Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I'm getting old?

Every day I wake up and get [some of] the news from the radio and reading online. This makes me grumpy about the world. (See the "whinge" tag.) Everything is broken and wrong -- our "news" deliverers are unabashedly biased. Governmental organizations hide information from the populace and oppress us with unreasonable Big Brother-hood from the TSA, the Toronto police, the legislature, the executive. The world these days! -- it's not like it was back when I was young! -- whine whine whine grump grump grump.

Pretty much anything that would be mentioned in a voice-over at the beginning of a disutopia movie is true. Propaganda everywhere is designed to keep us confused and docile. (Even to the point that I am not entirely convinced this is a bad thing.)

Even inspirational statements like "Even if what you're doing feels small, you still have to have faith in the grandeur of it all." fail to inspire me. I am frustrated. I feel like there is very little I can do to improve the world, and very little I can do to make it worse, too -- I have no impact on anything. Nevertheless, I feel it's important to act with dignity and try to do good work. What else can I do? Being the change I want to see in the world (à la Gandhi) is not enough.

The only thing that makes me feel better about the status of the world is to completely ignore it. I am lucky in that "ignore the outside world" is nearly part of my job description as a grad student. I will feel better as soon as I leave the house and get away from this global-news mindset.

Ivory tower, whoo!

This post's theme word is sesquipedalian, "pollysyllabic."
This post written like Cory Doctorow.


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Robert said...

You're writing about things that I am also thinking about currently. (Although since I was born under a communist dictatorship and live in a city that still bears some scars from the last World War I think that the current state of the world is not that bad after all.)

Studies have shown that regularly reading the news diminishes your happiness as well as your productivity. Some people try to make you feel bad about boycotting the news by telling you about citizen responsibility and that you need to keep the big picture in mind, but in my opinion this is just part of the propaganda. Humans as a herd, want you to stay with the herd, not only because they are afraid that you'll not be well outside, but also because they'd feel uncomfortable to hear that life outside does actually work (or even work better).

Given the unpredictability of society at large's progress I still feel that it is more important how you behave in your little world of your work, your friends and loved ones than in what you contribute to the big picture. The latter might as well have the opposite effect that you intended, but the former will always be real, important, and good.

Finally, you remind me of my idea of an alternative news agency which specializes in “good news”. It would report on incidents of people helping others, people achieving good things, and a lot more stories that are good examples and will motivate our readers to lead a good, free, and independent (of propaganda) life.
With Web 2.0 technology this shouldn't be too hard to pull of. Wanna be part of it?

Personal note: I silently missed the first anniversary of last seeing you, but I've continued reading your blog all the time. Blogs of people I know are much more important to me than the world news. In fact, I am grateful to live in a world, where blogs exist. Maybe they won't help us to make the world at large a better place, but they certainly help to feel less alone with personal concerns, thoughts, and ideas.

Thanks for your post, Lila. Read my blog if you have time. ;-)