Being purposely uninformed


#1

With all the bs that’s happening in the world and the ubiquity of sharing the news on social media, I’ve noticed that quite a few friends have started to ‘quit’ the news, whether for their mental health or other reasons.

Can’t help but feel like, while it’s tempting, it’s an incredibly privileged thing to do if you’re not being really badly mentally affected by it? I’m absolutely bored to fucking tears by Brexit. I literally do not give a shit any more. But how selfish is it to not give a shit when there are people who might lose residency rights, lose their jobs, etc?

…But then, how useful is it really to be hanging on every twist and turn in Brexit negotiations or Trump updates? Is it really benefiting most people to stay super informed? I doubt most people who angrily share articles or sign petitions are really engaging in actual activism. But most of the people I know who were already doing this “the news is upsetting and frustrating” thing are women and I imagine that feeds into the underrepresentation of women in news, politics. Don’t really know what point in trying to make there tbh, but it’s an observation.

Obviously it’s more nuanced than all or nothing but what do you think about doing this? Sorry, I was probably gonna write more but I desperately need a wee.


#2

I guess there’s a difference between being uninformed and unengaged. For instance, I’m broadly aware of things like Brexit, Trump, the Tory government and so on, but I’m not really engaging in activism, with the exception of a fairly niche area (food poverty).

I’d rather just pick my battles than tune out altogether.


#3

I think that’s how the first draft of the Brexit divorce proposal ended.


#4

similar thing, but I basically stopped engaging in political debate with people a few years ago. partly because of the many failures of things I was involved with at the time, partly because of the general state of nihilism I find myself in these days. sort of feel as though nothing matters anymore, and every act of political protest is doomed because of how entrenched and complex the oppressive apparatus and global institutions that support and enable them are.


#5

Yup, agree with you that avoiding ‘depressing news’ is an incredibly privileged attitude.

While there are some who may do it for their mental health, I think many more do it because it’s easier for them to avoid having to feel or think about others.


#6

Used to read a paper every day but it just doesn’t seem worthwhile anymore as everything seems unreal. Like post-reality or something.

Everyone screaming about stuff online while doing the square root of fuck all to help while reaping the benefits of the system also didn’t help.


#7

If somebody says they’re experiencing mental health issues i’d be tempted to believe them rather than accusing them of being selfish or ignorant…


#8

Dunno, shouldn’t we be free to consume and think about whatever we like.


#9

Yes we should.

Wilful ignorance is a better term I think. The pride in not knowing something


#10

Yeah this is true. Should have caveated my post upthread.


#11

Nothing wrong with this, and food poverty is not a niche area! Look at what contributed to Libya, Syria, etc. Your work in food poverty links up to a wider matrix of resistance against this zombie neoliberal hellworld we’re living in, one that is sliding towards full fascism, and it’s not a requirement that before you can help in one place you need to know all about Trump, Austria, the truth about Syria, etc. Small ripples and big waves innit.


#12

This is it though… is simply caring from a distance by reading about the potential dangers of Brexit and writing some angry tweets really benefiting anyone? Does it not need to be accompanied by some tangible activism - lobbying, protesting, donating, spending time to help a cause - to have any real effect? If someone does one and not the other, is there really a difference between being informed and being uninformed?


#13

No! I would have described myself as a pessimist until very recently, maybe I still am a bit, but we don’t have that luxury anymore! What’s coming for all of us, what’s already here to some extent - fascism, climate catastrophe, etc - it’s still up to us how we respond. We need you profk!


#14

I’ve definitely noticed a correlation between people who have a strong interest in news/politics etc and unhappiness.


#15

sort of feel as though its all happened and is irreversible now. we should probably just strap an engine to Australia or something and slowly launch ourselves into the sun.


#16

thought this said ‘being purposely uniformed’ at first.

that’s all.


#17

I think being informed affects any number of decisions that someone makes in daily life, whether that be choosing to cycle into work, or being the one person in the office who calls out a racist colleague, or sharing news articles to others, or voting in elections - you don’t have to be engaged in activism to make a difference.

I do think that activism helps, and supporting fellow activists helps too, but it can require significant commitments that not everyone is able to make.

I think being informed about something doesn’t require such a commitment, especially these days with media coverage and smartphones. In fact staying uninformed is, for the majority of the population in 2018, a deliberate act that requires commitment itself.


#18

i think that last para used to be true, but echo chambers and etc mean that it’s becoming easier to stop giving a fuck without realising it.


#19

I’ve done it before. Was a lot happier back then. But i can say with confidence it denied me a lot of information that would havd helped develops my growth into adulthood and becoming a more understanding and less entitled individual.


#20

To a certain extent, but what if that willful ignorance harms other people?