There’s so much negative shit out there in internet land that, if you want to find it, you will. The news delivers stories as negative and gloomy as the status quo will take. The two forces of motivation behind all human behavior are the need to avoid pain and the desire to gain pleasure. People will do more to avoid pain than they’ll do to gain pleasure. Media experts know this.
I’m not sure if our brains were designed to take in that much negative info all at once. Maybe we were designed to be able to handle negative shit that happened in our own homes, communities, etc., but here in the information age, we know in twenty seconds when a bomb goes off half way around the world. We see it and we localize it. Fear sets in and we live our lives in an anxious, nervous, frightened trance. It’s so easy to get consumed by it.
In Aikido practice, my teacher always says to focus on principles. Principles are what’s important. With that in mind, it’s great to have a personal philosophy and moral base of principles that serves as a compass, if you will, helping with wading in the waters of information. Without it, you’ll be lost, swayed by public opinion. Until you have this, research and study may be necessary. However, if you have a solid moral, philosophical base, you can work with whatever information comes your way. You can believe it, exclude it, criticize it, or do something to try and fix it. Once this moral compass is in place, you don’t need to go looking for negative information. Trust me, plenty of it will come your way without searching for it. This doesn’t mean to close your eyes and hide from it either. It kinda boils down to just a few questions:
- Is this information fo’ real? A lot of it isn’t. A lot of it is. Check the sources. If it’s not, drop it and move on with your life. If it is real, the next question is:
- Is it worth doing something about? If you’re not going to do anything about it, drop it and move on with your life. Sitting there bitching to people about it without any plan of action will not change anything (plus, no matter how interested they act, people get sick of hearing you rant after a while). If you do determine it’s something you want to do something about, the next question is:
- What can you do? If you can do something about it… Do it. Without getting arrested. That simple. Write the email, make the phone call, start the movement, support who you want to support, discredit who you want to discredit, whatever. Do it. Get it done. Then, move on with your life.
I think the key to this post is, control the information, don’t let it control you. Live your life. Question things. Be skeptical. But don’t get consumed by negativity. Take care of yourself, your family, and your close friends and community. Make your art. See beauty. Be curious. There will always be people out there who will try to screw other people over en masse. Always. Be aware of them, make others aware of them, don’t be a victim, but don’t let them control your state of mind.