I’m giving up the news again. No more newspapers, tv news, nothing. I stand by my previous reasons for doing so, but add the following Thomas Merton quote to the mix:
“Nine tenths of the news, as printed in the papers, is pseudo-news, manufactured events. Some days ten-tenths. The ritual morning trance, in which one scans columns of newsprint, creates a peculiar form of generalized pseudo-attention to a pseudo-reality. This experience is taken seriously. It is one’s daily immersion in “reality”. One’s orientation to the rest of the world. One’s way of reassuring himself that he has not fallen behind. That he is still there. That he still counts!
My own experience has been that renunciation of this self-hypnosis, of this participation in the unquiet universal trance, is no sacrifice of reality at all. To “fall behind” in this sense is to get out of the big cloud of dust that everybody is kicking up, to breathe and to see a little more clearly.” (Thomas Merton: Faith and Violence)
Last time I tried this, just under a year ago, stuff I was doing ended up in the paper the next day, so…we’ll see what happens.