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News/ staying informed as a sensitive person  RSS feed

 
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My mom told me that when she was young she got hooked on some soap operas.  Over time she got really depressed.  She felt that everything was going wrong in her life.  Finally one of her friends asked her exactly what was bad in her life.  When my mom tried to articulate what was bad, she realized that her life was actually pretty good, it was the characters in the soap operas whose lives were terrible.  From that point on she quit watching soap operas and her depression cleared up almost immediately.  The news has become our national (maybe international) soap opera!

I have a brother-in-law who is an economist.  He told me once that if you are an economist or a weatherman and you're right 50% of the time, you are hailed as a genius.  He's probably right way more often than the major news networks and their fear porn.  The number of times there is a breathless panic with attending 'flashing lights and blaring alarms' that later proves to be entirely or mostly bullshit is why people are no longer believing what the news reports.

When I was in martial arts, one of the things I was taught was 'defend the box'.  Anything outside of the box was going to miss me and was essentially out of my control.  If I shifted to pursue it, I lost my center and my balance.  Realize most of this stuff is not in your box and ignore it.  A large part of it is just flashing lights and noise, like the distractions in a pinball game.

One of the great things about print is I can look at the title and decide if I'm interested.  I refuse to be the prisoner of some speaker while I wait to figure out what he's going to say.  A human voice is much better at ramping up emotions than printed word.

Every morning I bring up the web page, look at the headlines of the articles and ignore 90% of the articles (I can generally figure out from headlines whether I am interested in going there), read the few articles I am interested in and leave.  If I get on an article that is sensational, I just jump out as soon as I realize it.  I don't watch news programs, I listen to news on the radio when I'm in the car only in small bites (there is always some music, or maybe even blissful, thought provoking silence as an alternative).  If the speaker is winding me up, I switch channels.  If I'm feeling fragile, I don't go the the web site that day.  

There is no need to be part of the 24/7 news cycle.  95% of it is just manufactured hysteria that will shortly be proven wrong anyway.  About 10 minutes a day gives me a pretty good handle on what's going on.  

 
pollinator
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The most healthy useful news I've found is a little local freebie weekly rag started about 10 years ago by a couple people that didn't like the results of a corporate buy-out of the (previously) local weekly magazine. Now the little rag has an actual staff (!) and the front page (of about 20) usually has the dirt from the last city council meeting. A few letters show up on page 3, an editorial, some local rah-rah for new restaurants and various schools and wonderful this and thats that the kids are up to. Somewhere near the back is a peculiarity labeled "The Traffic Guy" and to my mind it's one of the best parts of the week and attracts it's own batch of letters. The author gathers the latest news of road problems, parking issues, new traffic stupidities and lots of people seem to find that stuff "right up there" on their interest meter.

The big point: It's totally LOCAL and it publishes the "real world" business of the city but not anything state or national. It does depend on some very serious talent and extreme hard work in the early years, so I guess it won't be an automatic solution everywhere; also, the town, Evanston, IL, is well off and also has a Big 10 university providing nasty tax increases but also multitudes of smart involved people. The local population took to it w/in a year or two and it seems to have a solid place now.

So a small local paper (it goes out hardcopy to the whole city and yes it has a website) may be worth finding or starting.


Rufus
 
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Chris Kott wrote:Sorry, that "you" was omnidirectional.

I hadn't intended to set it up as a sensitive or case-hardened either/or sense. Let's look at it another way.

Let's say that, at some point, people are born with the ability to read people's thoughts, or even just to sense their emotions. I can see a number of specific advantages in a number of business, medical, and hospitality fields.

I can also see how it would be a severe disadvantage living in a city and not being able to turn it off, or to filter what you sense. Going out amonst people at all might get harder depending on how crowded and how emotionally charged the scenario.

The best course of action for those sensitives would be to develop mental barriers or techniques that would allow for selectivity.

Does that logic not hold in our case?

-CK



No problem, I wasn't offended :-) I was just wondering if I'd been rambling or expressing myself badly in other ways . I'm somewhat prone to rambling and getting carried away by all sorts of ideas and possibilities :-)

Xisca started a new thread about Organic intelligence. Can we continue this discussion about adaptation and mental barriers & techniques there? I think it's an extremely intesting subject!

 
master pollinator
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I am not sensitive at all (almost problematically otherwise), but I have actually found that I make better, more reasoned decisions by avoiding the news. If a vote is coming up or something, I will read about the candidates and issues, but I can usually find out everything pertinent in a matter of hours, a few times a year. My time and mental energy is not wasted on a bunch of unactionable stuff, and my emotions are not manipulated on a regular basis. I find my thinking to be clearer, more disinterested, and more broadly contextual. I get much better historical context and perspective from reading books, and I very rarely feel that I am missing anything meaningful by not following the day-to-day stuff. On the rare occasions that something genuinely relevant or actionable comes up, someone I actually know will tell me about it. I have never owned a TV as an adult, don’t do social media, don’t have internet at home, and use this smartphone mostly to read Kindle ebooks from the library as well as a blog or two (sometimes I will click through to articles from the comments section there). I very rarely find a person who I feel is more thoughtful about important issues than I am or whose positions seem better reasoned. If anything, more news consumption seems to correlate with increasingly rabid partisan touchiness. I worked in a national forest this past summer for five months without a phone, computer, TV, or anything—I had one solar light. It was amazing how totally nuts the campers sounded when they would start unsolicitedly griping to me about what Trump or the Democrats were up to (all blithely assuming that I and all actual human beings agreed with their side of things, despite the fact that obviously, in both cases, half of all people in the country didn’t!). Once you’re unplugged from that frantic universal conversation, the participants take on a decidedly lunatic air. So I guess I would say, maybe try limiting the duration and intent of exposure, rather than/in addition to the content? You can still be informed, and you might not avoid all the unpleasantness, but meaningful unpleasantness of limited duration seems much more manageable than a constant, aimless barrage of distressing information.
 
Rufus Laggren
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Here's an example of what can be found locally that I came across recently in a national (!) magazine. A long article about a "local person". The writer sketches a strong standup woman and around the middle, as an aside, she mentions several venues her subject "publishes" in. I that person would be considered as 95 percentile, IOW "big shoes", anywhere; but it _is_ a BIG country and there should be thousands (at least) like her, some to be found near you.

At the moment, that's one of the good things about his country - there are people out there contributing publicly and being welcomed, recognized and effective. And it's not _that_ hard to find them. But they don't appear much on national TV and it does take some thought and interest to notice and learn about them. Finding them listening to them and even responding to buoy them up can matter a lot.

Edit: Aha! Helps to provide some content! If there is a better way to enter this type of content, please let me know.
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1JNUw3HjdhvSzfp4FByHnkLkXJ8cUfJRQ


Change topic: Regarding TV. I am described as "weird", have been all my life. Personally, _that_ seems weird to me cuz far as I know, I'm just a normal guy with the usual issues and guy-type interests. Perhaps one reason, though, is that I have never owned a TV, ever. My life doesn't float in the solid stream of brain washing that pours through that screen. Back in the late '60's I happened on a book named "Kill Your TV" and it totally impressed me. Later I found to my distress that a TV in the bedroom seriously impeded what Travis gallantly calls "domestic relations". I _really_ hate being relegated to competition with some machine, so being a smart chop-chop guy I made that one of my relationship criteria, along with non-smoking - TV in bedroom = oh-well-WAS-nice-to-meet-you.

Perhaps this seems a little extreme, but images and, more so, video enter our mind untouched by any reasoning or other filters most of us know how to apply. And truly I can't express strongly enough how I despise streaming that propaganda into the most private space a person has. Published content is _never_ neutral. It's not healthy to ingest strangers' offerings into our  mind w/out at least a nominal attempt at attention and alertness and thought.


Regards,
Rufus
 
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Often we see things in the news and we are powerless to do anything about them. I don't even try. But I do the things that I can affect.

My aunt used to be a News Junkie. And everything troubles her. But then she started watching CBN, the Christian Broadcasting Network with Pat Robertson. He offered up all sorts of pablum in bite-sized pieces that my aunt could handle. And she didn't have to just be an idle observer. She could send money, to help change all of the bad things and to help move forward all the good things that Pat talked about. If she wasn't sure, all she had to do was look at Ben Kinslow, I like to call him Uncle Ben, after the rice guy. Ben always nodded in agreement to everything Pat said, just so that we knew it was all true. :-)
 
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Dale Hodgins wrote:Often we see things in the news and we are powerless to do anything about them. I don't even try. But I do the things that I can affect.

My aunt used to be a News Junkie. And everything troubles her. But then she started watching CBN, the Christian Broadcasting Network with Pat Robertson. He offered up all sorts of pablum in bite-sized pieces that my aunt could handle. And she didn't have to just be an idle observer. She could send money, to help change all of the bad things and to help move forward all the good things that Pat talked about. If she wasn't sure, all she had to do was look at Ben Kinslow, I like to call him Uncle Ben, after the rice guy. Ben always nodded in agreement to everything Pat said, just so that we knew it was all true. :-)



There is a lot to be said for pablum as a calming drug. Religion has often be referred to as pablum. Makes sense: You hear only what you want to hear which is soothing. Truth be told, perhaps we all wallow in our own pablum in these difficult times, by choosing the news we want to hear. Not quite effective at changing the world around you though.
 
Dale Hodgins
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It would be easy to get caught inside a permie bubble. There have been many times when I get busy, when I only go on this site and don't do many laps around the internet. This would lead one to believe that most people care about the sorts of things that I care about. A couple hours of following the links on YouTube, eliminates such delusions, especially if you read the comments, which I don't do anymore.
 
Nina Jay
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Dale Hodgins wrote:It would be easy to get caught inside a permie bubble. There have been many times when I get busy, when I only go on this site and don't do many laps around the internet. This would lead one to believe that most people care about the sorts of things that I care about. A couple hours of following the links on YouTube, eliminates such delusions, especially if you read the comments, which I don't do anymore.



Getting caught inside the permie bubble for a while energizes me so I figure it cannot be that bad

Sometimes I wonder about the nature of bubbles though.  I mean, perhaps people here are more similar than dissimilar to people everywhere.

The more I think about it, the more I'm inclined to think that the news and the social media (in their current dominant format) might actually be a bigger bubble than the bubbliest of permie bubble.

Okay, this is getting very philosophical now but I've heard some social scientists actually refer to our age as the post-truth-era. I'm not a 100-percent sure what it means but I think the general idea is that the newspapers aren't to be trusted anymore, people are becoming more and more convinced that it isn't even possible to know the truth about anything, commenters on social media are mostly trolls, he information industry and social media are all a big manipulation, and so on.

I'm not willing to give up on media & journalism altogether though.  I still believe there are some good sources of information out there, and that it's just a matter of finding a balanced combination. That's why I like it if some of my suitable-for-sensitives news sources are leftist, some are rightist, some are Christian, some are other-religion, some scientific, etc. This thread has helped a lot in finding those

 
pollinator
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For me, I need a science-based news source, and those that aren't strictly science-focused need to base their standing on the supremacy of scientific rationalism. Some will disagree with me on this, but one of the check-and-balance pairings that I usually look for are relevant science publications coupled with relevant economics publications. If Treehugger and Forbes are coming to the same conclusion for radically different reasons, not only is that interesting to me, it suggests that they might be on to something.

Too much intellect and time is wasted trying to rehash ancient fables, trying to find archaeological evidence that entire other fields of study have ruled fictional.

Too much time and energy is spent trying to mangle modern morality to fit any number of conceptions of moral life that probably wasn't so moral for all those involved centuries ago (women and anyone deemed less in society, mostly).

And too much time is spent pandering to atrophied intellects who, instead of engaging with their political/social/religious beliefs in an intellectual manner, to make them fit into modern society, rely instead on plastering themselves with the labels of others, chopping away great job lots of their own selves in order to cram what's left into the little box with the right label on it.

Identity politics destroys the individual and remakes it in its own image. That's why, for information on decisions politicians are making, I rely on economic and scientific commentary on those issues.

I wish to see, not even a balanced approach to news, because that suggests some sort of rough equivalency between the nonsense news and the real, but a demand that news outlets use vetted sources from a variety of angles to establish their points.

Lastly, I think the best thing we could possibly do is, to whatever extent is safe, remove the anonymity of people posting online. Anonymity is great, but I think that the moment your opinion is pushed out onto other people, you should own that commentary and all the consequences that go with it. How much hateful nonsense could be spread if any asshole's angry neighbours were constantly on their ass for being a bigoted, loudmouthed moron? We all saw how effective it was to publish the identity of white supremacists at that ill-fated march in Virginia.

It's no wonder that the black-hat anarchists show up to protests masking their identities; if we could unmask them, in real life and on the internet, they'd be forced to own their hate and misinformation.

I think the news cycle would clean up in a jiffy.

-CK
 
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Chris Kott wrote:

I rely on economic and scientific commentary on those issues.

I wish it were so simple. I'm currently reading, Schumacker's "Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered" and chapter 4 is clearly reminding people that "Economics" pushes using whatever resource is cheapest for the company to acquire, even if the human or environmental costs would make a different but still suitable resource safer and sustainable in the long term. In concrete terms - fossil fuels are cheapest to use, therefore solar power or short-cycle wood alternatives should not be used. The reality is that if all the environmental damage done by oil spills was factored in, fossil fuels would be much more expensive than the cost at the pump. Similarly, it is the "economics" of hiring labour at 1/4 the wages (maybe less?) in China that have gutted the manufacturing sector of Ontario. It is "economics" that have encouraged companies to bombard people with advertising, convincing them to buy more to support the "economy", when we live on a finite ball of dirt. I put more trust in Mathematics - it shows that we can't carry on under the current economic model!  

That said, many points in your last post are completely valid - at one time being caught in a lie was the kiss of death. Now it seems to be viewed as business as usual if not outright expected.
 
Chris Kott
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I contend that, just as unscientific "science" shouldn't be considered such, economic systems that don't encompass the whole system should be taken as they are: incomplete.

Thus, the blindspots and biases of current economics can be accounted for, and what remains can be used to inform ourselves.

-CK
 
Mick Fisch
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Truth is compatible with truth.  We don't need to fear new information because the more truth you find, the better it will fit together, in any field of knowledge.  Sometimes new truth shows that your previous understanding wasn't quite right, maybe it was a little too simplistic.  Sometimes what appears to be new truth, turns out to be not so true.  All of our 'judges of truth' (media, science, religious leaders) are humans.  As such they have biases and are not always honest.  People use the word 'science' to mean fact.  In truth it ain't necessarily so.  The scientific method is a method of learning by test and observation.

There is always a theory du jour that everyone is all hot on.  It usually ends up being adjusted.  The latest scientific theory is built on the wreckage of the previous theory.  Eventually it may get turned on it's head.  We need to look at the data and make our own conclusions.  That is often hard to do, because it's the conclusions that are trumpeted not the raw data and control system.  Sometimes the raw data is 'tweeked'.  Scientists are just educated people and people have biases and can be influenced by other people.  For decades 'science' said that margarine was healthier than butter until a few years back it came out that it was all based on biased studies that were designed to promote margarine sales.  We raised 9 kids, during which time the 'research based consensus of the proper way to put a small sleeping baby down' shifted several times from on their back, to side, to belly, etc.  (Come on people, it's not like we had baby 2.0 come out or anything, the basic model is unchanged).  Until a few years ago, there was a maximum age date that any archaeological sites involving people could be dated to in the western hemisphere without commiting professional suicide.  When a site was found that was firm enough to get rid of that limit several other sites were revealed within a year.  Some of them had been found years before, but the scientists wanted to stay employed so they buried their data until the professional climate changed.

I think it's silly for people to try to come up with a 'rational' or 'scientific' basis for morality.  Right and wrong are religious concepts, pure and simple, although not tied to any particular religion.  (I am not arguing whether these rules are man made or come from heaven, just that there is a difference between legal/illegal and right/wrong).  These rules do often make society work better, but we have many instances where they are ignored to the perpetrators benefit.  If they ignore them on a large scale the people may become heros i.e. Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar.  We also have examples where the religious rules benefit some members but hurt other members (i.e. slavery is ok, which until a couple hundred years ago was a pretty universal concept in most religions, and still is in some places).  I have a favorite scene near the end of the 'Guardians of the Galaxy" movie where a policeman is trying to explain to the 'racoon guy' that you can't just take stuff that isn't yours.  He then tries to explain to the big muscular 'knife guy' that you shouldn't kill people who annoy you.  They are both a little puzzled and are obviously unconvinced by his explanations.  Why?  Because they haven't been taught those 'religious' concepts and they conflict with their observed reality.  The racoon guy knows that stealing gets him stuff he likes.  You might believe that a lion is immoral for eating the gazelle, but the lion doesn't have to agree with you.  He has a mouthful of juicy meat that tells him that eating gazelles is right and proper behavior.  
 
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Mick Fisch - Well put. I recently had the "what changed with having a baby discussion", because my daughter just had a baby. It's amazing how many medical professionals seem to think that things have changed, and they have superficially, and sometimes medically, but, in all the important ways, having a baby is just like it has always been. I got a giggle out of the whole thing. My grandson doesn't like sleeping on his back, he spits up a lot, and then starts to choke. The doctors don't seem to think that matters, but they don't have to deal with him constantly waking up. I tell my daughter to take it all with a grain of salt.

One of my kids was a philosophy major, and so I got into philosophy, and he explained to me that so often philosophers are just responding to previous philosophers, so context is important. And it is the same in science, especially popular science.
 
Mick Fisch
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We finally settled on putting the baby on his side, with a rolled little blanket behind and in front (chest high and down for the front blanket).  If they barf, it doesn't drown them an the blankets don't cover their face.  Of course, pretty soon they get active enough so that they will move around anyway.
 
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