Life & Optimism

Of Kenyan Elections and Why I Stopped Reading News in 2017

What we’ve had as news qualify to be labelled bleak, total bulls**t. We’ve been made to graze all the headlines and tweets and blog posts. And listen to numerous TV shows and radio host talks. But one fact remains that what we’ve been able to see is uninspiring, boring political bubbles popping on the surface of a deeper world. Not the kind to spark change in a young soul. 

We are living an age of information overload, both beneficial and unfortunate news brought to us proportionately. How terrible is that?

The year 2017 will remain a useful milestone in my life and that of many Kenyans. Give it a name: The Year of Unrewarding News Update. If we have to think about the massive campaigns, political melodrama and everlasting elections witnessed in Kenya, the fortunate among us will recognize the hazards of living with the overabundance of useless news report – what I like to call trivial matter, tidbits that don’t really concern our lives and don’t require thinking. And which reveal how really toxic news can become.

What we’ve had as news qualify to be labelled bleak, total bulls**t. We’ve been made to graze all the headlines and tweets and blog posts. And listen to numerous TV shows and radio host talks. But one fact remains that what we’ve been able to see is uninspiring, boring political bubbles popping on the surface of a deeper world. Not the kind to spark change in a young soul. 

At a personal level, I have to admit I have been at a point in my life where paring down news became a necessity, sifting and triaging useful information from a sea of irrelevant, mere entertaining collection. 

Every page of our newspapers has been covered wholesomely by the seamy stories of politicians. Politicians aggrandizing their political might and affluence and folly in public spaces. Either way, whenever we switch to listen to local radios hosting folks who could teach us how to plant blue gum trees during winter or use jik to scrub floors, what we got in return was a local MCA or MP unreasonably defending his political party or declaring the number of wives he has and which between the two will likely qualify for the Parliamentary Perks for Wife Maintenace, if he wins the ballot.

We have seen it all. Weiredest news around the world. Cheap-to-produce kind of reporting featuring sensationalists and attention seekers desperate for limelight. Politicians wanting to pluck each other’s noses. Tossing themselves on the ground in front of the controversial statue of a little naked boy holding fish in the supreme court grounds. Poor, godforsaken Kenyans threatening to sell their only property to mobilize funds for politicians’ campaigns. The split-second, even puzzling migration of politicians from one coalition to the next, and then back. The ndaani ndaaani ndaani and yaliyo ndwele sipite catch phrases.

Some news have been utterly annoying, especially those tending to report how badly my candidates were losing on the ballot, ( I’m a manager and I somewhat stopped discussing my political affiliations publicly) panicky stories that spurred the release of cascades of chronic stress, aggression and uncontrollable nervousness. 

Unfortunately, news like these can’t, in any way inspire any young person to go one step beyond in life. They are those kind of information which will never help any individual rise to his highest level of soul development and unfoldment of talent. They can’t allow you in any way to make a better decision about a serious matter affecting your life, your family or your schooling.

It is for those reasons I stopped reading news, or least to say, I started to employ intellectual discipline to sort every kind of information I came across. I so became a one-sided minimalist that I learnt the death of Kitui West MP, Francis Nyenze, almost after his burial!

Instead, what should replace those stories are optimistic news – slow, powerful movements that develop below journalists’ radar but have a transforming effect. News about how a stubbornly determined boy defied odds to launch an amazing entrepreneurial startup. A story of a young promising girl who graduates top of her class. A news on how a Masaai heardsboy rose from the most forgotten parts of the world to Harvard university. Tale of a group of youth spreading gospel on ending gender based violence or even the story of a Kenyan girl who is on her way to becoming the youngest PhD holder in Biomathematics.

Convincing you to withdraw your reading of news may sometimes not be the best idea ever. But the bread and butter issue is to learn to develop what I call intellectual discipline – the ability to say no to certain news, to wade through the noise expertly, discern the facts and analyze perspectives. With pessimistic reporting, one of the most powerful tools we are left with to harness is the single-minded pursuit of mastering how to seek the beneficial from a minefield of bleak information.

All we do is put ourselves at a competitive disadvantage if we don’t handle rest in peace news report.

This year, lets move from here to there, I mean lets go OneStepBeyond.

Lots of Love,

HAPPY NEW YEAR; SAD OLD YEAR 😂😂

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