Daily news is junk food for your mind
We live in the age of information abundance. Finding information is easier than ever, but filtering information is harder than ever — David Perell
So what is actually the problem with the news?
My thesis is that people who consume a lot of news, are actually less informed about what is really going on in the world. I am also convinced that our addiction to news is the main reason why societies are so polarized nowadays.
That might sound like a contradiction, but let me explain.
In my opinion, the news is to education what junk food is to health. Our brains consider junk food as extremely attractive: That is mostly because of the sugar and fat it contains.
Those are energy-dense ingredients that were crucial for our survival back in the past when we still prowled through the African savannas.
However, today they are an obstacle for our health, simply because they are not scarce in modern supermarkets anymore. Unfortunately, our brains never received an update in the last 100 years, mainly because the updating process takes a lot of time in biological evolution.
The same is true with the news:
In the past, the news was called gossip. Gossip played an important role in all of the early human tribes: You needed to know if dangerous animals had been nearby the camp, which members of a tribe had been trustworthy or not in the past, and so on.
Information was scarce, therefore our minds craved for new information to be able to create a more accurate picture of reality.
As a result, gossip was crucial for the survival and connectedness of a tribe and this is also the reason why we still love to hear about the latest plane crash, corruption scandal, or cheating celebrity.
We see that gossip aka news has an important role in society. It is only when we combine it with modern technology that problems arise: Now it gets artificially pumped up like Arnold Schwarzenegger on steroids.
We are cluster bombed 24/7 with the latest gossip that is happening in every corner of our blue planet and all the while we believe that we…