Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Media Sage Knows...

We all know how important perspective is. This importance, of course, has given birth to the all-too-often misused cliche, "perception is reality."

A few days ago, a friend on Facebook posted something to the effect of "we live in a sick world." I didn't pursue it, but I can only imagine this was a result of something she had read online or had seen on the news. When I saw this post, it occurred to me that, metaphorically, I think we all instinctively see the computer screen as a window to the world. But it is not a window. It is a magnifying glass.

Whatever my young friend (a former student) had seen, it was a story about something horrible -- about something someone did that was awful. Maybe a "news" story about a mother killing her child or something of the kind.

It seems obvious to say that one sick story doesn't make the world a sick place. But, when we see these stories, human nature seems to be magnified, for better or worse.

I'm not being critical of this young woman or those who react similarly to these glimpses into the media magnifier. I do the same thing.

Everything in the media is magnified. The "big issues" are really grains on the beach. For every maniac who sets off a bomb at a public event, there are thousands who save lives or dedicate their own to helping others.

In the end, if there is anything sick about the word, it might be that media thrives on the stories of sickness.

Sandy Hook was not a sign of the end times. Sandy Hook was the story of a lunatic who committed a horrific act. But it doesn't mean "the world is sick."

But, I'll tell you one thing. If anything is going to spread a disease, it is the media. If there is anything we need to eliminate to add health to the world, it's the 24-hour news cycle.

In ancient times, the Sage knew that peace meant transcending the world; in modern times, the Sage knows peace means transcending the media. Leave it behind. And God help me to do the same.

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