There are times when I hear directly one-to-one or read Tweets or reports or blog posts from people who are slam, bang right up to date on the latest news stories and I feel right out of the loop.
I do occasionally read online versions of newspapers, I listen to radio news but it’s a bit like paddling in the incoming tide of a particularly polluted beach.
I feel obliged to know about all this stuff and a bit guilty when I realise I’m way behind.
Then suddenly you chance to hear something and it all clicks.
A man called Evan Williams recently said something along the lines of;
“…we are addicted to news when we should be addicted to ideas.”
I’ve had a root around trying to find exactly when and where he said this, but then I remembered that’s not the point. That would be news, what I’m interested in is the idea. Maybe I should explain what Evan Williams has done in his life but that would be pointless as you'll all know far more than me. That Twitter bloke will suffice.
It relieved me of, I admit, a fairly lightweight burden of anxiety. I felt some low level social guilt when I didn’t know Miley Cryus had danced in an apparently sexually provocative way in public, but at the end of the day that’s just news. Dull, uninformative, locking the human race into set patterns we should all be trying to shed like dry skin.
I am interested in ideas, in ways of thinking, in concepts that challenge my world view.
I know I enjoy challenging other people’s world view, engaging in dialogue that could, in the very long term, start to improve on the human condition.
News doesn’t do that, sure, you need to know what’s going on but that is the starting point for ideas.
It’s the ideas that are important, not the news, news is the rubble, the waste material that needs to be crushed into aggregate to use as the firm building base for new ideas.
We tend to fiddle about with news as if that’s it, the beginning and the end. This obsession plays directly into the hands of the big power brokers.
The more they can keep us focused on the constant stream of events in the world, the wars, disasters, marriages, divorces, shaking bottoms, shocking crimes the less we think.
The less we question the status quo and accept that the way the world is now, with a miniscule collection of ultra rich people who just get richer and a huge mass of poor people who are just getting poorer, the longer we will think this is ‘normal.’
Nothing is normal, we need to think, have ideas, talk about ideas, argue about ideas, challenge the status quo with every breath, use news as base aggregate, distrust the source, question the accepted wisdom and rise out of the mire of the corporate, coma inducing 'news cycle.'