Bad Media Habits

If you really want to start cleansing your brain of the bad media habits that are subtly making your life more miserable, the best thing to do is to recognize and behave as though online publishing - not just Natural News or the Blaze, but even the respectable stuff like 538 and Vox or the New York Times, are all scams. All of it. It isn’t that the things they peddle are or aren’t true, either. There’s a grain of truth to a lot of the better ones, and some of them actually put decent work in on the journalistic side.

But it’s designed to grab hold of parts of your brain that you reflexively obey: emotive, primarily negative parts, the parts that fear, that get angry, that resent, condemn, and exclude. It's a scam because it's con-artistry. Hijacking. All of that has been said before, but it’s important to recognize that participating in it is a true abuse-cycle, a kind of self-harm. We make ourselves feel worse, but at least it makes us feel, which the brain counts as a win. “I clicked on something I knew would make me mad, and it did, so that’s a reliable experience that I can have anytime I want.” It’s offering us a way to take control of our own emotions, even if the only button we press is “this sucks.” Then, after years of pressing the “this sucks” button, lo and behold, it feels like everything sucks.

Stop doing that. You don’t need a constant diet of news unless it’s your job. Subscribe to some newsletters - better, more reliable ones than this, maybe written by authors you love and trust, and let that just be enough. The paralysis of feeling like the world is being hopelessly dragged to the glue factory is the exact thing that is causing the world to be hopelessly dragged to the glue factory. The 24-hour-news-cycle is the never-ending trainwreck of our times, and we must all look away.

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