News, trolls, tolerance and headspace

This is not a climate in which you can afford to spend too much time imagining things. It is harder than it has ever been to image anything good, and if you accidentally start imagining how any of the not-good stuff is going to play out, you’ll hurt.

If we are to be responsible citizens, we have to know what’s going on. Given that neither our politicians nor our media seem wholly trustworthy right now, getting real insight that can lead to a truly informed opinion is hard work, and there are so many issues, and all of them have so many implications. Overload beckons. The more sensitive, empathic and caring you are, the more scope there is to tear yourself to shreds over the world’s many problems.

Shutting down and shutting it out can feel like not caring. It can feel like a cold, hard choice, a betrayal of causes that needed our help. We don’t want to join the apathetic many, or the uninformed many, but knowing comes at too high a price.

There’s no tidy answer here, not least because we’re all different. As creatives many of us need to feel in touch – but we have some scope for deciding what we’re in touch with. We are not all obliged to know everything.

Picking things to be informed about and letting go of other issues is a reasonable choice. Cutting down on exposure to media to avoid being overwhelmed is also an option. Taking holidays from the woes of the world in order to clear the mind and claim back some space for creative thinking. Focusing on news outlets that offer good news stories, solutions and so forth can also be a great help. One of the reasons I like being involved with campaigning groups is that they all, reliably, feed good news stories back to participants, when there are any.

My creativity depends on the interactions between my imagination and the world as I encounter it. I can’t run far on pure imagination, that’s a dragon eating its own tale/tail. I want my work to be grounded and informed, not pure escapism. I cannot insulate myself too much. But, if I don’t insulate myself to some degree, all I think about is what’s going on out there and the implications of it, or I end up having to not think, to avoid spiralling into anxiety and dysfunction. I think part of the point of what we’re being exposed to is to shut us down, shut us up, overwhelm us into doing nothing. I want to resist that. There are groups and individuals out there whose intention it is to trash anyone who wants to do anything good.

There are stories about troll factories and people paid to get on social media and spread lies. Groups driven by the desire to tear down. They aren’t a majority, they are people who for various reasons have the time to be online a lot, making noise. They give the impression of being a huge and popular movement, but I think there are more of us who want to improve things than there are people who just want to destroy. There’s a case for the balance between digging around and staying away right there… Because however you go about it, not hearing those voices will help you stay sane, and maybe we don’t need to know what the trolls amongst us think, feel and want. Maybe we aren’t responsible for them – although they will tell us we are, and that we aren’t really tolerant if we can’t tolerate their hate… Maybe the answer is to selectively close our ears and not have compassion stretched to breaking point by people who set out to break us.



About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

6 responses to “News, trolls, tolerance and headspace

  • Tracy Kruse

    Maybe because the climate is the way that it is now…with the truth rupturing at every seam revealing horrific practices and behaviors that we really need now to use our imagination more. Imagine the world to be the way that we want and let these shadow-self energies burn themselves out so that what has been repressed, creating this distortion that we call the world can be purified and left clean for the seeding of hope. I think that here, in the US, it is like watching an enormous forest fire rage as change and light sweep like purification through everything. Personally, I spend time reading what is happening, and having awoken years ago, have known for some time too much. I have been raw in despondency over things that I agonize about; I am too small to affect. Yet I also know that imagining a new world, a safe world, a world of transparency and truth and healing is where I want to live. And I work to create that in my own ‘reality bubble’ which is what I call this little part of the world that is my reality. My bubble only touches yours briefly online, but it Does. So too, this happens for all those who read or are inspired by your words, and maybe as we continue to connect our bubbles to others imagining a better world, we are actually creating that. I also agree that some of what is coming to light is so heinous in behavior that it is to shut us down, make us feel small and create emotional trauma. There is healing needed, nay, required, but so far the only thing I have found is to garden. I just get back to Earth. There is healing there in our Gaia’s embrace.

  • Rick

    Nimue, I was thinking about something you wrote in reply to one of my recent comments: that a large part of the challenge in all this is how to soften ourselves and others. I find sometimes that prayer helps softens me a little — not prayer directed to anyone, since I don’t believe there’s anyone out there actually out there listening, but more a general and focused wish that good things could happen. A Tibetan prayer I learned a long time ago says, “At this very moment, for the people and nations of the earth, may not even the words famine, warfare, sickness, and suffering be heard. But rather may pure conduct, merit, wealth, and prosperity increase. And may supreme good fortune and well-being always arise.” I find that this softens me, at least for a while, if I say it and really mean what I’m saying. I feel more connected to Druidic things than Tibetan things these days, and so I’ve been looking for a prayer from the Celtic tradition that says more or less the same thing. Does anyone out there know one like this that they could share?

    • Tracy Kruse

      Rick, I love this concept, and the prayer. I am not familiar with a Druidic or Celtic similar prayer, but wonder if it cannot be conceived and written with pure heart and intent by each of us in our own way; our own words? If you write one for yourself, I hope you will share it. If the studies on meditation are true, in that groups can effect great change in unison, so too, it would be lovely to share a prayer written in this way with many Druidic or Celtic peoples.

  • In The Autumn Of My Life

    Funnily enough I have a couple of articles in a series on my blog coming out next week which touch on what you say. To stay in touch, but not be overwhelmed, I suggest using Flipboard to tailor what is of interest. I don’t watch the news channels or a lot of TV itself. I thoroughly research anything which catches my eye to find out as many facts as I can. It is surprising what comes to light. Many things are given a bent of sensationalism rather than just the facts – we all know this really. The news on TV or radio can seem a good round up during the busy lives we lead but often they are the worst fountains of information we can base opinions on.

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