What has happened that is pleasurable?
What is it that makes disasters so fascinating?
Disasters and terrible news fill the front pages of newspapers and dominate the first sentences of news broadcasts on radio and television. The happy things, the village that has achieved self-sufficiency for energy, and the successful school project, come under the radar.
Research shows that attention is attracted to adverse events, so the likelihood of gaining the audience’s attention is significantly higher for disaster news. In addition, negative events stick in our memory longer than positive events.
So the reporting practice follows a biologically based preference of our perceptual system. I fear that this is a self-reinforcing cycle. In its wake, desirable and imitable events have a poor chance of being disseminated.
A current example is the peace process that is finally underway in Colombia after decades of horror. My friend Christian Popp pointed it out in a comment on my last post. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen anything about it in the media lately.
The struggle of the conflicting parties to find lasting peace among themselves would have deserved our full attention, as there are lessons to be learned for the pacification of other conflict regions.
The same applies to the energy-self-sufficient communities in Germany and the successful school projects I mentioned above, which will be widely known, publicly discussed, and, if possible, imitated.
Of course, it is essential to keep the memory of the horror in mind to prevent its repetition. However, it is just as crucial that the many positive initiatives in our society become publicly known.
I would like to see that the terrible and the joyful ideas and events that should be avoided or condemned and those ideas and events that give rise to joy and are recommended for imitation are reported in our public in a balanced and equal way.
I believe that we are free to consciously occupy ourselves with the positive things around us and to promote them to the best of our ability.
You, too, can find the beautiful and positive in your life alongside the frightening and burdensome if you pay attention to it with interest and appreciation.
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