Old news

brink of war 2

There were times that I read a lot of background stories on the news, long newspaper articles, opinion magazines etc. I really was interested in those stories and opinions but for many years now my only source of the news is an app on my phone that shows me the highlights. The phone has made this easy, before that you had a computer and before that teletext on tv if you wanted just the highlights. But for me the ease of the mobile phone it is not the only reason I am only looking for the highlights, I am tired of the news and all the opinions around it.

I like to organize and put the things around me in boxes. If I study a 19th century philosopher I watch also documentaries about that time and read about the Prussians and trains. If I build a computer I watch all the YouTube Tech channels about the newest tech and read test about the products I buy. I like it when the things in my life have some correlation with each other so that the (limited) time I have is well spent.

Reading a newspaper, long stories on news sites or blogs are a waste of time to me if they are not related to something I am studying at that time. The stories about all the wars that are going on, terrorist, elections, catastrophes what do they teach you? Is it not just head filler with no specific box to put in to?

How objective can you be if you are absorbing all the current news. You stuff yourself full of all the terrible thing that are going on. What do you do with this information, is this helping you to form an opinion. Do you need to have an opinion over why that faction of that militant group is bombing that town in that land? If you have nothing to do with that specific news item, why would you than read a long article about it on some website explaining it to you or even worse giving you their opinion.

As I wrote before, I like to be organized but I also like to learn. Specifically, I like to learn why there are splinters of terrorist groups bombing people in other countries. But I’m not interested in the specific reason why, on this specific date some induvial does it. I want to know what, as a human being and as a society we can let it go so far. And these kinds of bombings are not new, they happened throughout history, and the difference in time and place are important but time has also given us the opportunity to reflect on what happened back than and that will present us with a much clearer picture looking back from the future.

You can buy hundreds of books about what is happening now in Syria, they all have reasons on why, if a book is 2,4  or 7 years old it’s already out of date and consensus is hard to find. In a hundred year you can probably buy 5 books with different views but also a bigger overlap in their conclusions. It is easier for a layperson in 2117 to form a valid opinion about Syria in the beginning of the 21st century than for a university professor specialized in the middle east today.

If you want to learn about (the why of) today, study yesterday.

PS, the journalist that write those stories are doing important work, maybe not for us now, but for future historians.

 

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