Herr Bischoff

The Unbearable Invasiveness of News

Today I conclusively cut the cord to daily news. I just couldn’t take it any more.

Not only is the signal-to-noise ratio radically low, it also feeds off sensational developments at a breathtaking speed. Everything is controversial, everything is potentially scandalous, everything is loud, important, happening-right-now and demands to be known by me.

You know what? No.

I do not need to know everything. I do not need to know it right this instance. If something catastrophic is in progress, I’ll probably be noticing it the moment it becomes relevant to me. If I don’t, I don’t. I cannot and will not prepare for every eventuality. Also, let’s be honest: what can you actually do about most issues, in particular those outside of your immediate surroundings? Probably the answer will be “zilch”.

Focusing on what you can do is way more productive. In your local community, with friends, family and strangers. Strangers are strangers as long as you don’t meet them and do something together. Even be entirely on your own if you like. Don’t talk too much about world-sized issues because those tend to blot out the issues present in your immediate surroundings. The latter you may be able to influence, the former you will not. No chance. At least not now. Maybe someday. As a result of your local work that expanded. But not now.

I’m writing this as much for me as for any potential reader. As a kind of mantra to remind me that I’m doing a useful, a helpful thing, not dodging away from any kind of societal responsibility. The news cycle has become toxic and harmful to my well-being. Peeling myself away is a form of self-defense to shield my mental health from further harm.

From now on, I will try to get rid of all unnecessary distractions and focus on what I can contribute, to help others, which also helps myself. I will find a way to meditate again. I will start reading books again. I will slow down even more.

I already feel a bit better than I did before writing this.