Is it rational thinking to actively follow news? A democracy does not work as it should unless its citizens don't stay updated on all current events therefore media exists to make it easier for as to gain knowledge regarding current events. In my matriculation exam in civic studies in the Spring of 2016 I wrote about the shadowside of democracy which is that the activity of individuals plays a highly important part within the system. If you don't know who to vote for and what these people stand for you might not feel the need to vote because you feel as you don't have enough knowledge to do so. But voting and voting for the person whom accurately will be able to represent your needs and values is the key to a well functioning democracy. On the other hand from a philosophical perspective: the more knowledge you gain about current events of the world the more you will start to feel overwhelmed and conserned and based on my observations this generally leads to two kinds of reactions:
1. Activation and involvement. A person makes the connection and wants to improve and important issue to them or someone else or a group that they feel a connection towards. The person takes action and becomes an active and voting citizen and maybe even a political figure of some sort.
2. The person feels anxious and depressed by current events and tries to avoid them and anything related to them at any cost. The pressure to do something becomes too heavy to bare.
My question is: how do we get more people to react like the first example rather than the second one?
When one searches for answers future brings possibilities and history clues to solutions. Plato e.g. explained that human behaviour flows from 3 sources: desire, emotion and knowledge. If we would solve our question with the help of the knowledge gained from Plato we can draw the conclusion that if we know humans in this case citizens well we can make them behave in a way that is both beneficial for them as individuals but also to society at large. The first thing Plato mentiones is desire. If a person has a burning desire to change something for the better they will feel inner motivation to do so and that leads to action which is crucial. A active citizen may feel emotionally connected to certain values and empathy towards others which will act as a guide when the person has made the connection towards action. Last but not least: in order for a person to actually take the intiative and inspire others to follow their lead they must have knowledge about how to act, inspire and talk to others as they present their personal order of action and solution also they must know enough about the topic they are presenting in order to even present it so that their point will be understood by others.
In other words: We must bring out the importance of political activity for individuals by telling them how and why they should act and be able to present them the benefits of their action as well as the consequenses if they do not contribute.
If we again look at a person who feels anxious after reading the daily newspaper only to discover depressing truths about the state of the world we notice a certain pattern in thinking. If a human sees a large issue they feel small along side it which makes them feel as incapable of taking action: because they feel so small. But yet this is an active individual, they read the news exactly as they should. Therefore the news has to read the person. By reading a person I mean that we constantly need to remind people on how and why they can and should contribute. Why not list all methods on contribution in every newspaper to remind everyone that action and solutions always are possible and that anyone should and can be a part of them. Spread a bit of optimism among the realism!
Have a great beginning of 2018 and may all your goals be accomplished this year!