It’s funny how so many people pay such close attention to the foods they eat and the substances they put in their bodies, but give little thought to the information they feed their consciousness. Folks who would never eat fast food don’t think twice about consuming “fast news”.
You Are What You Eat
We’ve all heard the saying “you are what you eat”, but food isn’t all we consume. Every day a barrage of “news” is thrown at us by the media and we soak it in. It’s become such a part of the background noise of life we hardly even recognize it’s there.
We all have daily habits. How many of yours involve flicking on the TV news, keeping the radio on while you drive, opening up the daily newspaper or booting up your computer to an Internet homepage loaded with news? These habits perpetuate our availability as a sponge to soak up whatever the media shoots at us. It’s just there, we don’t even think about it.
Yet because we consume it, we become what we eat. Whatever flows into our consciousness becomes a part of who we are. Who are we subconsciously becoming?
This Is News?
I truly believe we need to be informed on what’s going on in the world. The more we understand world events and their underlying causes, including all sides of an issue, the better citizens we will be — the better we will be in directing the planet to a positive future in our personal sphere of influence. But are we truly being informed on what’s important for us to know?
Like most of us, I was curious about the whole Tiger Woods affair when the news broke, but I really don’t need to hear anymore about it. Nor do I need to hear the latest gossip on Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, or Tom Cruise. Do I really need to know every little minute detail about the lives of celebrities? No, of course not.
Then there are these non-news stories that get extensive coverage for some strange reason. Just think of the coverage given to the balloon boy or the octomom… the fact that you know what I’m talking about is a bit scary.
A cynic might think the media is not trying to inform us with the news, but rather entertain us. One could make a good case for how the media wishes to keep us in the dark on issues that matter. Others simply point out that the media gives us what we want. They are in the business to make a profit by advertising, and the more people who watch their news, the more they can charge for commercials. Ratings drive content.
If that’s true, then why do we consistently choose entertainment as news? There’s probably a lot of reasons for this, from our educational system’s inability to get us engaged in real news to our simply being tired after a day’s work and not wanting to think too hard. You can probably come up with some more reasons.
Choose Your News
So what can you do? As in all matters, the first step is awareness… be aware of the news you consume each day. Ask yourself “is this news that I need to know?”
After awareness comes choice. You can still choose to listen to celebrity gossip, but recognize it for what it is. And, keep in mind what it’s not… it’s not news that’s evolving you to a higher understanding of the world.
Ask yourself “do I want to be informed on world events that are important?” I recognize not everybody wants this awareness. Sometimes it hurts to think about this stuff. Many times we simply want to be entertained.
But if you do want to be an informed citizen, then here are some recommendations for you to consider:
- Be aware of how much real news your normal sources are giving you. If they give you more entertainment than news, then change your source.
- Periodically change your news sources anyway. Unfortunately many of our news sources are overtly biased and give us slanted perspectives on world affairs. Sometimes it appears that many people choose their source of news simply so it comes with their preferred bias. And, remember many sources that appear to be unbiased probably have some degree of bias. Don’t assume that your regular news source is totally untainted from any individual editorial choices on what stories to include or how to present them.
- Get your news from multiple media sources… TV, Internet, news magazines etc. Some sources such as TV generally cannot delve deeply into a story and only hit the highlights. Newspapers and magazines can give more intensive coverage.
- Get out of your comfort zone and get news from sources that challenge you. You don’t have to agree, but seek to understand the other perspective. Listen without arguing. Take an issue that interests you and Google it. Read how it’s coverage varies from site to site.
- Try to find news sources that present both sides of issues. There are a number of weekly news magazines who truly do try to present all sides. Yet keep in mind that many magazines have a political slant, so look for ones that present information that you both agree with and disagree with.
- Seek to gather news about places and subjects beyond what you normally consume. Take in the world news on countries you have never heard of.
- Take in news coverage originating from other countries. Almost all U.S. news sources, even with different political slants, still cover things differently than foreign news sources. See how other countries see us. See how they see themselves.
- Finally, evaluate what you read and hear with a critical eye. Recognize where your own bias comes into play as you consume news. Recognize where the bias of the presenter comes in. Seek to truly understand all sides of an issue. Formulate your opinions only after you’ve opened yourself to seeing all perspectives.
Getting out of our comfort zone around the news we consume is not necessarily easy. It takes conscious awareness and conscious choice. It takes mental energy. It’s an investment of our time and mental coin. But for the positive evolution of our planet, it’s important that we are all truly well-informed so we can make conscious choices that are in the best interest of all humanity.
Check out all of Mark Gilbert’s books—available at Amazon. Click here to visit his Author Page. This includes his recent one Our Spiritual Rights and Responsibilities. In this book, he offers what he suggests are the 5 basic rights we all possess by virtue of our being these spiritual beings on planet Earth — and our 2 responsibilities we all hold in relation to one another! Check it out!