble of ignorance or apathy. Not at all—almost to a rule, those writers remained engaged in public affairs. They were just able to do so with some measure of peace and clarity. They were able to do it effectively, rather than anxiously, fearfully or distractedly.
We don’t experience the world directly, we experience it through our perception. And our perception influences our feelings.
So if you can choose to feel a certain way, how should you look at what’s happening in the world? I choose love 😀