Calmness and tranquility — these do not sell. Nor do they make headlines in the nightly news.
What does make headlines, what causes people to tune in at 11, share the post, or click the link for more information (and thereby targeted ads) is
Fear, uncertainty, anxiety, concern, dread, dismay, panic, trepidation: these sell.
And for this reason, these are what we read about, hear about, are nudged to focus upon. Often, what we are told to fear is nebulous — an enemy (nation, ethnic group, random assailants, lone crazies), the threat of nuclear annihilation (especially popular in the 1950s), a mystery disease, economic despair. The news wrapped around them is what might happen, what could be, what will possibly unfold if this occurs and that develops.
Often, human interest, and thereby added plausibility, is brought in by vignettes of one or two people who have, somehow, encountered a form of the threat. Targeted with limited but repeated information and well thought out, timely visuals and graphics, we find ourselves, if we don’t watch ourselves, announcing that the sky is falling because that’s what everyone is saying.
It’s not to aver that there are no threats or dangers to good, honest, ordinary people. There are. Throughout history, greedy people with a lust for power have ravaged over the lives of others who simply want to live their lives in peace.
And that’s what we get back to: peace, calm, tranquility, meditation, thought — the things that don’t sell, but are the glue that keep our souls from fracturing with fear.
The artwork, On the Horizon, is an encouragement for each of us to take time for silence and thought, to turn off the voices that push us against the wall in a small, small room as they shrilly cry, “Be afraid! Panic! Run! Listen to the people in charge who will tell you what to do!”
In a quiet place, we ponder, question, analyze, the things we are told. We use this time to employ our intelligence to determine their validity. Who benefits by our actions and reactions to the news? Is the source giving the news impeccable for its truthfulness?
Cui bono? (If this is the only Latin phrase we know, it’s enough.)
But we can only do this if we walk away from the noise so that we can hear ourselves think.
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