Men and The News
Where is the life we have lost in
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in
information? T. S. Eliot
I would like you to ask yourself some questions.
When was the last time you sat through a whole
edition of the news and came away feeling really
good or more empowered to take positive action?
When was the last time that you picked up the
newspaper and thought how pleasing those front page
stories were? When was the last time you went off
to work in the morning having digested the morning
news and thought how lucky you were to be living in
this wonderful, caring and safe world?
I used to watch the news every day. I used to
take newspapers and read daily what a terrible
place the world is, what dreadful people there are
all around us. It is only in the last couple of
years, since I have substantially reduced my intake
of news, that I have realised what a negative and
numbing effect this part of the media had been
having on me.
What is it about us men in particular that makes
the news so important? What is it that makes us
feel that the news has some vital bearing on our
everyday lives? What is it that makes us feel that
we are being irresponsible if we do not watch or
read the news? Are we afraid that we will somehow
lose touch with the real world?
The questions I would like us to consider are
these. What is the real world? And how much of the
news that we watch, listen to or read has any
relevance to what is happening in our real
I believe that continual updating from the news
makes men feel informed and important. The need to
feel informed is one thing - the need to feel
important is quite a different issue.
At work our importance is there for all to see.
But at home, we are just dad, husband, lover. It is
possible that this constant connection to important
world events gives us a feeling of power again.
Discussing wars, stock exchange crashes, deaths,
seems to lend weight to our discussions and may
help to make us feel more important. But is this
because we feel that without these important events
to discuss, we would have nothing of significance
to say to our partners or family? Is it that we do
not consider discussing such things as our feelings
or thoughts, interesting enough for anyone else to
hear? Is it that we feel empty without the stimulus
fed to us through papers and broadcasts, so empty
that we feel we have nothing of value to
The news can also be used as a barrier. A
barrier that prevents proper sharing from taking
place. Ask some men about their fathers and you
will often hear tales of men stuck behind
broadsheets, or of faces glued to news bulletins on
the television.The news is commonly used as a way
of avoiding meaningful contact with the people we
most care about under the pretext that domestic
problems are unimportant in the bigger world
Better use of the news?
Imagine how you might feel if, for the rest of
the week, you reduced your input of news and
introduced more positive action such as reading a
good book, taking a few walks or sitting down with
the whole family to a meal. It may seem like a
scary thought to start with. But its also
possible that you will find yourself enjoying life
You may find yourself going off to work in a
quite different frame of mind each morning. You may
find yourself talking to your partner and children
more and enjoying it, instead of cramming in
conversations between coming home, dinner or
watching television. You may find yourself taking
part in a far more rewarding sharing with those
people that are closest to you. You may find
yourself working through problems instead of
avoiding them. You may find yourself feeling
generally happier and less stressed.
And yet by doing this, by absorbing less
information, you will not suddenly have become an
uncaring man. You will not suddenly have become an
idiot with no understanding of world problems. You
will not suddenly have become a social outcast.
Neither will you find that your performance at work
is adversely affected.
You may find that changing your relationship to
the news in this way may help you to make better
use of the news that you do take in, finding ways
in which you may really want and be able to help.
You might even find it in you to effect one small
change in your own life that leads to much greater
happiness for someone close to you. Paradoxically,
this one alteration in daily life could help you to
become an even more responsible human being.
By seeking to understand fully where our
responsibilities begin and end we can fulfil our
own purposes that much better. As we spend a little
less time worrying about what is going on 5,000
miles away with people weve never known and
are never likely to meet, we may become more aware
of what is going on very close to us. Consequently
we gain greater awareness of the various problems
and joys that our life is bringing us. Turning our
back on our own personal problems, replacing them
with far more important issues such as
world news, will never make them go away. It just
postpones the time until they will inevitably have
to be faced.
It is worth remembering that our own problems
and those of our family are the most important
problems that exist in our real world.
This is where we have to focus our attention if we
are to serve mankind in the best way that we can.
We cannot expect to see peace and happiness in the
world if we cannot provide it fully for ourselves
under our own roof. Our own life is our battlefield
and it is up to us to find peace here if we want
there to be any reflection of peace around us
News is important. It has a vital role to play
in society. It is the spread of information. If we
can use this information effectively, by turning
our reactions to bad news into positive action
where desirable and detaching where not, then we
will all benefit. But, like success, money or the
future, we must not let news control us. We need to
remind ourselves that fulfilling our potential is
not so heavily dependent upon studying the world
news as it is dependent upon our own clarity of
Two questions to end on.
1) Do you have enough stimulus in your daily
life to replace some of your news input (if not,
what does that tell you about your life)?
2) Do you think you could achieve greater
clarity in your life if you did reduce, even by a
small amount, your intake of news. If you are in
any doubt as to the answer to this question, then
surely its worth trying a change anyway!
1) Consider limiting the amount of negative
information you absorb everyday. Try cutting down
for a few days on newspapers and news
2) In the time you now have free, introduce
something into your life that makes you feel good -
perhaps a walk, sport or gardening.
3) Listen more closely to the news
that those closest to you bring every day - the
stories of their lives. Be prepared to share your
news too. Look to your immediate
environment as the real world that most
needs your attention right now.
©2008, Barry Durdant-Hollamby
Durdant-Hollamby is the founder of The
a UK based organisation specialising in helping
individuals and corporations to effect sustainable,
holistic, positive change. He works intuitively on
a 1-1 or group basis and also conducts many talks
and seminars - all without notes or preparation!
Barry is also the author of three books the latest
of which is The
Male Agenda - a book
which seeks to inspire men to create greater life
balance and happiness. He is the father of two
daughters and lives in the South East of England.
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