I recently found a new news source that I like, called The Philosophers Mail . It is a news site, with an interesting prospective. All of the articles are written by philosophers. In comparison to my typical sources of Online information (Alternet, TruthDig, and other OP-Ed sites) and off-line information (CNN/MSNBC/Sun News/BBC World/CBC/CTV/ and some local webportals/news papers for info close to home), the mail is great.
When I am reading an article in the philosophers mail, I do not really have to worry about bias.
To be fair, bias is not something that makes or breaks my decision to watch or read a said source. I am more interested in looking for the facts in the stories. And if applicable, the misinformation.
While many like to pick their news based on their political affiliations (Right: Fox News. Left: MSNBC/Cnn etc), I like to sample a bit of everything. Yes, occasionally even Fox news.
Most of the time all the organizations are working with the same information, but occasionally there will be one that has something that the others do not.
Most mainstream news organizations become WAY to fixated on current events. For example, the recent tragedy of flight MH370. Though indeed horrific and curiosity-inducing (Where the hell did it go?!), in my mind, it has had WAY to much coverage.
It is normally the top story on most of the news networks, followed by the whole Russian situation. Which makes sense (its big news).
But the problem I have, is when the story begins to crowd out almost everything else.
For the last few nights while at a restaurant visiting, CNN was tuned in on a number of TV sets (captioned). Though I was not paying much attention (I was reading a newspaper lol), every time I glanced up, I seen either a commercial or something pertaining to Flight MH370 on the screen.
As opposed to, a network that I sampled a few days ago, BBC world News. The show opened with MH370. But then they went on to tell the story of the slave labor camps working on the 2018 Fifa World Cup Amenities in Quatar.
And another day, I learned of how England wanted to cap the pay of its CEO’s, so that the disparity between its working class and its elite, was not so large. Something that neither the European Union nor the United States has as of yet, considered.
And both of those things, have NEVER aired on any commercial North American news source.
But moving on, if there is one group that tends to annoy me, its people. That may sound like a HUGE generalization, but its just how I am lately.
Very, VERY few people in my life, do not draw some sort of criticism from me at some point anymore. Granted, I have always walked around with a critical mind, but its just, far worse now.
It could be the addition of philosophical ideals into my mind. But its just, the way I am.
It seems that no matter where I look, I find a problem.
A stupid post in a facebook group. A stupid facebook status update. Something I see somewhere in the city. A commercial on TV. Something I overhear somewhere. Something a friend says. The world is full of things to critique. And that isn’t even counting the news media, the “information” that I like to surround myself with to GET AWAY from everything else.
One thing that the founders of the Philosophers Mail believe, is that everyone needs a break from the news. That it is important for us all to get in touch with our inner selves. That there really can be, TMI (to much information).
In going along with this, they have a self imposed “news sabbath” period that lasts though out the weekend (Saturday and Sunday).
I found out about this, after going to the site whilst killing time waiting for my laundry to finish at the laundry mat late last Saturday afternoon. Of course, my reaction then was “Fuck you! I am arguing on a local site about the Ukraine, NOW!”. But fast forward to Monday and last night, and I was feeling, quite overwhelmed.
Some ever present negative aspects within my life, culminating with my uncontrollable criticism of everything, was just, on the boarder of being to much. Actually, I am pretty sure that I have seen people “crack”, under much less.
Either way, I decided it was time to take a page out of the playbook of Micheal Moore , and go for a walk. Not for any particular reason, certainly not for my health. I just needed to get the hell out the of prison that was my bedroom.
In keeping with both the Micheal Moore and the Philosophers mail methodologies (digital silence), I was going to leave my iPhone at home (or at very least, turn it off).
But being it was 2:30am, I decided it would be a rather risky move. I consider the streets where I was walking (Brandon’s East End) safe. But at the same time, if I did encounter something, chances are I would not have time to boot my phone AND unlock the sim, THEN wait for it to connect to the network.
And so I left with it in my pocket. Mostly resisting the temptation to look.
After a while however, the temptation to look grow less and less. Likely because, the stimuli around me, was interesting enough. An entire residential section of a city, deserted and quiet. Looking North, you see the other side of the Assiniboine River valley.
Orange lights glinting in the distance. A long line of lights going up the North hill, clearly showing 1st street. A cellular tower with its red light, flashing away on the other side of the valley.
Some may not see beauty in the lights of the city. But I do.
And so I kept up my walk all the way to the “edge” of the city. To be clear, not the actual city line, but just where the streets end and the darkness begins.
In front of me was the lights of the Brandon Generating station. To the left, is darkness. Somewhere therein, lies the River, trees and the rest of the valley.
To the right, is the lights of a big hydro sub station, a tower of an unknown purpose and a whole lot of steam, most of which originating from the Koch fertilizer plant.
I just stood here for awhile, enjoying the quiet. Enjoying being on the “edge”. Behind me lay the city, in front of me, a whole lot of nothing.
Well, it was quiet until my digital reality poked its head back into my current reality, VIA a facebook chat.
Anyone who uses the facebook chat app on the Iphone will know the sound. The DING that is way to loud at the bast of times (let alone where there is no background noise).
The bubble was popped anyway, so I did a few things on facebook and checked a couple of emails. 3am is one of the few times when your able to stand in the middle of a street and screw around on an iPhone, without much risk of either getting run over or ticking anyone off.
Once I was done dealing with my digital intrusions, I walked South to Victoria and a bit up the hill beside ACC (Assiniboine Community College). Partially out of curiosity, and partially because I could hear the framework of the steel structure holding up the high tension lines right behind me, groaning (it unnerved me a bit lol).
As I was walking along the mostly darkened 17th street east, I seen out of the corner of my eye in the sky, either a shooting star or a spark from the high voltage wires above. Either way, it was neat.
When I got to Victoria, I decided to walk up to the crest of the hill beside ACC (Assiniboine community College), following the bike path. Though I had ridden my bike up there back in the summer, I never stopped to look at the view behind me.
As it turns out however, there is not much of a view of the east end (looking North) from that vantage point.
But the view east, of darkness with the exception of the odd blinking red cellular tower, isn’t bad.
From there I walked back home along Victoria, along the way spotting more streets and locations to explore sometime on my bike. And by then, my mind had largely cleared. The only real concern I had, was why the wires over my head (on the bike path) were buzzing so much, even though they were OUTSIDE of the hydro sub station (im paranoid sometimes lol).
I used to enjoy random walks that brought me no where in particular. Mostly when I was a teenager. But I quit for the most part once I become an adult. But I know now, that it is something that I should make time for. And that everyone should make time for.
You may not even realize it. But we all need a break.