Everyone who has read "The Illuminatus Trilogy" knows about the fnords. Wikipedia explains this far better than I can:
In these novels, the interjection "fnord" is given hypnotic power over the unenlightened. Under the Illuminati program, children in grade school are taught to be unable to consciously see the word "fnord". For the rest of their lives, every appearance of the word subconsciously generates a feeling of uneasiness and confusion, and prevents rational consideration of the subject. This results in a perpetual low-grade state of fear in the populace. The government acts on the premise that a fearful populace keeps them in power.
Lately, I feel as if the fnords must be strong and well-used. Because even a glance at the news (which is constantly on the TV, muted, where I work) brings me into a state of upset and agitation. This sucks, because if you know me, you know I thrive on reading about certain kinds of current events, especially those having to do with religion and cults, equal rights, and "News of the Weird" type things. But, I also like to be generally conversant in what the hell is going on in the world, even though I will be the first to admit there's a lot of shit, especially about politics and economics, that I don't understand. It is the duty of a denizen of this planet to participate by not choosing to be ignorant of the hard truths of the world. To choose to be ignorant, to choose to turn away from any news, no matter how bleak, is a crime of the soul -- one in which you are basically saying to the world, "My peace of mind is more important than this terrible thing which is occurring to other living beings".
Unfortunately, it has come to the point where this is literally damaging me. It leads me to abysmal moods and dark melancholy, wherein I brood and stew over the world's dilemmas, the nature of man's inhumanity to man, and the ultimate unworthiness for 99% of us to exist.
My former therapist recommended I just stop watching the news. That's...not so easy in this day and age. You can't read facebook or livejournal without being bombarded by links filled with horrors and crimes and hate and corruption. Well, then, perhaps I should stay away from social media, and reddit, and never watch television. But, how can I do that? To sever these things is to sever one's connection to friends and family, these days. I might become less existentially depressed, but then I'd have no friends, and loneliness would put me right back into that inky abyss.
(As an aside, I can't see this therapist anymore. Because she did some things I consider immoral. But, that's a different entry. Nonetheless, her actions just again re-confirm my beliefs that most people are not worth the amazing gift of existence.)
Steven and I got into an argument about my media consumption habits, even. "Stop reading sad things! That's why you're always sad. You already know people are nasty, ignorant, hateful, bigots, so why do you keep going back to confirm this?" I tried to explain, but it didn't come across as even vaguely coherent, because as eloquent as I might attempt to be on the internet, in RL, I am hard-pressed to string together simple sentences half the time. "Well, at the very least, quit sending these links to me. I already know how idiotic everyone is. And I don't need to be reminded constantly."
So, I don't know what to do about this whole "News Ennui". Surely it's a First World Problem, and not something someone living in Afghanistan would even deign to consider as a "problem". But, the stress is strong. My doctor prescribed klonopin after several panic attacks and breakdowns. Is that really the answer? Shouldn't the answer be that this SHOULD make us upset and stressed out? Because the shit that's happening is fucking terrifying! But, how can I continue my day to day life feeling like the next chunk of data might have me bursting into tears?
The only thing you can do is to turn away. To say, "That shit's not my problem. I don't want to know." That one phrase, "I don't want to know", is the one which leads to ignorance. And how can anyone who embraces ignorance claim to be seeking an enlightened nature for themselves?
It's a damn puzzle. A real damn puzzle. And I just don't know. But, every day the fnords get stronger. And every day, my walls get sanded just a little thinner.