This blog follows that published on Saturday 26th February.
I want you to cast your mind back fifty thousand years. No, I know none of us is that old, but I want you to imagine.
Then and now, we were and are anatomically identical. Then, we lived in small tribes of 30 – 50 and mostly related only to our own tribe. Evidence suggests we interacted with other tribes up to 200 miles away and we may have engaged in larger inter-tribe celebrations.
Back then, it would have taken at least a day’s travel to reach the next tribe, and a week’s walking to reach that big meeting. It would not have been a frequent event, and any big news would take a long time to reach your tribe.
Fast forward to just a thousand years ago. According to the Domesday Book, we lived in villages of 100 – 250, or in market towns of maybe 2,000 people.
A thousand years ago, your market town might have been five miles away. Beasts were driven to market every week, and you would have gone to town only to buy those things your village could not provide. The daily commute was a thing of the future: if you worked in the town, then you lived in the town. You knew the news of your town or village, but anything from further away would be gleaned once a week in the market square.
I grew up in the sixties and seventies on an isolated farm. Our nearest village, of 253 inhabitants, was a mile and a half away. All the news of the village was gathered and exchanged in the village shop. The bus ran to the nearest market town on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and everyone knew who would be on it and why. On the way back, town news would be shared.
The difference between my village in 1086, when the Domesday Book was compiled, and 1969, was the radio. The radio brought the conflict of Vietnam onto the dinner table and directly into farm life. I was six, and terrified: I thought Vietnam was just down the road.
In many ways, our human thinking is fifty thousand years old. We relate immediately to our tribe, and more distantly to those outside that tribe.
Thanks to social media, our tribe can now be scattered around the world, but it is still small, because that is all our emotional settings can cope with.
The news brings disaster - and it always is disaster - directly into our life as if it were to into our tribe; we are constantly bombarded with worldwide news, and we are not designed for it.
Some of us manage to put up emotional barriers and some of us cannot.
I cannot, and therefore choose not to listen to or watch the news. If you are like me, then there is no shame in doing likewise. In fact, it may be for the best.
A Moodscope member.