Some of us have probably heard the term “resilience” ad nauseam. It is defined as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness “; in other words, it’s the elasticity of the mind and soul. It is not even a natural capacity – because it can be learned. You dig into your inner resources and gain strength. Part of these resources is sober, logical analysis. And it can help us a great deal to feel better in every-day life.
Our world is living through strange times, these days. Sometimes I wonder whether our capability to receive news from the farthest corners of the world hasn’t thrown us off-kilter. To know more doesn’t necessarily create happiness. Neither does utter ignorance – I think we can agree about this, too. The trouble is that we often fall for news that aren’t what they pretend to be.
The other day on Facebook, I found a disturbing video by a renowned broadcasting company about another country in which a reporter was followed by an alleged secret police person and in which people predicted a catastrophe that was looming in that country and might affect the entire world. Scary? Not at all. I have been to countries where we know there is secret police or which you can only enter after having been vetted as somebody who is not a national enemy. Some nations have been like this for decades. Some are very wary about journalists. I have been in such a place, too, though I have no idea whether I was ever followed – I think I was not important enough doing what I was doing. As to predicting catastrophes, these were such vague statements without disclosure of any further detail that the entire prediction was without any value. Add some interesting cutting, lighting, voice-overs – and you get a feature that addresses your emotions. The movie “Jaws” does that, too, by the way.
So, how do we prevent ourselves to be emotionally manipulated by what is presented to us as serious news? First of all, we need to check where the news comes from. In the case above, unfortunately, it was a well renowned broadcasting corporation. It shows that the source is not always reliable as to tell us what we should think. But why shouldn’t we think for ourselves?! Here’s the trick: We need to ask more questions and not simply swallow what’s put on our plates.
Who are the people that are interviewed? What credentials do they have to speak in behalf of others? Are they experts in the field they are talking about? Is the situation they are talking about anything really new or just a new version of a repeated version in their country’s ancient history? What details are missing from their statements? What do they gain by their statements? What could they lose? What are we or our nation supposed to react like?
The above-mentioned feature was lacking in answers to any of these questions. At this point, I find that I wasted about five minutes’ time on watching an emotionalized film strip without any information. Therefore, it was plain meant to raise hackles about something which the viewer is supposed to fill the answers in. Because of their own fears and preconceptions. Isn’t that brilliant manipulation?!
We can find a lot more peace of mind if we ask more questions and discard “news” if we don’t get real answers. We need to discern what are proven facts and what are our fears. We might even get a chuckle about a “good try”. Meanwhile, I prefer to compare the “real” news broadcasts of at least three countries a day to shape my own view point. Facebook is not one of these channels, it’s just a platform for whoever wants to post; it always needs multiple fact-checks.
Resilience, among others, means being critical, as it means sieving out the useful from the useless. Add counting your blessings on a daily basis to this, and you are surely on a good way to a very balanced stance. And if you come across such “no-news” – remember that often no news is good news.
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.