bbc world service words

In a world where up to date news is part of the fabric of our lives, the question is whether is actually a good thing for us? In times gone by – I mean a few hundred years – new might have take weeks to get around. The newspaper cut this time down considerably, but even in the late 1940s there were still Japanese hiding out on deserted islands convinced a world war was still waging years after it had ceased to be in 1945.

But getting back to the point, is news good for us, there’s an interesting experiment I once tried. I went away on holiday to foreign climes and found a nook where I could avoid reading newspapers or watching TV. For three whole weeks I bathed in relative solitude and simply enjoyed the basics of living.

At the end of the three weeks I had noticed that I had not missed the news and was sure that if the world was about to be hit by a meteor, someone would have told me.

The real issue with news is that it is largely negative and bad. The amount of good news is a pitifully small amount in comparison, and things are often compounded by stark visuals that can create concern, worry and downright fear itself.

Decades ago the scientific community assured us the an Ice Age was imminent. That the earth was rapidly cooling down. That butter was bad for us. And that the moon had a layer of moon dust 12 feet deep. Today, all of this is still presented to us in the news, though curiously with totally the opposite message. One does wonder what the news will be in 20 years from now and whether current thinking is also, once again, set aside for new news stories. I remember for example, thinking of spending ¬£1,800 in 1999 on a seminar in London with senior technical minds about the ‘Millennium Bug’.¬†Fortunately my gut instinct saved me the price of a holiday in the sun.

Going on a news diet will probably calm your mind, lower your blood pressure making you more imaginative and creative while adding years to your life span. Could this be worth attaining in return for missing out on the news for a short while several times a year?

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