This is the seventh of ten challenges.
There’s an abundance of news and news channels around us, and sometimes we have a hard time knowing what to believe. For this challenge, I was determined to find one uplifting news piece, because somehow or the other we end up reading less of that.
Finding this website was simple, all I did was type in good news and there it popped up on Google search (kudos to simplicity): a whole website of good news, served on a platter.
Seeing the sheer abundance of happy things going on in the world that I knew nothing about, I felt elated. The media had given me the general impression that the world was going from worse to worst. To add to this are the kind of misinformed, ill-meaning messages that get circulated on various social media channels, inciting hate and anger.
And yet these very messages (some, or most, defy logic) are widely spread and circulated. Graphic violence is no longer as big a problem as it was before. Many do not stop to think of the consequences before they share something that might hurt the sentiments of a section of the population.
This might make it seem as if we, as a species, have a tendency towards spreading hate and violence rather than positivity. But the occasional positive messages, some really beautiful ones I must add, show that this is not always the case.
Humans aren’t inherently programmed to look for bad news just for the sake of it.
A news piece in BBC reports that this ‘negativity bias’ is only a primal instinct present in every living being on the planet – the need to recognize potential threats. Evolutionarily, this is a very important trait because the survival of the species depends critically on this. It is very similar to the ability to detect pain – evolutionarily, individuals with a higher ability to detect pain show greater levels of survival.
In a series of studies conducted at University College London, it was also observed that the reverse, the ‘good news bias’ is less common in individuals with depression, which may indicate that the optimistic view points to a healthier mindset.
This is not to indicate that one should ignore facts or pretend that everything is okay with the world. I only denounce the needless sensationalism of negative events.
It’s true that there are terrible things happening – poverty, war, crimes, even natural disasters. But there are also beautiful human beings who devote their entire lives and resources in to helping their fellow residents of the planet. It often happens that we do not focus enough on them.