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dot calm

Written by  rav rafael


It seems like whenever I turn to one of the cable TV news channels I see “Breaking News” scrolling across the bottom with some detail I used to think I shouldn’t care about.  But now I sit and stare as the details slowly scroll across the screen.  It’s amazing what constitutes breaking news nowadays.  We see the same thing on Internet news sites. That special red box appears at the top of the page telling us what is breaking on the news scene.  But, over the last few years, I have found myself more and more desensitized when I see “BREAKING NEWS” plastered across the screen.

Every media source at our disposal is trying to get our exclusive attention.  They battle to get the story first and get it to us in the most exciting way possible.  And when we have multiple simultaneous events, there may even be several news tickers showing up in parallel to read.  Many of us find ourselves taken in by all the drama.  We fall into the habit of checking multiple times a day, or hour, or every five minutes to know what is breaking.  What should we be concerned with now, what’s messing up the world now, who is being victimized now?

What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. There is a thing of which [someone] will say, "See this, it is new." It has already been for ages which were before us.  [But] there is no remembrance of former [generations], neither will the later ones that will be have any remembrance among those that will be afterwards.  —Ecclesiastes 1:9-11

And how often do these news stories take our attention away from the things so near to us? After a while our sensitivity to those outside events gets so dulled, people can only get our attention by telling us the sky is falling.  We get sucked in again to the whirlpool of world events that are sensational, outrageous, and unsettling.

Though I am grateful for the wealth of information available to us in an instant, I’ve learned that most of the time the news is not so new, as King Solomon taught us.   Our former king dealt with the same kind of human issues we do.  We must remember that the human condition is improved not by addiction to the sound bite, but by careful study of the many sides of an issue. This is the calmer, wiser approach to interacting with the information of our world.  

In the dot-com world of instant info, we need to use the wisdom of dot-calm to maturely process the world’s happenings.  Don’t react the instant you learn of some crazy new news. Wait for more detail and understand the other side of the story before forming an opinion. Don't solidify your position based on the first bits of information from the news media, without understanding that those first few bits are often a distorted, sensationalized version of reality.  Temper your reaction, balance what you hear, and insert calmness "here".

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