I heard an interesting podcast today, one of the Optimal Living Daily series. They are interesting and make me think, sometimes they make me hit stop, but mostly they do not. And they are short. That is a good thing.
Anyway, this one was about reducing our access to the news and instead advocates reading books in order to learn about the world. The theory being that the emotional roller coaster of the news (specifically on TV) is designed to make us feel vulnerable and therefore most likely to buy the products advertised around the news. Which makes sense of the number of adverts for holidays in newspapers.
One of my ‘slower’ resolutions was the perennial, but no less urgent for it being repeated, ‘read more’. I think that one of my issues with reading more is that in spending time reading, I cut myself off from the news. I listen to audio books instead of the Today programme, I read a novel instead of the newspaper. But this piece (it was originally a piece by a blogger named Mr Money Mustache ) has reframed that thinking a bit for me.
And it is true, literature offers you a different perspective. Yes, I escape from reality, in that what I am reading about is not happening here and now, but all fiction is based on some sort of reality isn’t it? Fiction puts me into a different pair of shoes and keeps me there for a while as the story lingers in my thoughts. I experience something other than my life.
And how much of the news is reality? How much is actually affecting me. Believe me, I engage with current affairs – I campaign, I vote, I write to my MP, I discuss politics – I think I am a fairly active citizen. But there’s a lot that I cannot change and on balance, not hearing the news more than once a day doesn’t seem to make me less able, instead, the space away from it energises me. And gives me more time to try and make the world a better place, rather than just worrying about how awful it seems to be.