When was the last time you listened to a newscast and said to yourself, “wow — that was so uplifting. Just made my day!”
Right. In whose universe?
Since the preponderance of what goes out over mainstream airwaves and digital media could be considered “bad news”, we might presume – incorrectly – that it accurately represents what’s happening in ‘the world’.
This can have a devastating effect on collective wellness of psyche and spirit.
Think about it. We’re constantly drinking in all of that worry and fear like a toxic cocktail. And, that’s no happy hour.
Not only are we ingesting whatever distortions exist within the narrative, but also the dynamics of the delivery itself. Our story tellers, the newscasters, are literally transmitting their own psychological malaise as they broadcast details of the latest, fresh outrage.
Anxiety is a contagious energy.
“Evidence suggests that repeated media exposure is likely to produce anxiety through the effect of vicarious traumatization”. ¹
We imagine that our world is not safe – that nothing is reliable. That motives can’t be trusted.
Fear has the instincts of a pack animal. When one member of the herd starts to stampede, the others impulsively follow suit. Kicking up a collective dust-storm of panic and flight.
We imagine a causative trigger. Surely, something substantial has precipitated such alarm?
In our own efforts to escape a terrifying outcome we, too, hop aboard a high-speed bandwagon to find safety.
Discovering later that much of our impetus to flee had been based on considerable “sound and fury, signifying nothing”. (Macbeth)
But, it may be too late to hit the brakes and jump off before damage is done.
Do you remember that old fairy tale about “The Emperor’s New Clothes” – a classic allegory depicting self-deception, conformity and obedience to authority?
While the Emperor’s subjects and handlers were busy fawning over his exquisite new garments, it took the innocence of a child to pierce through the illusion. That the monarch – rather than parading the streets in designer finery – was, in fact, totally naked.
Youthful naivety, unburdened by a need to conform, had called out the deceptive web being woven in plain sight.
Does this remind you of anything?
It takes pluck to stand up and speak out-loud a countervailing view.
And most of us simply do not have that courage.
But we take heart, course-correcting our own lives as best we can.
Grateful that on some days the newsroom in our head is quieter.
In an unreliable world, we are all unreliable narrators, but some are more reliable than others.Dr. David Sinclair
Think for yourself, or others will think for you without thinking of you.Henry David Thoreau
Re-examine all that you have been told – dismiss that which insults your soul.Walt Whitman
- International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health – July 2020