That sordid state

Image source:   Free-Man's Perspective
Image source: Free-Man’s Perspective

Perhaps it’s the weather. Or it could be my unending busyness at work. Possibly it’s to do with my inability to get chores dealt with in a timely manner at home and a growing list of To-Do items which rarely ever get checked off.

Or just the fact that I’m plain tired and lacking sufficient rest and recreation on most, if not all, weeks of late – a dangerous infringement into the healthy state of my sanity (or whatever remains).

But regardless of what the real reason may be, the symptoms remain: I feel this growing knot of emotions. A queer mix of anger and irritability, boredom, restlessness and discontentment.

And because of this, I tend to end up staying away from blogging or become reluctant to meet up with or hang around people (other than those closest to me). I feel that I have nothing positive to offer. And in times like these, I realise it’s usually best to shut up and not contribute to already overcrowded negative airwaves.

To be honest, I think it’s not that difficult to blog. I could easily whip up a couple of paragraphs each day, or even every few hours or so. But some inner part of me objects to filling up virtual space with nonsense.

There’s enough people out there already doing this. I don’t see a point in adding further to it.

Okay, I’ll admit this, for one thing: I have this is a growing disenchantment with the Internet. Undoubtedly, it’s really great to have limitless resources and knowledge at my fingertips.

To, at the touch of a button or the swipe of a screen, gain access to vast worlds beyond my own. To be able to learn endlessly, and to connect with so many people that I would probably never have had the opportunity to meet in the course of my lifetime had interactions in this world been confined to face-to-face encounters alone.

But browse the Web on any given day, and the amount of garbage that it throws in your face is far more than the invaluable treasures you could gain. Why is this so?

Is not the Internet self-regulating? If so, how is it so many of us put up for cheap thrills and mind numbing content? Why do we not demand for better, more life enriching media?

It’s disappointing how easily we are satisfied. How we flip through our social media feeds and dwell on articles filled with fluff and feed our minds with rumours, speculations and malicious gossip.

It’s equally frustrating how we in the media tend to stoop so low as to be willing to broach any topic, however crude it may be, just to gain more clicks, Likes, Shares and so on.

But we do this because people love such content. Or, it could also be argued, they demand for it because we keep supplying it.

My editor mentioned in a conversation with me yesterday how alarming it is that people don’t read as much anymore. That mistakes in facts can slip by the stakeholders for an article that’s already been published and distributed to the masses.

According to him, such errors would have not gone by unnoticed nor unpunished just a few years ago. But now, it appears that no one has even noticed it at all. Or if they have, that they don’t really care for it.

Perhaps, those of us in editorial feel this more than others in our society do since our livelihood is centered on generating written content. But regardless of the implications on our careers, it remains the truth anyhow.

This is the enigma of our generation. The fact that we are flooded with endless tides of information every hour of every day, and yet, we miss the most important stuff. The crucial details that help us conclude fact from fiction.

We have swapped understanding for mere knowledge. Our repertoire of know-how expands across greater heights and widths than any have ever accomplished in the past. Yet, for all of that, we have no depth.

No anchor to ground our actions and thoughs. A marked absence of foundational ethics, morals and convictions.

We are souls devoid of compassion and common courtesy. We have morphed into a colony of heartless beings who insist on being heard and pushing our views and lifestyle preferences onto others, condemning any who are not like us. For surely, ours is the better way?

I’m pretty sure every century has its share of people lamenting the decadence of society and that what I state is nothing new. But why does the world careen towards decay so easily and not instead improve and mature in age, as how we expect things to become whenever a living being gets older?

It is such cynical and melancholic thoughts that often haunt me. And it is such sentiments that causes me to retreat, to doubt the very words I have written or plan to pen down.

I question what difference it makes to write at all, since no one will read it. I reason that it’s almost certainly futile to craft any form of prose at all, as there is already an overwhelming excess of words clamouring for the attention of my would-be readers.

Why should they bother reading what I have to say? They do not know me. They most certainly do not care for my opinion. They have already formed their own.

I admit also that I am often jealous of people that I know. Those who do not make a living from writing, yet they command the admiration and attention of others  so effortlessly whenever they publish or promote something they have written. However short or infrequent it may be.

I envy how they can afford to be careless in what they say or how they say it, and yet be adored amidst it all. That they can afford to freelance and be able to get by. Or that they can influence others so widely, without facing internal battles within themselves as they do so.

Becoming a writer by profession has weighed me down, put burdens on my shoulders that I question whether I should have ever borne at all. I feel my creativity has been curtailed, the freedom of my soul stolen from me.

I wonder ten times over whether to ever say something in places like my blog because as members of the media, we are watched, even in our private spaces. There are hounds out to nip at our heels, to search out places where we slip up, just so they can discredit us as individual journalists or shame our profession as a whole.

The world feels it has no need for journalism in the way that it had in the past. Journalists are criticised for minute errors in their reporting. And for the angle they have chosen to highlight in their stories. Where the presentation of mere facts brings forth unwanted consequences or undesired truth, it is us messengers that are shot down instead.

Meanwhile, those to whom belongs the power to change things, the ones who have actually set in motion the wheels that have brought about the very calamities that plague our communities escape scot-free .

“Everyone can be a journalist nowadays” is the overused line that we are prone to hearing, over and over again. Words are ammunition. An easily acquired weapon that can be fired at will. But with every bit of power comes the need for responsibility.

I do not agree with this notion that anyone who spreads information is a journalist. There is more to it than that. There is a duty of care that you owe to your readers when you write something. It’s not just about how fast you feed them with knowledge. It matters how you shape their perspectives and the traces of influences you leave behind.

I have plenty to say beyond the assignments that work sends my way. But whether I will ever write them down and expose them to the rest of the world depends a lot on whether I see a point for doing so. Perhaps, at the end of my life, I will deem it as a loss to have not written what I could when I had the chance.

But if ever I do publish these stories that I hold dear to my heart, I believe getting the words out and wholeheartedly meaning every single bit of it will be far more fulfilling for me than spurting out dozens of paragraphs and living with the remorse of those carelessly crafted stories for eternities thereafter.

Well, so now you know. These are my musings and internal struggles. And often why I hold my peace.

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