I was walking with my friend today and we were discussing the Pandemic. A topic of conversation that is difficult to avoid and one that has dominated so much of our lives for nearly an entire year.
We exchanged thoughts, opinions and ideas and concluded that you could write a book that was well over a 1000 pages that would attempt to examine, anlalyse and synthesise the events that have taken place.
We discussed the situation with asymptomatic cases, holistic approaches that encourages healthier lifestyles, placebos and their role in health and wellbeing and how lockdown has given us an opportunity to reflect on what it is that is important to us.
One rant we shared was on the notion that the media has a lot to answer for. So much of the news consumed is now through social media, headlines or clickbait and the design of it is to excite you as opposed to inform you.
It would be better to have had the mainstream media give much more airtime to the people working tirelessly behind the scenes who are fighting this virus, be it researchers or doctors. Instead what has dominated a lot of the headlines are politicians who are untrustworthy and celebrities who have been humbled by their lack of awareness of what everyone else is going through. The language has been fear driven and uncertain with words like ‘could’ and ‘might’ appearing very often in headlines. It is easy to respond to these with very set assertions that are based on stress and or anxiety.
Yet you have a conversation like the one I had today and you quickly realise how there are so many ways to look at what has unfolded. We do not know everything and through exchanging ideas, is an opportunity to learn a new way of looking at things.
This is why I prefer podcasts as a medium, because it gives a platform to which conversations can happen in so much more depth and you can get deeper into things.
Being informed takes the courage to admit that what you believe right now may be contradictory to other sources but it is worth taking the time to think and listen in further depth before making an assertion as it is then easier to empathise with others and approach the situation we find ourselves in, in a calm manner.
It was a rare snow day in South Wales after many grey days of perpetual rain. Many people were out enjoying the weather (socially distanced of course) and one positive is that this pandemic has perhaps allowed us to re-engage with nature and appreciate it more than we may have done previously. Perhaps as we go forward, this will play a key role in how we ensure that we allow our environment to thrive.
It’s a really good idea to clearly distinguish the two. Paying attention is certainly more rewarding and fulfilling than getting attention.
By paying attention, I mean focusing on your creative goals, getting into the zone where time becomes elastic. This has happened to me when I have been working on a track and all of a sudden it is 4am in the morning or when I have been in the studio space and managed to cram 14 hours of guitar tracking into a single day.
Getting attention is an inevitable desire. We have made something and we want to share it with the world. It is of course necessary to have a strategy in place to ship and distribute our work, but for the sake of our mental health, we need to avoid the pitfalls that the combination of social media and the human condition have set up.
Whether I have had something viewed ten or ten thousand times, for the part of the brain that these numbers feed, it will never be enough. The stats are informative but they can also be a race to the bottom. Are we hustlers or are we creators? We must not let the numbers define the value of the creative work we do, especially when the journey is so rewarding for us.
The western world over the last five years has gone through a bruising period of division and much of the blame can be put down to the way social media works.
Much like the news, it appears that a lot of the things that cause the most response and reaction is outrage and anger. Thus what is amplified is a downward spiral of disinformation and hatred.
I think the social media companies can do much more to tackle this, and whilst we agitate for those changes, it is worth reflecting on how we as individuals can adopt a way to online interaction that is more responsible.
Lefties, Right wing, Snowflake, Gammon, Woke – all of these terms achieve essentially nothing in developing a productive conversation that promotes respectful debate. It becomes a battle of ‘us and them’. You look beyond your feed and in reality, it’s easy to realise that we (as in humans) share a lot more in common.
Even if viewpoints are polar opposite – the approach of ‘we’ or ‘us’ is a much better way to come to an understanding with what our values and desires are, and explore the possibilities available to us.
It is much better to emphasise and treat each other with respect and dignity than point fingers.