I am a news addict. I have been since I moved beyond the funnies to the headlines in the newspaper at about age seven. I have insatiable curiosity. I want to know what’s going on. All the time. Everywhere.
My sources of information are not limited to print journalism. I watch television, I root around on the Internet, I read magazines, I engage people in conversation.
What I'm drawn to is varied. Like many American males I care about certain sports, but I’m also keen to know what the new books and movies and products are. I’m a political junkie, too, fascinated by the perpetual struggle for power. Give me a long campaign for the White House or a struggle for control of Congress and I'm in heaven. And as a former econ major and a person with a 401(k) and a mortgage to pay, I watch closely what’s happening to the economy.
The thing about me is that I’m not much stuck in the past. Rather, I’m almost to the point of having an obsession with what’s unfolding right now everywhere in the world and what it might mean for the future of us all.
Make no mistake. I don’t think all addictions are equal or that “addiction” automatically calls for for some kind of cure. (Would we suggest a remedy for someone who is addicted to being generous?) So, I confess I’m very fond of my addiction to wanting to know. It has helped define who I am.
At the same time I wonder.
Do I really need to know so much? Is it good that I live in a culture that caters to people like me with 24/7 news offerings of the profound and the mundane? Could it be that knowing too much spreads a person thin? Might it contribute to anxiety or needless fears? And by paying so much attention to the activities of the world at large am I missing what is happening right in front of me?
At the same time I worry that not knowing is a serious social disease. Not caring about anything beyond the extent of one’s own front bumper can result in a person who is an egotistical ignoramus and a poor citizen of this representative democracy in which, ideally, all of us participate.
So this project is an experiment. I want to find out if I need less news and current information or perhaps none at all. As I go along week by week in my Van Winkled condition I want to see if I feel better or worse. By the time I finish perhaps I will determine what is most important, and healthy, for someone like me to know.