Friday, 17 June 2011

Just a Point of View

I've been thinking. (Shields up - this is not a drill)

What is faster - Bad news, or Gossip?

We all know the sayings "bad news travels fast", and "gossip spreads like wildfire" - but which of these is fastest?
Let's start with bad news. If you take the word news in it's most well known form then immediately you think of modern technology, 24 hour reporting, updates on your mobile device, or computer anywhere, at anytime. To actually go through the day without hearing any news is quite a task these days. Even if you, switch off the TV, radio, computer, and your mobile, there's still a good chance that you will catch a snippet of what is happening in the world through overhearing other people's conversations.
When the planes hit the World Trade Centre, the entire globe knew about it within less than a day. That's 6 Billion people hearing about that one event in under 24 hours. That's some fast moving news!. And it happens because technology has shrunk our world in terms of communication. We can now reach more people, faster and easier than ever before, and in the fast paced world that we live in, we want our news on demand, and at our fingertips.

Gossip has been around just as long, if not longer than news. In fact Gossip was the earliest form of news. But only recently has gossip joined the technological revolution. Years ago, the stereotypical image of gossip was this:

Two women, chatting over the garden fence, catching up on the gossip. Today, we still gossip - but now we use technology. We gossip by text, email, and on social networking sites like Facebook. However, I don't think that Gossip travels as fast as bad news - and here's why:

Gossip is defined (by as "idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others." Note the word "rumor" in that definition. Gossip is often the distribution of inaccurate facts about somebody or something, and although as humans we are predisposed to think the worst about others - in order to make ourselves feel better about our own lives - at some point down the chain of gossip there will come a point where someone will say "I don't believe that", and will not pass on the gossip.
I believe that because news comes from "respected" sources - The TV companies, newspapers etc. - we are more likely to take the information given to us as fact. Therefore, having no reason to doubt it, we happily pass it on as the truth.
Before I go any further, I will say that I believe that we are only told or shown what the powers that be want us to be told or shown. I do think that we as the everyday man and woman in the street are not always shown the whole picture, and I believe that all governments, or people in power filter the information that is shared with its people. I'm not talking conspiracy theories like the ones in the "X-Files", but I think that some information that might damage our perception or the image of those in power is not publicised.
So, whilst gossip may reach the ears of 100 people within a few days, news will reach millions. So news (and let's face it - it's all bad news) travels fastest.

What about good news? Does that travel slower than bad news? I think so, because where other people's misfortune, makes us feel better about ourselves (the phrases "there but for the grace of god go I" and "rather them than me" spring to mind), other people's good fortune just emphasises to us what is wrong or missing in our lives.
Basically, it is easier to think badly of someone, than to think kindly. We are bombarded daily by images of War, disease, terrorism, the rich getting richer while the poor get poorer, murder, rape, robbery, infidelity - but rarely of love, empathy, kindness, generosity, helpfulness, understanding, tolerance, or unity. So our perception of the world is a distorted one I think.

So who holds the balance of power in the world, good or evil? If you just take what you read in the papers. or see on TV, then you would obviously say that evil has the upper hand. But don't think for one minute that there isn't good in the world - for every person killed by a bomb or a bullet there are people comforting those left behind. For every person wounded in war, or by a mugging or a drunk driver or a terrorist,  there are people who will take care and help them heal their wounds. It may be their job in many cases, but they still do it because they care. If they didn't, they wouldn't.
Just because you don't see it in the papers or on TV, doesn't mean that it doesn't happen.

You can't see the back of your head - but you know it's there.

I believe that there is more good in the world, than evil. Some people might consider that a naive point of view, and that is their opinion. But that is how I feel. But I think the good in the world does go largely unseen - because they are smaller actions than the much publicised acts that we see or read about. And I think there will always be more good in the world, because the people who perform the bad actions, or who are corrupt, or who are terrorists or muggers, or rapists are so in the minority when you consider the 6 billion people in the world.

Remember, this is just my opinion. Yes, it is harder to do a kind deed than it is to think unkind things. But hey - do that kind deed anyway.


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