Sometimes, when I read the daily headlines, I lament the loss of innocence.
Simple moments of love are getting buried in the avalanche of hate. Is it time to take a step back and revisit the simple moments?
The dark, nasty, mean-spirited side of humanity is constantly on display almost everywhere and is being exacerbated by the dramatic increase of online relationships. As many of us are dealing with each other via the safety of internet communications, the online world has taken on heightened importance. And the biggest players online are those who had established their presence before the onslaught of the pandemic.
Who are the biggest players? The news media, by far.
I am online a great deal. From writing on this blog to posting and commenting on social platforms, like many I engage daily with the ebb and flow of information. I have news feeds from a variety of sources so I can scan the headlines almost the moment they appear. This way I can “know what is going on in the world”. Sound familiar? Maybe you don’t have multiple news feeds vying for your attention, but I bet you are watching the daily headlines somewhere so you too can “know what is going on”.
Whether or not one thinks the media are truthful or not, the fact is that the information you are gathering is partially contributing to your views. What has me concerned is the constant bombardment of hate, anger, outrage, accusations, and sometimes violent confrontation that can inform those views. Is “the world” really like this?
The answer to that question is no!
“The world” is not like anything. That is because it is always individuals acting in certain ways, the aggregate of which creates what we call “the world”. One can take any grouping of individuals, extrapolate it on a large scale, and claim it is indicative of the way the world is. But it is still those individuals being thought of as a group that you are talking about. It is not “the world”. One can look at a grouping of entirely different people, let’s say fine, honest citizens, and make the same claim. Is that “the world”?
When I talk to my family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, etc., I have a completely different sense of how things are than what presented in the daily news. I bet you have the same experience. When dealing with most people one on one, it is not with the hate-filled outrage that the media present every day. My interactions are generally simple, polite, and done with the assumption of goodwill and quiet affection. This is where the innocence of simple moments enters the picture.
Talking and joking with a neighbor about a recipe gone wrong; or having bought too many onions at the grocery store; or the weirdness of the temperature last night; all these are friendly, simple moments in which both I and my neighbor are enjoying a moment free of virtually all the horrors that the media tell us are lurking nearby. It is that innocent simplicity that is getting buried. And I for one will not let it vanish from my life.
So as you consume the headlines and shudder at the latest travesty of justice, try to keep these things in mind:
- That headline is designed to capture your attention and is not the whole story
- There are many, many, many good things in the world and fine people living their lives
- Your neighbor has extra onions, perfect for your dinner tonight