Don’t you just love watching a movie that “speaks” to you? I just saw Tomorrowland with Lynn this past weekend, and I loved the themes it highlighted.
The central idea centers around the power to envision and create the future, and the courage of optimism. (Spoiler alert) The George Clooney character represents a young boy genius full of inspiration and invention, but who gets cynical and jaded as an adult. The Britt Robertson character is amazed at her first glimpse of the future and approaches it with wonder and hope. When she meets Clooney, her optimism and his cynicism clash and sends them on some wild adventures.
Eventually they both meet the Hugh Laurie antagonist in the future. His doomsday clock has the whole world convinced that the world is going to end soon and there’s nothing they can do about it. But eventually the good guys discover that the doomsday clock isn’t gaging the actual destruction of the world. Rather it’s simply brainwashing people into giving up hope so that the forces of evil can take over (end spoiler).
I thought was a really great metaphor for how the mainstream media is affecting our culture - trying their hardest to keep us feeling angry, victimized and fearful so that we have a diminished view of the future, and eventually lose hope.
I’m particularly concerned about the effect this has on young people. If you believe in a fatalistic, doomsday scenario you won’t bother to engage in doing the hard work of building a better future. Worst of all, the rest of us will never see the unique gifts that you have to offer.
So what can you do to counter the negativity trap that surrounds you ever day?
1. First of all, you need to recognize if you’ve developed a fatalistic worldview. Do you think the Earth is going to be devastated because of global warming? Are you convinced that racial tension is going to destroy your city? Do you think the world is going to descend into chaos until you die or are raptured out of it? If you think the future is pre-programmed and there’s nothing you can do about it, you won’t try to change things (after all they’re supposed to get worse, right?).
2. Be careful regarding the media outlets you choose to receive your information from. And yes, it’s always a choice. Don’t be a passive consumer. Start to question motives and agendas.
3. Pay attention to your emotional state. If you find yourself getting consistently angry or afraid, then you’re being played. That media company has found a way to tap into your core beliefs and manipulate you in order to increase their ratings. Find a different news source, and do it soon.
4. If the media you consume makes you feel like a victim that’s being oppressed by forces out of your control, they are coercing you so that you’ll depend on them to be your lifeline or your protector. Very unhealthy. Find another source.
5. If the logic they feed you causes you to hate or distrust a particular group or individuals who don’t believe the way you do, they’re training you to be a hater and you’ve become part of the problem. Find a better source.
6. If some of the people you hang out with constantly rehash negative news, politely change the subject. If they don’t take the hint, come right out and tell them that you hear enough bad news all day and you’re looking to enjoy some positive company, so let’s change the topic.
7. Replace negative media sources with positive ones. And if you hear some good news, repeat it. Help spread optimism to others. For example I love to read about scientific breakthroughs and inventions. So when I read about one, I’m sure to post it on social media or talk it up with my friends. You can do the same with stories and videos that highlight goodness.
So what news sources have you found that are balanced and don’t pull you into a negative mindset? Please let the rest of us know in the comments section. This is your chance to share it with others who could benefit.