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The news is always so morbid. It’s usually ugly. It is rarely informative in any way that can influence the behavior of our daily lives. Usually, the stories that are most prominent are designed to lead to personal anxiety. “If it bleeds it leads” is the mantra of the media because that is what sells newspapers and other media. And yet, if someone we don’t know is injured or killed, there is rarely anything we can do to help or even begin to help because the events are so remote.

When something that is so catastrophic that doing something, even giving a single dollar, would help someone over there, very few dollars are actually given. For example, it has been two months since the American territory of Puerto Rico was ripped by a hurricane, and according to the news media itself very little has been done to help them. Without a doubt, there have been some efforts but considering the magnitude of the disaster and the enormous wealth of the United States, the help was abysmally tiny. Just now there is a political effort to help, but it was the first few days were the help was most needed.

The reason why people watch the news is probably because of its entertainment value. That’s the same reason millions of people watch sporting events. It isn’t because of the sport, or the value of those events. It’s because of the violence and the entertainment value, the crowd’s enthusiasm and the agreed upon media-generated feeling that this is important. That, of course, is a delusion. The only meaning to the games is to transfer money from the emotionally needy public’s pockets into the pockets of those willing to put the games before them and then pretend that it is important to these people’s lives. Their lives become important because they identify with a team. That’s absurd because they can pick a team randomly and become enthralled.

So it seems that the reason people watch the news and sports is that they believe there is something important being given to them. In fact, the only behavior that people change from attending to the media is selecting the appropriate clothing for the day’s weather. The weather that is reported is almost totally concerned with comfort; the real killer effect of the weather is rare but real and it is flooding and drowning. But  I don’t recall ever hearing a newscaster warning me to stay away from rivers before they flood; they much prefer to report on the after-effects of a flood. That’s newsworthy. What’s the body count that has a surviving family member to interview? That’s news! What I would suggest …

Pay attention to things that will actually change your physical behavior.