Every morning my newspaper arrives in the driveway, double bagged. I feel guilty about the waste of plastic, but one too many times the paper came soaked through… And I had no need for a large paper mache ball.
Every morning I make a valiant attempt to read the paper… the actual paper. There is something about holding a newspaper or a book in your hand that just makes it real.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll gladly take an iPad, but I guess I’m old school at heart.
The problem is that the news changes so quickly, and it is much easier to catch yourself up as you check your daily e-mails. So I will admit, that is where I usually get my daily news. There are of course dangers of getting your information online… mainly that we may read something at 9:05 am and have the story be completely different by 9:08!
There is something to be said about getting your sources straight, doing due diligence and research and then running with a story. Unfortunately, speed is the name of the game these days, and too often that does not happen.
He who reports first, wins. Damn the facts!
Of course, the more in-depth coverage is almost always found in print. It may just take a while longer to get to us. To me, magazines like Time are a great and seemingly balanced source for this. But again, you are coming to the table well into dessert.
As an educated adult I feel it is imperative to be well-informed about the world. But what happens when the news is overwhelming… I mean mind-blowing, over the top, wrack your brain kind of stuff???
In a five-minute stretch I have seen and learned about:
1) The horrors and lies and distorted facts on the Israeli “Flotilla” Incident.
2) The BP oil spill has easily surpassed the Exxon Valdez in terms of gallons of oil lost. And videos of birds and wildlife covered in oil is utterly heartbreaking. Plus, they are now saying the tides may bring the oil up into Florida and along the East Coast.
3) There are a number of horrifying scenarios describing a potential war between South and North Korea, including the fact that no one wants North Korea set free, as the brainwashed North Koreans would simply overrun either South Korea or China.
4) The full extent of the brazen and greed-filled fraud committed by firms like Goldman Sachs and a variety of unregulated hedge funds.
Reading these things puts me on the verge of tears. I feel helpless, overwhelmed. I feel compelled to be educated and understand the issues but at the same time I long to be blissfully ignorant. There was one article on Goldman Sachs in particular where derivatives and the whole shorting the market was described in vivid detail. I felt a little lost, but more importantly, I felt really sick. Literally, physically sick… dizzy… light headed… tears welling up…
But if I pull back to the right here and now, these things do not affect me at this exact moment in time. I have so many other things to worry about in life at this precise moment. That’s what is so crazy… our own lives are so complicated, so chaotic without any of this.
Human beings, for the most part, empathize. We feel things vividly and take things personally. And at some point, all of these stories will directly affect us.
We don’t want to live in tunnels… to hide under the proverbial sheets, but when do we stop? When do we simply close our eyes and ears and hum that song we used to hum when we were kids?
“Na na na na na… I can’t hear you… Na na na na na…”
To feel nothing is horrible… it is the very definition of psychopathic behavior.
To feel too much is equally disastrous. It affects every nerve and fiber in our being.
So I guess it is all about balance… Walking a fine line of empathy and self-preservation.
But with so much going on in this crazy world, how do we cope? How do we deal? How do we find that balance?
We want to help, we want to take action, but sometimes… and often… feel paralyzed. It can be overwhelming.
So I ask you, friends and strangers, what can we all do together to make our world and the world around us a better place? What can we do to be more human and to be a human BEing?