People have the chance to live, but they spend most of their time living through others. Movie stars become famous by pretending to be other people, and real people fantasize about the lives of movie stars.
Entertainers of all types — sports figures, musicians, television stars — are worshipped from the couch. Meanwhile, never in human history has there been more opportunity for individuals to live for themselves, and never have so many people had so much disposable income to take advantage of those opportunities. Yet they don’t. Life is not a spectator sport and can’t be lived to its fullest through the sifted vision of others.
Perhaps even more disturbing than the secondhand nature of media and entertainment is the twisted perspective on life that the media provides. Most people’s lives are rarely, if ever, touched by murder, rape, or robbery, but in the nightly news, violence and tragedy are daily, commonplace events.
The real world is a much more positive place than the world portrayed in the media. When evaluating the state of the world, one question to ask is, “How often do the events portrayed on the news happen to me or people that I know?”
Further, the people and events that attract media interest — wars, violence, celebrities — are not the forces — such as science and technology — that really change the world. News has become entertainment, rather than information that will help guide your actions. It’s difficult to create value without being a keen observer of the world around you, and in order to accurately observe and assess that world, you have to constantly seek an accurate picture of reality. But the best way to observe the world is firsthand, as a participant — through travel, work, and interaction with different kinds of people — not through the twisted filter of the media.
Perceive and assess reality directly, through your own experience and judgment, rather than relying on the portrayal of the world as resented by the media.