That’s the realization I’m reminded of every time I travel abroad.
When your schedule is full, there just isn’t time for bullshit. When you have meaningful work to complete, why worry about foreign politics? When you spend your days doing vacation stuff: exploring ruins, swimming in large bodies of azure water, partying with beautiful women; you just find little fulfillment in investigating worldly events and outrages online. That stuff is for when you’re bored; like waiting for a bus, or on a toilet.
After writing this article I’ll trek to a lagoon with a group of travellers to drink beer and float with curious little fishes. Not necessarily productive, but fun, and social. I won’t have access to the Internet for the entire day. And I will return feeling happy, healthy, and invigorated. (Edit. Also sunburnt and drunk.)
When you fill your days with social, explorative, or productive activities, you just won’t care what the Brexit fallout means to Europe, or what #BlackLivesMatter are up to in Houston. Not unless you’re a migrant, or live in Houston. Even then, if your life is not directly affected by the events, you shouldn’t care too much.
When you unplug, you see that life is the same as it has always been.
Birds are doing bird stuff. People are doing people stuff. The Patriarchy hasn’t taken away all of women’s rights. The Muslims haven’t blown up the mall.
For most of us, these outrages exist only in headlines, or in our imaginations.
When I spend too much time online, I always end up angry. I read about injustices against men, against women, against nature, and it pisses me off. But the remedy is obvious—do something else: Write, workout, clean, visit a friend. Being angry sucks. It’s fun at times, but not as fun as being happy.
So fuck the news. Fuck the Internet.
“But, what about current events?”
Do you really need to know what’s happening in Palestine? Look around at your environment. Where are you? Who are you with? What could you read on Huffpo that will directly affect you, or anyone you know, in the next week, or month?
Most of the news is a distraction, an entertainment. That’s all.
Even the weather channel is bullshit. They’re usually wrong.
When I was a journalist I could lie about events, and nobody would know. Nobody would question me. If I made a mistake in my research, it might get noticed by the editor or a savvy reader—but I was basically free to let my bias do its work. It was up to me to be to be integrous.
In the Internet era, most journalist lack integrity. They lack that core, once coveted masculine trait: Honor.
Wait. What? They interviewed me about my confidence coaching. There was no mention of a growing movement, or fears of predatory behaviour. Nobody in Vancouver gave a shit about a handful of men who wanted to meet more attractive women. The reporters just kept asking me who my weirdest students were, and if I taught negs. When I told them that the majority of men who contact me are already successful, motivated, high achieving types, they sounded disappointed.
There’s no money in a headline that reads, “People gain social confidence by pushing their comfort zones.” No, they need to sell the fear. Dread and anxiety is their currency. Truth takes a backseat to profit.
The media dictates how the pleb consumers should think and feel. They give the illusion of popular opinion; when in fact there is no mass opinion—until they create one.
They sell us rage-clicks and by doing so, actually manifest negativity, anger, fear, paranoia and hate.
We hypnotize ourselves with our machines.
Rather than using our tools to create, we use them like televisions, to tune out. In doing so, we let down our subconscious guard and lemming-like, follow the lies that influence our behaviours and choices.
Be skeptical. Avoid the mainstream media. Avoid all media if possible. Think local. Interact local. Create global. Instead of absorbing the media, become the media. Make art. Become a citizen journalist.
CNN could interview Bigfoot live on air, and I would be skeptical. I do not trust CBC, NBC, ABC, MSNBC, FOX or any of their little sister blogs. I’ve seen too many of my peers smeared by these liars (though some were asking for it). I’ve seen too many ideological untruths pushed by them onto the Muggles.
If you ever read that someone is a rapist, or misogynist, or racist, or homophobic…it is almost always a lie.
The people, the consumers, the Muggles, we are soooo bored. We have no purpose. We’re too safe. We have no reason for existing.
So the media gives us entertainment; a rapist here, a tornado there, a dictator or a rogue virus.
But the worst of the modern media culture is outrage marketing. Nothing pays the bills more than outrage. There is a reason women are obsessed with rape culture when they live in the safest, most equal society in the history of mankind. Because the media tells them it’s the worst time to be alive since the dark ages.
People are beating each other senseless over Hillary vs Bernie vs Clinton when in reality, nothing will change. The grocery store will still close at 10 pm on weekdays.
Unplug, travel, talk to people. Experience uncomfortable, or frightening situations. Put yourself in the present moment as often as possible. Engage with life. Utilize your creativity and talent. Stop the mindless absorption.
Take a media vacation—for one day. No Internet. No TV. Then try two days. Then try a week. And pay close attention to your mood.
If you want to absorb, listen to positive voices.
Go out and talk to interesting people.
Play your guitar. Sing for someone.
Write a book.
Start a business.
Find other ways to entertain yourself.
Look. I love the Internet. It’s great when you’re bored, or want to find information. I even like a little bit of outrage, once in awhile.
I’m just saying, pay attention to your emotional state after a long bout of absorption.
People are like intellectual sponges. We parrot what we see and read. We relate to whatever gives us the greatest emotion.
Notice the conversations you are having with others, and with yourself. What does your chatter sound like? Are you arguing with people over politics? Are you outraged over petty matters that nobody else seems to care about? Yes. You have been manipulated. You have been sold to. You have been influenced.
I preach because this is what I do. I get caught up in culture war. I get caught up in gender politics, foreign politics. It causes rifts with my friends, my family, my society.
But when I get off the Internet for a few days, it all goes away. It’s like emerging from a dark cloud, like that place in between awake and asleep.
Just be aware of what information you consume. Because what you put in your mind, becomes you. It becomes you. So who do you want to be? What do you want to accomplish in your short time on Earth?
That’s something we should all focus on.