THESE are times of uncertainty and fear. Nevertheless, are these times unique? No. In a sense, there is no such thing as a life without uncertainty and turmoil, as there is no such thing as job security, a stable paycheck, or constant food on the table–a truth even for the wealthy.
What is new to our modern society, I think, is the speed through which information and interpretation of that information travels. We have the speed-of-light transfer of world-to-you communication. There isn’t enough time to reflect on fact and fiction. What is true is not necessarily going to affect you until someone out there, an analyst, whatever, says it will. Really, if you had no television and only a sliver of access to the internet, the only rumors and bits of information you will get is through word of mouth or in a written letter.
Even then, would you be impulsive and believe it? But today, that grinding daily spew from the TV set feeds information but also the dissemination of that information, breaking it down into tidbits, into sentences only a few words long, containing a solid subject, a good old’ verb, and nasty adjectives like precipitous or catastrophic.
If I turn off the TV and stay away from the news websites, do I as a modern human being of relatively mature age lose a sense of whom I am? Can I stand alone without knowing the wrongs (and rights) that swirl around me without my actual interaction with those worldly events? Probably, yes.
But, there’s a price. There’s a price for every lifestyle. No lifestyle is without a loss. There are lifestyles that are entirely with loss, and without a gain. In this case, I believe that turning off the news for long periods may lead to a saner and slower paced lifestyle (maybe?). Still pondering.
I don’t think I can entirely shut off the news; don’t think I want to either. I rather enjoy listening and learning on how people think about events, such as the bad economy. As of right now, it does not affect me. I’m still marketable and have experiences that are useful to places. I do have sympathy for those who are much harder pressed and are responsible for more than themselves (read: kids) and need that job to keep stomachs satisfied.
As a caveat, I would say that we are a starving nation. We don’t know where we’re going. We are not familiar with uncertainty and we seek excessively to avoid uncertainty, relying too heavily on someone else to tell us it will be okay. Where have our minds gone, collectively?
I think people are impulsive in their quest to find security and avoid uncertainty. In a time of great discouragement, I think people have the opportunity to learn what they truly hold dear. If that time of discouragement is used unwisely, however, which I see many people falling prey toward (despair, anxiety, worry), then people will collapse and become these automatons listening to the most charismatic voice available, promising hopes that will never come. This is the danger: of trading your will for a false sense of security.
Know what is true and what is false. Discern between true hope and false hope. Great traps lay before us. Keep the lamps burning.