DO NOT READ THE NEWS?

520c2a94c1ba0.image (1)Billy Graham said, read the Bible and watch the Bible unfold in the news. The news is full of global events setting the stage towards fulfilment of Rapture and Armageddon. Updates everyday reveals the contents of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation precisely as Jesus foretold. It is also written in the Bible that the truth you know sets you free. So those free in God in Christ see the signs and wonders of the supernatural events testifying of God’s Glory in majestic created universe and firmament. Weather forecasts and storms, flood warnings, fire risks, other warnings to the world are relayed constantly throughout the day to alert people. Various channels also provide documentaries to educate the public and provide entertainment. Publicity generated by news creates awareness for injustices all over the work to make people bring change.hqdefaultAlthough the news is at times repetitive news of exact words repeated every 15-30 minutes overwhelming but ensures people are alerted, updated, reminded of more breaking news. Some however find the news irrelevant so are advising people not to watch news at all to prevent fear mongering. They argue “In the past few decades, the fortunate have recognised the hazards of living with an overabundance of food (obesity, diabetes) so started to change diets. But most do not understand news is to the mind what sugar is to the body. News is easy to digest so media feeds small bites of trivial matter, tidbits that don’t really concern lives or don’t require thinking. So experience no saturation unlike the reading of books and the long magazine articles (which require thinking). The limitless quantities of news flashes are bright-coloured candies for mind. Today reached same point in relation to global information faced 20 years ago similar in regard to food. People are beginning to recognise how toxic news can be:DEVELOPING_NEWS27News misleads. For example following an event of a car driving over a bridge, and if bridge collapses, the news media focuses on the car, person in car, where from, journey etc not the structural root causes of instability of the bridge. That’s underlying risk lurking or lurk in other bridges. The car is flashy, dramatic and a person in the news cheap to produce.’ News leads ‘misleads’ with completely wrong risk map in heads. Some news are over-rated. Chronic stress is under-rated. The collapse of Lehman Brothers is overrated. Fiscal irresponsibility is under-rated. Astronauts are over-rated. Nurses are under-rated it continued.

Article also said, some are ‘not rational enough if exposed to press. Watching an airplane crash on television changes an attitude toward that risk, regardless of its real probability. Bankers, economists with powerful incentives to compensate news-borne hazards could not prevent the credit crunch. So said, ‘cut yourself off from news consumption entirely. To advise people to boycott news totally is not possible because lives are saved by the dedicated services of newsmakers. Everyone has their own perspectives in life so entitled to their opinions, views or dimension of relevant suitable news If anyone feels strongly influenced to an extent of depression then it is better not spend whole day watching the news. In life moderation is required and so quick check of the weather forecast help the people to dress suitably, if they need an umbrella from rain, wind or the storm causing hazards warning drivers to be careful on roads. The media educates the public to warn of spread of diseases and where to avoid. So the news is not just exclusively consistently bad news. One has options to change the channel or switch it off if too busy at times. With unpredictable weather, storms tsunami, or fires, news becomes available source of information during crises to alert and save lifes. The Christian Channel News is available teaching and explaining the endtime signs and wonders to preapare people to store food, water and blankets or essentials before disaster happens.DBHOEg5VYAEQIGR

News is irrelevant. In approximately 10,000 news stories read in the last 12 months, name one that allowed you to make a better decision about a serious matter affecting your life, your career or your business. To them consumption of news is irrelevant but people find it very difficult to recognise so. It’s much easier to recognise what’s new, relevant versus new is the fundamental battle of the current age. So Media organisations want people to believe ‘news offers the sort of competitive advantage many fall for.’ Get anxious if cut off from flow of news consumption as a competitive disadvantage. The less news consumed, the bigger advantage one has they said.59397

News has no explanatory power. News items bubbles popping on surface of a deeper world is accumulating facts but not helpful to understand world in their opinion. “Relationship is inverted so important stories are non-stories and slow, and powerful movements develop below journalist radar has transforming effect. The more ‘news factoids’ digested the less of bigger picture is understood.” If more information leads to the higher economic success, journalists will be at top of the pyramid. That’s not the case.” Journalists not relay news from various places in all weathers risking life to tell world stories affecting lives. Journalists do not vlog their personal lives in news as the YouTube videos do.58a712ece126b28e55c15b57457edc17

News is toxic to body. It constantly triggers limbic system. Panicky stories spur release of cascades, glucocorticoid (cortisol). This deregulates the immune system and inhibits release of growth hormones. So body in a state of chronic stress. High glucocorticoid levels causes indigestion, lack of growth of cells, hair, bone, nervousness and susceptibility to infections. A potential side-effect causes fear aggression, tunnel-vision and also desensitisation and lethargy.Presidency

News increases cognitive errors. News feeds cognitive error towards the confirmation bias. Warren Buffett: said “What the human being is best at doing is interpreting all new information so their prior conclusions remain intact.” News exacerbates this flaw to become prone to overconfidence, to take stupid risks and misjudge opportunities. It also exacerbates a cognitive error story bias. Brains crave stories “make sense,” even if they don’t correspond to reality. Any journalists who writes, “market moved because of X” or a is company bankrupt because of Y” is cheap “explanation” to the world they also stated in the article.57009_1280x720News inhibits thinking. Since thinking requires concentration, concentration requires uninterrupted time. The News is specifically engineered to interrupt so like “viruses distract attention for own purposes. The News makes some people shallow thinkers but worse than that, it severely affects memory. There are two types of memory. Long-range memory’s capacity is nearly infinite, but working memory is limited to a certain amount of slippery data. The short-term to long-term memory for brain to understand passes through it. If brain passageway is disrupted nothing gets through. Because news disrupts concentration, it weakens comprehension. Online news has worse impact. In a 2001 study two scholars in Canada showed that the comprehension declines as the number of hyperlinks in a document increases. Whenever a link appears the brain makes the choice not to click so distracting. News interrupts the system of focus and concentration.153637_1280x720

News works like a drug. Ongoing story develops so people want to know how they continued. Hundreds of arbitrary storylines in a head craves increasingly compelling information hard to ignore. Scientists thought dense connections in brain formed in the 100 billion neurons inside skulls were largely fixed by time one reached adulthood. But nerve cells routinely break old connection forming new ones. As more news is consumed the neural circuits devoted to skimming and multitasking ignores reading skills for deep thinking and profound focus. Most news consumers even if avid book readers lost ability to absorb lengthy articles or books. After four, five pages get tired, concentration vanishes, and restless. Not because older or schedules or more onerous but physical structure of their brains changed from the news.”55076_1280x720

News wastes time. Read newspaper for 15 minutes each morning, check news for 15 minutes during lunch and then 15 minutes before going to bed, add five minutes here and there when at work, then count distraction and refocusing time loses half day a week. Information is no longer scarce commodity attention is. If responsible with money and health or reputation health why not the mind?

News makes some passive. The News stories overwhelmingly about things one cannot influence by daily repetition not acted upon makes some passive. It grinds down until adopts the worldview pessimistic, desensitized, sarcastic and fatalistic. The scientific term is “learned helplessness.”So not surprised if a news consumption, partially contributes to the widespread disease of depression.Weather_Alert_Bumper_Blue_1280

News kills creativity. Finally, the news limits creativity. Great mathematicians, novelists, composers and entrepreneurs often produce their most creative works at a young age. Their brains enjoy wide, uninhabited space that emboldens them to come up to pursue novel ideas. There is no single truly creative mind who is a news junkie not a writer, not composer, mathematician, physician or a scientist, musician, designer, architect or painter. But viciously uncreative mind consume news like drugs si come up with just old solutions by reading the news. However those looking for new solutions they said do not listen to the news.breaking-news-new-photo-4.gif

Its necessary society has journalism in a different way especially investigative journalism is relevant. Reporting news on policies, institutions, uncovers truth. But the important findings do not have to arrive in form of news. Long journal articles or in-depth books are good too.

The writer of the article said, has gone without news for 4 years so sees, feels and reports effects of freedom from the first-hand: less disruption, less anxiety, deeper thinking, more time and insight. Concludes its not easy, but it’s worth it.

This is an edited extract from an essay first published at dobelli.com. The Art of Thinking Clearly: Better Thinking, Better Decisions by Rolf Dobelli is published by Sceptre, £9.99. Buy it for £7.99 at guardianbookshop.co.uk

In the past few decades, the fortunate among us have recognised the hazards of living with an overabundance of food (obesity, diabetes) and have started to change our diets. But most of us do not yet understand that news is to the mind what sugar is to the body. News is easy to digest. The media feeds us small bites of trivial matter, tidbits that don’t really concern our lives and don’t require thinking. That’s why we experience almost no saturation. Unlike reading books and long magazine articles (which require thinking), we can swallow limitless quantities of news flashes, which are bright-coloured candies for the mind. Today, we have reached the same point in relation to information that we faced 20 years ago in regard to food. We are beginning to recognise how toxic news can be.

News misleads. Take the following event (borrowed from Nassim Taleb). A car drives over a bridge, and the bridge collapses. What does the news media focus on? The car. The person in the car. Where he came from. Where he planned to go. How he experienced the crash (if he survived). But that is all irrelevant. What’s relevant? The structural stability of the bridge. That’s the underlying risk that has been lurking, and could lurk in other bridges. But the car is flashy, it’s dramatic, it’s a person (non-abstract), and it’s news that’s cheap to produce. News leads us to walk around with the completely wrong risk map in our heads. So terrorism is over-rated. Chronic stress is under-rated. The collapse of Lehman Brothers is overrated. Fiscal irresponsibility is under-rated. Astronauts are over-rated. Nurses are under-rated.

We are not rational enough to be exposed to the press. Watching an airplane crash on television is going to change your attitude toward that risk, regardless of its real probability. If you think you can compensate with the strength of your own inner contemplation, you are wrong. Bankers and economists – who have powerful incentives to compensate for news-borne hazards – have shown that they cannot. The only solution: cut yourself off from news consumption entirely.

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News is irrelevant. Out of the approximately 10,000 news stories you have read in the last 12 months, name one that – because you consumed it – allowed you to make a better decision about a serious matter affecting your life, your career or your business. The point is: the consumption of news is irrelevant to you. But people find it very difficult to recognise what’s relevant. It’s much easier to recognise what’s new. The relevant versus the new is the fundamental battle of the current age. Media organisations want you to believe that news offers you some sort of a competitive advantage. Many fall for that. We get anxious when we’re cut off from the flow of news. In reality, news consumption is a competitive disadvantage. The less news you consume, the bigger the advantage you have.

News has no explanatory power. News items are bubbles popping on the surface of a deeper world. Will accumulating facts help you understand the world? Sadly, no. The relationship is inverted. The important stories are non-stories: slow, powerful movements that develop below journalists’ radar but have a transforming effect. The more “news factoids” you digest, the less of the big picture you will understand. If more information leads to higher economic success, we’d expect journalists to be at the top of the pyramid. That’s not the case.

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News is toxic to your body. It constantly triggers the limbic system. Panicky stories spur the release of cascades of glucocorticoid (cortisol). This deregulates your immune system and inhibits the release of growth hormones. In other words, your body finds itself in a state of chronic stress. High glucocorticoid levels cause impaired digestion, lack of growth (cell, hair, bone), nervousness and susceptibility to infections. The other potential side-effects include fear, aggression, tunnel-vision and desensitisation.

News increases cognitive errors. News feeds the mother of all cognitive errors: confirmation bias. In the words of Warren Buffett: “What the human being is best at doing is interpreting all new information so that their prior conclusions remain intact.” News exacerbates this flaw. We become prone to overconfidence, take stupid risks and misjudge opportunities. It also exacerbates another cognitive error: the story bias. Our brains crave stories that “make sense” – even if they don’t correspond to reality. Any journalist who writes, “The market moved because of X” or “the company went bankrupt because of Y” is an idiot. I am fed up with this cheap way of “explaining” the world.

News inhibits thinking. Thinking requires concentration. Concentration requires uninterrupted time. News pieces are specifically engineered to interrupt you. They are like viruses that steal attention for their own purposes. News makes us shallow thinkers. But it’s worse than that. News severely affects memory. There are two types of memory. Long-range memory’s capacity is nearly infinite, but working memory is limited to a certain amount of slippery data. The path from short-term to long-term memory is a choke-point in the brain, but anything you want to understand must pass through it. If this passageway is disrupted, nothing gets through. Because news disrupts concentration, it weakens comprehension. Online news has an even worse impact. In a 2001 study two scholars in Canada showed that comprehension declines as the number of hyperlinks in a document increases. Why? Because whenever a link appears, your brain has to at least make the choice not to click, which in itself is distracting. News is an intentional interruption system.

News works like a drug. As stories develop, we want to know how they continue. With hundreds of arbitrary storylines in our heads, this craving is increasingly compelling and hard to ignore. Scientists used to think that the dense connections formed among the 100 billion neurons inside our skulls were largely fixed by the time we reached adulthood. Today we know that this is not the case. Nerve cells routinely break old connections and form new ones. The more news we consume, the more we exercise the neural circuits devoted to skimming and multitasking while ignoring those used for reading deeply and thinking with profound focus. Most news consumers – even if they used to be avid book readers – have lost the ability to absorb lengthy articles or books. After four, five pages they get tired, their concentration vanishes, they become restless. It’s not because they got older or their schedules became more onerous. It’s because the physical structure of their brains has changed.

News wastes time. If you read the newspaper for 15 minutes each morning, then check the news for 15 minutes during lunch and 15 minutes before you go to bed, then add five minutes here and there when you’re at work, then count distraction and refocusing time, you will lose at least half a day every week. Information is no longer a scarce commodity. But attention is. You are not that irresponsible with your money, reputation or health. Why give away your mind?

News makes us passive. News stories are overwhelmingly about things you cannot influence. The daily repetition of news about things we can’t act upon makes us passive. It grinds us down until we adopt a worldview that is pessimistic, desensitised, sarcastic and fatalistic. The scientific term is “learned helplessness”. It’s a bit of a stretch, but I would not be surprised if news consumption, at least partially contributes to the widespread disease of depression.

News kills creativity. Finally, things we already know limit our creativity. This is one reason that mathematicians, novelists, composers and entrepreneurs often produce their most creative works at a young age. Their brains enjoy a wide, uninhabited space that emboldens them to come up with and pursue novel ideas. I don’t know a single truly creative mind who is a news junkie – not a writer, not a composer, mathematician, physician, scientist, musician, designer, architect or painter. On the other hand, I know a bunch of viciously uncreative minds who consume news like drugs. If you want to come up with old solutions, read news. If you are looking for new solutions, don’t.

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Society needs journalism – but in a different way. Investigative journalism is always relevant. We need reporting that polices our institutions and uncovers truth. But important findings don’t have to arrive in the form of news. Long journal articles and in-depth books are good, too.

I have now gone without news for four years, so I can see, feel and report the effects of this freedom first-hand: less disruption, less anxiety, deeper thinking, more time, more insights. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

This is an edited extract from an essay first published at dobelli.com. The Art of Thinking Clearly: Better Thinking, Better Decisions by Rolf Dobelli is published by Sceptre, £9.99. Buy it for £7.99 at guardianbookshop.co.uk

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