Why Do We Think of Reality as Harsh?

One of the reasons we tend to escape to television, film and books is to escape reality. We all need escapism in our lives. So the saying goes.

We live in a harsh, cruel world and the reality of it can almost certainly overwhelm us says another saying.

But is this really a great perspective to have?
One of the main reasons why I hate watching the news is that it causes so much stress to see all the things that are happening in the world. It’s extremely stressful. Someone tells me ” Well that’s the real world, it’s harsh and cruel.” People tell me that if you don’t watch the news, somehow you are sheltered from reality.

Is it though? Where are the uplifting stories on courage, and building community, and people empowering others? Where are the stories of rich and poor, uniting for one cause?
They are few and far in between. Does that mean that it doesn’t exist? Or are we only seeing a smile microcoosm of the world based on an agenda that news outlets want us to see?

Those few stories that filter into the world which are positive have enduring effects on people’s lives. What we see as reality is not necessarily the whole perspective.

News outlets are forced to be controversial in order to get views. Nowadays , they are even getting lazy when it comes to checking on the facts. They get their information from the blogosophere and what is ” hot” and a lot of this merely fabricated to create controversy. It has an effect of the rat eating it’s own tail . THere is no end or beginning and it is perpetually set into a spiral of people trying to outdo themselves to find the next best story.

Furthermore, news outlets were created – if my media professors were right- to have a heightened sense of stress in our lives. They showed us a clip of some very stressful news stories which were only alieviated by the commercials which had vague associations to solve the problems presented in the news story. By unconsciously associating the products and commercials with this we are sending a message that the only solution is to protect ourselves, to consume and numb the pain of the otherwise frightening and alienating world.

Gone are the days when people would arise together in citzenship. In the days before radio and television, neighborhoods would come together and help each other out. Nowadays, people are becoming increasingly more isolated and stay within their own family unit. While in the past, if there was burglar, neighborhoods would come together to find ways to protect, educate and empower the community. In present day, our solution is to buy a burglar alarm and set up house insurance. We are relying on products to solve the problems facing society.

If we watched the news we would think that most people are murderers, thieves and out to harm us. I have found that the reality tends to be true. The countless times that strangers have helped me in different countries, offered me money food , lodging and a ride without expecting anything in return countlessly makes me realize people’s goodness.

Yes the world is messed up right now. But it is not black and white, and people cannot fit into convenient categories of otherness. While the news might persist in giving us a notion that the world is a dark and twisted place, we should also consider the millions of instances of light that speckles through this pale blue dot.

There is also the fact that a lot of times, truth is distorted in the news and fits merely the perspective of the country and idealogical affiliation the outlet has. Many times as a child I would see realities of El Salvador which were not necessarily the truth. Most news outlets can record third world countries as backward, poor and inferior to the first world countries. But they will not show you the small pockets of beauty hidden in every corner.

Are all news outlets cut from the same cloth? Do some of them convey nuggets of truth? Should we shelter ourselves from them and thus deprive ourselves from some snippets of what the world is going through at this time? Not really, but we shouldn’t take the news at face value either.

Ocean Tenerife


Wingeyes Weekly Picks

So I am a bit swamped with work and won’t be able to write a huge amount today,so I decided to create a little piece every Sunday of some picks of things, books, movies and places that I find interesting.

I Am

If you haven’t checked this film out, I definitely would recommend it. Everything I talk about this blog, and much more is explained here. It is done by the director of Bruce Almighty, and he questions his lavish lifestyle and seeking a culture of competition. He goes on to interview the top scientists, philosophers and religious leaders for answers.
Why it’s inspiring : It shows what is really important with strong scientific evidence, without being preachy .

The Wasteland

Another inspiring documentary, this film depicts an artist’s journey to try to empower the most impoverished communities in Brasil, those who pick up trash in the wastelands. He went in looking for victims, but instead found a vibrant community proud of what they did and finding ways to improve their world. We follow the stories of a couple of them, from the start to where he takes their picture and they build art from the dump to decorate the photographs to when or if the art is sold into auction. Not only do you leave the theater not bogged down by the world’s problems but you end up feeling a sense of hope and love and empowerment.

Exit Through the Gift Shop

Banksy, the prolific street artist has been anonymous for his whole career. We supposedly follow an aspiring filmaker in his odd and quirky relationship with banksy. Except, the documentary takes an odd turn when the person who is filming becomes the subject as prepares to launch his own street art, leaving his fellow artist baffled at how easily he achieved it. A sly comment on the elitist nature of art and it’s almost thoughtless process in picking what is popular, it is debated even if it is a documentary but in fact a finely executed acted film.

Weekly Book Picks

Non Fiction : Bad Science
I am not naturally one who orbits to science, but this is written so well that it makes it a joy to read. It opens your eyes on how we blindly assume that under the guise of something being science, it can necessarily be factual. He blows the lid wide open on the whole market of pseudo science- detoxing, beauty myths, nutrition, homeopathy, etc.

House of Spirits
Love magic realism and love this book. It’s just a good story . Set in chile , it spans three generations and speaks of a time where the country was shadowed by dictatorship.

The Knife of Never Letting Go
This is one of my most recent reads, it tells a tale of a boy in a foreign planet who has developed a disease where all his thoughts can be heard out loud. It’s a YA fiction book, and it’s pretty amazing. I predict it might be in the running for the next YA film franchise.

The Graveyard Book
This book, quite simply is amazing. The tale tells of a boy who grows up in a cementary surrounded by ghosts. Half in this world and half in the next, he never feels at home anywhere. For anyone who is multicultural and always feels like they are in the middle of different worlds, this book is definitely an interesting read.

A New Mind – Paul Lample

An amazing book about spirituality and science and redefining our notions of it.

Best Place to Check out if you can : Sintra, Portugal
A beautiful magical city with weird twisting underground caves… and if you do go make sure you stay in ” Cosa di Mortas” which is one my friend’s hostal. It’s simply breathtaking to go there and see this little part of paradise which most people don’t know about. The tiles, the castles ( twenty of them !), the little coffee shops, the pebbled roads and the little winding houses are all amazing.