The Real “Fake News”

To lay claim to any respectability or competence, we know that we must keep up with the news. That is why we have rigged the earth with satellites and created a legion of networks to inform us of every event to have unfolded in the last few moments. We even keep tiny devices to track every possible story in close to real time.

Modern man has a ringside seat to the second by second flow of history. As a result, we see a lot more. And at the same time, we see a lot less. The constant presence of news hampers our ability to pick up on an equally important, though far less prestigious source: news from within.

We are not, by nature, well equipped to see inside ourselves. Consciousness bobs like a small boat on a sea of disavowed emotions. A host of ideas and feelings require a high degree of courage to confront. They threaten to make us uncomfortable, excited, or sad were we to learn about them. So we use the news of the world to silence the news from within. We have the most prestigious excuse ever invented to never roam inside our own minds.

It is not that the outside news is unimportant. It might very well be important in certain people’s lives a continent away or in the upper reaches of some government. But this news is almost certainly disconnected from our real priority: to make the most of our life and God-given talents in the time remaining. The latest Trump scandal or Kardashian drama doesn’t actually affect our lives. What they buy, tweet, or post on social media will not determine, nor help to determine, how you should live your life.

It is touching that we should give so much of our time and curiosity over to strangers in a time proclaimed to be the most self-absorbed. But it is poignant that this constant dispersal of energy costs such a high price. We dismiss fragile and tentative thoughts about what we should do next and what we must do, for the more obvious drama of the moment. But the drama won’t liberate us. It cares not a bit about our development nor our real responsibilities.

It feels counter-intuitive to think there may be something more important than the news, but there is: our own lives, which we have become so adept at avoiding.