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     My neighbor stopped in this morning for coffee while I was watching CNN reports about the latest in Japan. She knew nothing of it and said "I heard some ladies talking about an earthquake but I thought it was in California or somewhere."  I was stunned by her lack of information but, in thinking about it later, I found myself surprised at my own thinking about her. The truth is, she doesn't need to be aware. This knowledge has no effect on her life one way or the other, and there is nothing she can do change the situation in Japan. So why bother paying any attention at all?  To my friend, and to many others of us, a bigger, more immediate and understandable tragedy, might be the closing of the neighborhood Safeway store.

     So, my question this morning is: "Why do we, as a group, seem to gobble up this type of information as if it were candy in a bowl?   When there is no obvious or immediate benefit from knowing, why do we want to know?"

     I have a theory or two of my own but I would really like to hear your thoughts.

Michael

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We can't help if we don't know about it.  Some people like to help others whether they are in their neighborhood or not.  It unites us as a species.

I'm also thinking that watching the reactions of our legislators, our celebrities and ourselves gives us insight in helping us make decisions in the future. 

Naivete is comfortable...but it is isolating.

Just because something happens on the other side of the world, doesn't mean it doesn't effect each and eveyone of us. Uprisings in the Arab world had an immediate effect on oil prices. If your neighbor drives a car, it has an effect on her. A bad winter crop of coffee in South America effects prices everywhere from that Safeway, to Starbucks, to the mom and pop cafe down the street. If your neighbor drinks coffee or eats out, there is an effect. The sunami that devestated Japan, also caused millions of dollars of damage along the California coast. If your neighbor's insurance company does business in California, It may have an effect on her premiums no matter where she lives. The concerns over the Japanese nuclear reactors has already caused concerns over the safety of our own reactors. We will probably spend untold millions of dollars now studying the safety of our reactors, and that will come out of the pocket of every taxpayer in the country.

Just my 2 cents worth.

TeeBubbaDee, I agree with what you've said but would it be any different if you didn't know about it?
No Bob, not actually. But that being said, I like to know the reasons for things that do effect my life. I admit it, I am a CNN junky. But if I never watched TV or read a newspaper, I would hope that I would be curious why gas prices rose 37 cents last month. Heck, the tranportation costs alone may be part of the reason why the Safeway is closing. We live in a global economy, and things very far from our shores have an impact on our everyday lives. The turmoil in Lybia, has already drawn us into another conflict by the US backing the no fly zone. Yes, France seems to be stepping up to the plate, but I want to know how deeply our military is going to be involved. Even if it a very limited involvement, I still want to know how much farther our military forces are going to be stretched. I guess I don't NEED to know, but I feel that I want to know, because ultimately, it will have an effect on me and mine.
No one is an island. We cannot exist in a mindless vacuum. We need to "know" if for no other reason than to be able to communicate on an intelligent level with other folks.
So, my question this morning is: "Why do we, as a group, seem to gobble up this type of information as if it were candy in a bowl? When there is no obvious or immediate benefit from knowing, why do we want to know?"

It broadens our minds. It reinforces our senses of compassion and empathy. It allows us to care. Perhaps it’s a sad way to learn, but we learn from those types of events.

If one has no interest in those things, then not knowing is okay, I guess...
I want to know what's happening in the world.  Who knows, perhaps there is something I could do, even if it is just to pray/think about those who are affected.

I'm put off by "Why do we, as a group, seem to gobble up this type of information as if it were candy in a bowl? " 

First off, who is "we, as a group"?  Are you including all of humanity or just who would be reading this question?

There are some personalities who are just not capable of thinking outside of their own small, self defined world.   They have no social concept of anything beyond what their immediate needs are.  So be it.  I just hope they are in the minority and I will not ever have to be sequestered in any form of society with the likes of them.

I have always wanted and needed to know what is happening on our planet.  There may be maps on paper but that means nothing when there events that flow across borders...when human lives are devastated by nature or by the unnatural affects of human decision.

I may be one voice but maybe this voice can help..or make a difference.

Knowledge is power.

Well said......as usual, Jaylee.

Sheesh everyone. It seemed a simple question when I wrote it. The idea was to hear your thoughts on why human beings are so attracted to topics over which we have no control, and from which we receive no obvious benefit.  I could have substituted 'celebrity scandals' or any number of other 'headline' topics.

In my case, I'm try to keep tabs on what's happening in the world because the kind of people who don't want us to know what's going on, are generally not acting in our best interests. The conservative furor over Wikileaks is a pertinent example.

 

At the same time, there are those who simply come from a completely different background than do the rest of us, and their life experiences are under no obligation to resemble or to relate to ours. I work with a woman, roughly my age, intelligent, professional, educated, born and raised in America, who a few years ago briefly amazed me when she blurted out that she had absolutely no idea who Bob Dylan was. Until the subject of ticket sales for his upcoming appearance was brought up, to her knowledge she had never heard his name before in her entire life.

 

Does that make her less of a person, less of an American, less of anything? Was she in any way "wasting" her free & open society-guaranteed access to free information? Of course not. It doesn't even make her "uninformed" or "out of the loop". It just makes her a person who came from a different background than I did, which does not make my background special or "normal" or any better or worse than hers.

 

People who can not grasp that basic fact of human existence have no business criticizing or passing judgment on anybody else in the world, or working in a field where their views are allowed to impact anyone but themselves.  Those who would insist on being allowed to do so should probably be watched very closely. They will calmly make decisions that will potentially cause great harm to anybody that lives outside of their own personal field of reference.

 

Keeping an eye on folks like that is as good a reason to stay informed as any other reason I can think of.

Excellent Snagg! Thanks for taking the time.

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