About 18 months ago I went to see Ruby wax in her ‘Sane New World’ tour, what a night! With her own periods of depression and now a Masters degree from Oxford in Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy, Ruby talks about our ability to absorb the world news.
As a species, humans are designed to know what is going on local to us. In centuries past we would possibly have known what was happening in the next village, we would have known what the neighbours were doing and these things were important to us.
If the neighbouring village has a famine, drought or disease, it’s important that we know as it could impact upon us.
If the neighbouring village is attacked, it’s important that we know as it could impact upon us.
Our brains are designed to make sense of this local knowledge in order to survive by staying alert when we need to. What our brains aren’t designed to do is make sense of the global knowledge that is now rammed down our throats almost 24 hours a day.
Famine, drought, disease and war around the globe is not natural for us to know about. It’s only the modern advent of technology which allows us to hear about these things.
The result of this barrage of ‘non-local’ news is that we end up in a permanent state of alertness. Our primitive brains are permanently alert, ready to act, ready to protect, ready to fight.
This permanent state of alertness becomes normal, we cease to notice it!
This permanent state of alertness is not natural and it means our brains never get chance to switch off.
There is always something new to be alert about, always another crisis to be ready to act upon… Except we can’t, because that crisis is halfway round the world!
I saw Ruby Wax on TV again this week promoting her second book, this time I’m going to take action.
For the next month I’m not going to watch the world news. I’m going to give my brain a rest from this permanent state of alertness and see what the results could be.
I really do think that for the next month at least, No News Is Good News!