Posts Tagged: World Watching

The Weather Outside

I was sitting in the gym after a Yoga class the other day watching the rain. I remember thinking that the weather outside was awful, then I stopped to think and remembered that it’s only my perspective that makes it that way. So I gave a little thought to the weather.

It’s easy to look outside at the weather and to get quite depressed if it’s raining, but if you look into what’s actually going on there’s quite a bit there. Consider that whilst you’re sitting there, you are on a planet that is orbiting the Sun at 65000 miles per hour. Then consider that the Earth rotates at a little over 1000 miles per hour, so you’re only sitting still relative to the surface of the Earth. Really, you’re moving very quickly indeed.

Now, consider that rain. It’s part of an ancient and immensely powerful system. I only discovered recently that in a single day, one hurricane can put out the energy to supply the electrical needs of the United States for approximately six months. The rain falling outside is part of the water cycle, and has in all likelihood travelled a long way (possibly thousands of miles) to be there; the weather is an immense system and our rainstorm is only a tiny part of it.

It gives a very different perspective to the rain; the weather isn’t awful, it’s amazing!

Negatively Social

I was looking through the news today, when I came across an article on the BBC. The article is about a young lady from Australia, who is an Instagram celebrity. Or possibly, was.

The lady in question is Essena O’Neill, you can find the BBC story here.

The short version is that she has quit social media, saying that it’s unhealthy. For what it’s worth, I agree with her. She correctly states that we seek approval through social media, and shines a light behind the scenes of the social media celebrity. As someone who’s done his share of social, I can say from my own experience that it can have a very negative effect. Remember, you’re comparing two sets of events; your own full experience and someone else’s highlight reel. In the case of someone who makes money this way, a very carefully managed and prepared set of highlights.

She says that she suffered from this, even as an insider, which does make you fear for impressionable non insiders! To quote her:

“I’ve also spent hours watching perfect girls online, wishing I was them. When I became  ‘one of them’, I still wasn’t happy, content or at peace with myself.”

This does really make a point, something that this blog has been saying for some time. Certainly, before my reboot of it. The whole thing, celebrity and much of what we think is important is an illusion. The people who we hold on pedestals have feet of clay, and when they turn out to be all to human we’re so surprised. Moreover, the things we’re told we should be chasing are very often not worth it in the end, just another hare for us hounds to chase on a road to where? We focus too much on the goals, but the real treasure is by the roadside.

All the glitz and photo processed glamour in the world can’t change any of that.

Essena has begun a website, dedicated to challenge the cult of social media, it can be found here.

No News is Good News

I’ve been up to something quite unusual for the last week and a bit. I’ve been deliberately ignoring as many news outlets as I can. This seems to be a minority stance, judging by the amount of news apps we have for our mobile devices and the pervasiveness of 24 hour news. I wandered into a local pub just today for lunch and was promptly confronted with BBC News 24 on the big screen, it seems that there’s no easy escape.

The news is mostly negative, let’s face it. The worst of it is that when an outlet tries to report only good news, their ratings plummet. It seems that we’re conditioned into thinking that only bad news is news. We’re also subjected to other cues that make the news seem to have greater importance than you might think. Of course, this means that we can be relied upon to locate only news that will worry us; thus making the negative view of the world even worse. To quote Henry David Thoreau:

“And I am sure that I never read any memorable news in a newspaper. If we read of one man robbed, or murdered, or killed by accident, or one house burned or one vessel wrecked, or one steamboat blown up, or one cow run over on the Western Railroad, or one mad dog killed, or one lot of Grasshoppers in the winter – we need never read of another. One is enough. If you are acquainted with the principle, what do you care for a myriad instances and applications?”

To be honest, from my own experience thus far the things you really need to know have away of getting through regardless. Why does it add to my day to know that someone in a far off land was killed or a plane crashed? If it affects me, I’ll learn of it; if not, there’s nothing I can do about it anyway. Certainly, things are feeling less tense. I’ll write more as the experiment progresses.