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  • We know that we must, to lay claim to any respectability or competence, keep up with the news.

  • That's why we've ringed the earth with satellites, crisscrossed it with

  • fiber optic cables, and created networks of bureaus that inform us with maniacal urgency

  • of pretty much any event to have unfolded anywhere on the planet in the last few moments.

  • We are, furthermore, equipped with tiny devices that we keep very close to hand,

  • so as to monitor all unfolding stories in close to real time.

  • We have been granted a ringside

  • seat on the second by second flow of history. As a result we see a lot more.

  • And at the

  • same time, strangely, we see a lot less.

  • The constant presence of news from without hampers

  • our ability to pick up on an equally important, though far less prestigious source of news from within.

  • We are not, by nature, well equipped to see inside ourselves.

  • Consciousness bobs

  • like a small boat on a sea of disavowed emotions. A lot of feelings and ideas require a high

  • degree of courage to confront.

  • They threaten to make us uncomfortably anxious, excited

  • or sad were we to learn more about them.

  • So we use the news without to silence the news

  • from within.

  • We have the most prestigious excuse ever invented not to spend too much time

  • roaming freely inside our own minds.

  • It is not that the news from without is unimportant

  • to someone (indeed, it will be the most important thing in certain people's lives a continent

  • away or in a company in the capital or somewhere in the upper reaches of government), it's

  • just that this news is almost certainly wholly disconnected from our real priority over the

  • coming years; which is to make the most of our life and our talents in the time that

  • remains to us.

  • It is touching that we should give so much of our curiosity over to strangers,

  • but it is poignant that we are forced eventually to pay such a high price for this constant

  • dispersal of energy.

  • We dismiss fragile, tentative thoughts about what we should do next, who

  • we should call, what we really need to do, thoughts upon which an adequate future for

  • us dependsfor the sake of the more obvious drama of the moment.

  • But the drama won't

  • save us, and cares not a jot about our development or our real responsibilities.

  • It feels counter-intuitive

  • to think that there might be certain things more important than the news.

  • But there is:

  • our own liveswhich we have, troublingly, been granted such prestigious reasons and means

  • to avoid confronting.

  • We can educate ourselves in the art of being calm.

  • Not through special teas or slow breathing but through thinking.

  • This book guides us through that process

We know that we must, to lay claim to any respectability or competence, keep up with the news.

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Why We Should Not Watch Quite so Much News

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    Rong Chiang posted on 2018/05/01
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