Sunday, October 24, 2010

News Junkies

I admit it freely--I get uneasy if I don't check my news sources daily, sometimes many times during the day. We live in a society with instant access to knowledge available 24/7. Where once we had to wait hours, days or weeks to hear the news from around the world, we see that news as it happens.

Yes, that instant access can have some positive benefits for us. Knowing what is happening elsewhere can help us to plan ahead, to cry out if that is required, to help when help is needed. But it also has some drawbacks. There is a certain anxiety that comes with having to know what is doing everywhere at every second. Our minds and bodies are on constant alert, and there is a wear and tear price to pay for that. Where once our priorities were first with our families, then our friends, then our community, then our country and then the world at large, everything, everywhere has now become a top priority. No matter what we may have personally to deal with, we are expected to dedicate time and effort to the world at large.

I'm not saying that caring about the world at large is a bad thing, but at what price and to what degree? Our insistence, fostered by instant communication, that we be instantly reachable by everyone, at any time, for any reason, has splintered and fractured far too many of us.

During our last power blackout there were an awful lot of anxious people. Was that anxiety fueled strictly because people were worried about how they would cook or heat their homes or see inside their homes? Only some of it. A lot of that anxiety came because our instant communication devices lost power, and suddenly we were faced with a world only as large as our homes or blocks. We lost access to the torrent of knowledge and contacts we have become accustomed to, and many didn't know how to live in a world like that, were scared of a world like that.

I'm trying to get out of that rut, and to that end I've decided to make Sundays a fairly news-empty day. Okay, I have a way to go, and maybe I'll never get to a totally-news-free day, but I'm trying. Short of a real catastrophe, and news of that will travel by word of mouth no matter what I do, I want one day not to worry about whether a Japanese beetle invasion is going to impinge on avocado production for the next ten years. I do not want to think about whether or not global warming is merely cyclical or created by man. I do not want to think about who has the right to Antarctica or how to define a liberal. I don't want to think about how "they" are trying to take over the world. For one day out of the week all I want to think about is what am I doing, where do I want to go, what do I want to be. For one day I'd like to concentrate on my family and my personal interests to the exclusion of all else. For one day I'd like no more on my plate than will fit comfortably.

What are my chances of this happening? Probably a safer bet to just plop down money on a roulette wheel and set it spinning. Already this morning I've visited a few blogs and news sites, mostly frum ones, and my teeth are already grinding and gritting. And yes, here I am on my own blog, in conversation with that "outside world." Hmmm, perhaps next Sunday.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree that the electronic news sites and blogs are not a healthy way to spend Sundays and I obviously suffer from the same addiction you do, but I find that curling up on the sofa Sunday morning with an afghan, a cup of tea and an old fashioned paper newspaper is one of my favorite parts of the week. There is nothing like completing a Sunday cross-word puzzle, reading some book reviews, seeing some new recipes to try, reading some human interest or science stories, browsing the home decorating pages and ads and daydreaming a little bit to start the week.