Is news bad for us?
Source: Elephant Journal
That’s what some people think. They claim that news for the mind is like sugar for the body. We need a little to survive, but a steady diet of tidbits makes us overweight and unable to appreciate substantial fare. Short news-bites mislead, waste time, make us passive, and kill creativity, according to these folks. Online news, especially, caters to our appetite for flashy, sensational stories.
This argument resurfaces every time new technology appears. TV kills imagination; cars are the death of community; typewriters change composition; telephones supplant letters. Plato famously criticized writing itself, noting that written arguments cannot be defended in person. It’s not just the economic argument that productivity destroys jobs. These arguments assert that our brains are reprogrammed by intellectual technology.
Thomas Jefferson once resolved to give up newspapers in exchange for classical literature, but there’s no indication that he actually did. He remained a news-hound to the end; it didn’t make him stupid. It’s incumbent on each of us to cultivate our minds. After all, we live in a knowledge-based economy.
Douglas R. Tengdin, CFA
Chief Investment Officer
Leave a comment if you have any questions—I read them all!