Crepuscular rays at Rufford Park

The Human Condition

I woke this morning and, my first thought was how dark it looked. Rain is forecast and the whole day is looking gloomy.

Then I thought of the building collapse in Florida, which, to be honest, I had not thought about for days. That is the very definition of horror and tragedy to me – you are at home, where you expect everything to be safe, and suddenly it collapses. A week later, people like me have mainly forgotten.

The same, of course, applies to other, similar collapses. It’s only a couple of months ago that a building collapsed in Gaza, though that was caused by air attack rather than by accident. I’d forgotten about that too.

I’m not sure if it is just me, because I took a decision not to watch the news some years ago, or whether it’s a true for other people too. Am I so callous that this sort of thing passes me by, or are all humans made the same way? If I were to be honest I would say that I have enough to worry about without taking on the worries of other people too.

According to one report, 56 children were killed in Gaza by Israeli bombing. That’s the equivalent of roughly two classes of kids, or four junior rugby teams, who are now dead. If they were from Nottingham I would be very upset about it. If they were in America, I wouldn’t be surprised, or particularly upset, because school shootings happen and unless someone British is shot they don’t usually make our news. In the Middle East I’m never surprised what they do. I gave up trying to follow the politics years ago and as discussing it puts me in danger of appearing anti-Muslim or anti-Semitic I am going to leave it there.

Meanwhile, it’s likely that around 1,900 children will be killed or seriously injured in road accidents in the UK this year. I didn’t even think of that until I started to write this post. We all have cars, so 1,900 kids are clearly an acceptable loss compared to bus travel.

So, callousness, ignorance, insularity, selfishness or a defence mechanism? Why is it that we don’t bother about these things? Or is it just me?


17 thoughts on “The Human Condition

  1. Clare Pooley

    This is an extremely interesting post (with some very amusing comments). We don’t watch the news either as Richard said he was sick of the bias of certain news-stations. He reads news-feeds on his phone instead but I seem to miss out on news altogether because I spend very little time on my phone, I’m cooking during the early evening news slots and otherwise engaged later in the evening. I only hear the headlines on the radio rarely. I get an update from my mother who listens to Radio 4 all day but she can’t always remember the details :D. She then goes on to tell me all the things that have gone wrong in her house and garden that need putting right and so disasters and deaths that have happened elsewhere get put to one side. As others have said, we have to deal with stuff that is close to home first and there is only so much compassion/anger/frustration we can feel. Those people who spend all their time dealing with the poor and needy elsewhere are often castigated for ignoring their own families. We can’t win if we have active consciences.

  2. tootlepedal

    As far as I can see, the only answer apart from not reading or watching the news, is to resolve to vote in a better class of government which has some interest in making the world a better place. We are not doing very well at that at the moment.

    As far as road accidents go, you make a pertinent point. Some people who drive regularly think that cycling is dangerous but it kills remarkably few people.

  3. Lavinia Ross

    I think Laurie said it best. And I do think there is only so much bad news that can be mentally processed at one time. We are inundated from many sources with bad news these days.

  4. LA

    Everyone has an agenda. But everyone’s agenda is different. So everyone has different tragedies that they put first in their list, and we play the “mine is better than yours” game. No one realizes it’s really tic tax toe…

  5. Laurie Graves

    I think it is natural to really care about those who are closest to us, either physically or emotionally. But as your post illustrates so well, our care and concern does ripple out to those who are not near. I think we might go crazy if we were had the same passionate concern about everyone.

  6. derrickjknight

    Perhaps it doesn’t apply to you if you don’t watch the news, but for me it is overkill (no pun intended). When I was commuting back home to Newark and noticed many laptops tuned in to the twin towers attack, I thought it was just another disaster movie. Excellent header picture


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