The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Forgetting the stories

The world has become such a small place that any type of information from all across the world is perceived as potentially interesting for everyone.

However, fascination lies in the big numbers and most dreadful suffering. It leads to making it easy to focus on what is perceived to have the best possibility to capture people’s attention. And that is what most of the news is about today.

Instead of sharing the variety of ongoing events like the floods in Australia, the 2 million people who don’t have enough food in Ethiopia, the 300.000 who had to leave their homes in the neighboring Afar region, or the few million people displaced and lacking food in Madagascar, the focus has been put on the invasion of Ukraine.

It has a strange effect. What is being talked about is the event provoking the most anxiety. And the way it is being shared is in large parts through some type of measurement of the suffering. We hear about the unprecedented number of people who fled the country as well as that many more will follow. And we hear descriptions of the situation using words describing emotions in the strongest possible terms.

There is a lack of stories helping to grasp what is happening with instead a focus on grabbing attention.

In this, suffering becomes surreal. It appears in waves and disappears when a different wave or event appears. We find ourselves confronted with continuity of maximized anxiety. And those suffering yesterday find themselves quickly forgotten when other events have become more interesting.

In anxiety-driven times, one of the first things that happen is that it becomes hard to think clearly.

When news comes in tweets or headlines, they can only seek attention and will rarely generate interest.

Emotions are being fed. Thinking lacks food.

What would be needed is a form of information that promotes an understanding of events within the larger political and economical context. But also information that reminds readers of their responsibility to participate in the thinking. It’s the necessary condition to become able to relate to the emotional aspect of the situation. Without the ability to relate to it, the only solution available to many is to be overwhelmed by the projected emotions or to simply deny them.

Getting attention is only the first step. Without second step attention failed its purpose.

News is there to help readers situate themselves in the uncertain world we live in. They serve the purpose to help people make their own choices and enabling them to contribute to their community.


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