Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Crisis here. Crisis there. Crisis everywhere. (2)

Part 1 of this blog didn’t mention the attention economy (eg, Atlantic-2016), the epidemic of alarmism (eg, Guardian-2019), or polycrisis (eg, NRC-2022). I didn’t even know those words. My blog title only expressed my feelings on this topic. With hindsight, I wondered about the damage to our mind.

A December 2019 Forbes magazine article, Why Climate Alarmism Hurts Us All, states this: “In September, British psychologists warned of the impact on children of apocalyptic discussions of climate change. “There is no doubt in my mind that they are being emotionally impacted,” one expert said.”

There are several examples related to the Covid-19 pandemic:

The title of the 2022 article shows that such articles are part of a Click-Bait-Fight cycle (eg, to increase revenue), until the next news cycle comes along (eg, Russian invasion of Ukraine, inflation).

A 2010 article in the LA Times argues that Digital alarmists are wrong: “Whenever you hear that something is changing your brain, you ought to be worried — or at least the person telling you wants you to be worried.” Hence, I prefer the word mind(set) over a reference to our brain, whis is an organ.

Ultimately, this is about our perspective.

Both a macro and micro focus (eg, on news cycle issues) will hurt our mind but only for some time and for different reasons.

A micro focus is often about individual empathy with individuals while a macro focus is often about the stupidity of the debate.

Ignoring news cycles might be the best solution.

While writing this, I just noticed this joke by Dutch cartoonist Hein de Kort on stopping your news consumption.

Cartoon: “All will be well”, she says. He answers: “What’s wrong then?”

For me, it’s impossible to avoid news consumption as it’s a main source of inspiration for my writing. I tolerate my daily consumption of about 150 news articles. I do skim rather than read whenever the contents is too dark for my mood. It’s a consequence of my 2013 burnout and subsequent depression.

A serious problem with news consumption is that most people read articles that confirm their existing beliefs. The Click-Bait-Fight nature of such articles will (only) raise your tensions.

“Social media has two defects from the standpoint of disinformation. The first is that people tend to only read and follow things with which they already agree. The number of people who consume information with which they disagree is fairly small.”

George Friedman (b.1949), in his 2016 article False News,

Articles that contradict your beliefs will force you to think – or to ignore it. Sometimes, its stupidity will still raise your tensions. In my view, being (very) selective in my news consumption beats ignorance.

Tweaking the notification settings on your smartphone is helpful to control the attention economy. Limiting the number of smartphone apps to those that are actually necessary, is even better.

The Alarmist (2020) by Pinegrove
band, lyrics, video, Wiki-band, Wiki-album

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.


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