Why the Media is Making Us Useless

Overwhelmed. 

Describes perfectly how most people feel when watching the news.

It is like falling into a pool of negativity with our mouths open.

However, there are many positives to the media.

Such as being able to be an advocate for the oppressed, seeking change, pursuing truth, changing policies.

These are awesome.

However, I have noticed something.

The media is making us useless.

We as humans are not inclined to tackle giant tasks. We are biologically and socially adapted to taking things step by step.

We read a book page by page.

We follow schedules by the hour.

We draw line by line.

We write word after word.

When we have a goal, even if we don’t realize it, we break it down into steps to achieve it.

Such as going to school and getting a degree. We take classes. We study for individual tests.

Our big picture is made up of many microscopic pictures.

So why is the media making us useless?

Because all we see everyday is the big picture. The big scary picture.

We see giant issues that take time and creativity to find solutions for; however, they just keep coming.

Instead of realizing the pace at which we as humans tackle such issues, we are inclined to seek immediate solutions. When this does not happen, we get frustrated and remain idle. We complain. We criticize. We post our feelings. And yet we do nothing. Things do not get changed exactly because we are so overwhelmed.

In order to escape this trap we need to take time and reflect on the information overload. We need to take practical steps into making a difference and cleaning up a leaf or two floating in this negativity pool chilling in our backyard.

And that is the best thing we as civilians can do.

Do not let the media overwhelm you to the point of paralysis.

Take in what is necessary to make small changes.

Take in the negativity with a straw. Small sips. Enough to keep you aware and willing to make a move.

Friends, I encourage you today to not let the BIG PICTURE freak you out. Think practically. Initiate small change. And in due time your frustration will shift into a focus for the greater good.

 

The Online Boldness Dilemma

When we are reading, we pay attention to the bold words. I’m sure you just did it.

Why do we do this?

As children, we were taught to spot differences.

Differences demonstrate distinction.

When reading textbooks, the bold words became the most important words. They were the words to know for the upcoming exam. The bold words were set apart from the normal text. They were sturdy. They were the culmination of the definition. All of the normal print words, essentially fit into this singular entity.

As I watch people post online and throughout social media, I see a common theme. I see people expressing their opinions on hundreds of topics. I see people putting themselves out there and pressing forth for issues. I see people striving to be BOLD.

However, in these Facebook posts, Instagram messages, and tweets I do not see boldness.

I see rash judgment. 

I see conformity. 

I see hatred. 

“But Nick is that not a little harsh?”

“Nick, many of these are nobles causes.”

“Nick, not everyone acts in that way!”

I am not attacking the entire internet.

I am not attacking the people posting.

Nor, am I attacking the messages.

However, I am expressing the way in which our society deals with the desire to be bold. 

Bold (defined as) showing an ability to take risks; confident and courageous.

1.I see rash judgment

To be bold means to take a leap. To take a stand on a matter. To be bold means to hold solid ground. The first problem I see is rash judgment. I see people posting things, sharing things, retweeting things that took them no more than 21 seconds to read. I genuinely believe these people assume they are being bold. I genuinely believe that these people posting such things want to better the world. However, I do think as a society we have a problem. We have confused boldness with volume. Both the physical volume of information as well as the volume in which it is heard. We have equated people’s CAPITAL LETTERS to unwavering morality. As a society, we are losing the ability to reflect and contemplate. We have lost the meaning of taking time to think about the issues we present. We have lost the ability to absorb without the dopamine rush to regurgitate. In order to fix this problem we have to take a moment and let the wisdom brew. We must talk to both sides of the argument. We must talk FACE to FACE with people expressing different opinions: not just behind computer screens. Then we can proceed with the knowledge and understanding to be bold.

2. I see conformity

Though rash judgment is a major problem, it stems from the desire to conform and be accepted. I for one, have definitely fallen victim to this issue. As social beings, it is our desire to be liked and appreciated. As much as we want to be different, we find comfort in similarity. However, to conform is to not be bold. In conforming there is no risk undertaken. Hence, though it may appear on the surface (through use of strong language) that one is being a risk taker; it is quite the contrary.  Many times online posts are a piercing cry for acceptance. This idea can also be viewed in another light. It also relates to those individuals that are drawn to the “anti” side. The arguments that do not contribute to the majority. In this cry, there is rarely an understanding of the presenting issue. Rather, there is a burning desire to be heard and seen. This is a hope to make noise so loud that others MUST take notice. This too is not boldness, but rather a product of not being loved or appreciated enough by a community. Before we present an issue through social media, we must be sure our words are not just mimicry.

3.I see hatred

I see people shouting out to the world about the importance of x issue just to spark fires. These are not little camp fires to warm the cold toes of friends and family, these are fires to burn and destroy. All over the internet, I watch as people stir the pot. They stir it not to make great soup, but to feel like they are contributing to the meal. These individuals did not make the soup. They do not understand the substance of the soup. Rather, they are like the little kid that wants to stir the cake mix in order to act as though they are contributing. This to them may feel like boldness, but in reality it is pride. In order to be bold, we must ask ourselves if what we post is contributing to the advancement of truth. Is the material we are posting going to possibly lead to the expansion of knowledge and wisdom of mankind. Stirring the pot is useless, but adding to the substance of the soup is where the real boldness of flavor rests.

Friends, I want to encourage you to be the bold word. In order to do this we must acquire a deep knowledge of the material we present and reflect on it. We must ask ourselves whether or not we are arguing for the truth or just acceptance. We need to assess whether or not our words give the soup flavor or are so filled with bitterness that the entire meal is destroyed.

Let us be courageous and take risk in expressing our beliefs. Belief is the bold word, live in such a way that you become the definition.

I.Just.Don’t.Know.

Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? Are these people good for me? Are these people bad for me? What is a friend? Am I a good friend? Do I tell my friends I love them enough? Why am I so mean to those I love? What is love? If God is love, why don’t I love Him enough? Do I love anyone enough? Where am I going? Why am I here? Is my calling really my calling? Am I deceiving myself? Do people like me? Is my hair messed up? Did I say the right thing to her? Did I speak from my heart or my brain? Who am I? Did I just say that? Did I just think that? Why don’t I care enough? Why am I so tired? Am I lonely? Am I afraid? Why am I afraid if He is right here? Is He right here? Yes, He is, but why are you questioning? Why is this class so hard? Why am I so stressed? Did I make him upset? Did I pray today? Did I pray at all the last week? If God is my #1 priority why do I give Him the least time? Am I a hypocrite? Am I a Pharisee? If, I’m not hot….I must be lukewarm? Did I leave the iron on? Why is my room such a mess? Why am I such a mess? When do I intervene when I see wrong? Why is he doing that he knows better? Who am I to judge? Why didn’t I cry…I should have cried? Am I hurting? Is it okay to be hurting? Do I show my family enough love? Do I just follow the motions? Am I selfish? Am I jealous of others? Does the good I do outweigh the bad? Am I bad? What good do I do? Do I act when I should? Do I care about the poor? What is heaven like? Will I get there one day? When I see my life before my eyes will I cry? Of sadness? Of happiness? Of anger? Why is it so hot in this room? How many hours of sleep are necessary? Will I ever get married? What will she be like? Will I have kids? Boys? Girls? Maybe, I will be sterile? Maybe, my wife will be sterile? Will I adopt? Do I care to much about being in a romantic relationship? Does that count as lust? Does that count as pride? Am I humble? Do I have a relationship with God? Do I read the Bible enough? Am I a hypocrite? Why can’t I cry? What do I even need to look for in a potential spouse? Are my prayers heard? Why is this seat so uncomfortable? What will I get on my Anatomy test Tuesday? Why does my heart race when I am taking a test? Why am I so nervous? Why do my hands shake when I ask her out? Gosh, why are my palms so sweaty? Why am I scared of people? Why am I so afraid of connecting? Am I afraid of people?  If I am an extrovert why do I want to sleep all day? Do I love myself enough? Is it humble to say that? Why can’t I help him? How can I help her get through this moment? Did I call today? Why didn’t you call today? Why did you ignore that call? Why did you go out of your way to avoid them? Do they know that I love them? Does the stranger know that I love him/her? Why did I act like that in high school? Why didn’t I have courage to stand up against the crowd? How can I love strangers? How can I love enemies? Do I have enemies? How can I love God? What is my purpose? What is my will for myself? No, what is God’s will for me? Where am I going? Why am I here? Who am I?

“Although I guess if I knew tomorrow
I guess I wouldn’t need faith
I guess if I never fell, I guess I wouldn’t need grace
I guess if I knew His plans, I guess He wouldn’t be God
So maybe I don’t know, maybe I don’t know
Maybe I don’t know, maybe I don’t know
But maybe that’s okay”-Jon Bellion