Hear No Evil, See No Evil.

By Alison September 14, 2007 36 Comments 2 Min Read


To my sisters constant disappointment I never know what is going on in the world.  I don’t watch news programmes,  buy newspapers,  listen to the radio, subscribe to newsfeeds,  join in current affairs discussion, or choose to voice my vastly under-educated political opinion. But the fact is that we live in a fast paced, media driven society and there is  no escaping the stories that seep under the collective skin, no matter how hard we try.

Helen calls it ignorance. I call it choosing not to dwell on the things I cannot change. I call it making my home a sanctuary from acts of unnatural cruelty,  cultural obsessions and basic evil and  I call it choosing contentment over dismay and destructive despair.

For the most part I don’t know and don’t much care what’s going on outside my front door. When my whole country becomes obsessed with searching for the "truth" in media driven circuses,  I want to batten down the hatches and lose myself in something mindless. I want to hold my little boy close to me and never let him go and I want more than ever to keep on teaching him that in a world we cannot change, we have no choice but to make kindness our raison d’etre.

Life is hard enough without allowing ourselves to be consumed by other people’s nightmares, living in fear of mass destruction, or pandering to the whims of the over-inflated ego’s of evil little men or bland uncaring politicians. We don’t have to absorb the opinion of every talking head, read the cobblers all newspapers write to beef up truth where there is only lies, nor even listen to headlines to which our imaginations will bless with all manner of ugliness. We don’t have to make other peoples distress the subject of idle morning gossip, nor use the news as the barometer of our emotions.

We don’t have to. We really don’t. Home should be a haven not a house of horrors.


  1. Madeline says:


  2. Gena says:

    How well timed is this post! I like you very rarely watch the news,never more evident than this morning when I turned up at my building society to be greeted by a mile long line of people, all waiting to close their accounts due to some crisis, which apparently, has been all over the news! the woman in front of me could not believe I knew nothing about it!I felt a bit stupid really,however I probably could have told her word for word what happened on cook yourself thin!

  3. AMEN! I went on a news fast 13 years ago and have seldom seen reason to give it up. If it's truly horrid, we'll hear about it. If it's mostly conjecture and unnecessary, I don't miss it anyway.

  4. Melissa in Georgia says:

    Amen..what we dwell is what we become. I'm all for being aware of suffering and evil, a healthy dose can keep one thankful. But I draw the line when it becomes a hinderence to my joy and mental wellbeing.
    The media is insistent on feeding people as much as they are willing to gobble up..it's up the individual to say I've had enough, thank you!

  5. Holly says:

    I couldn't agree more. I gave up watching, reading and talking about the news years ago. The truely important stuff I end up hearing about and the rest I don't want to.

  6. Sharon S says:

    I worry some of my friends, too, with my decided ignorance of the news. I figure if it's really important, I'll hear about it.
    One of the sweetest testimonials I read on Flylady.net was about this woman whose mother chose to make her home a haven in spite of the dangerous time and place the family was in. They were in enemy territory during WWII and the father was in constant danger. Rather than worry the family to tears with wringing hands, the mother succeeded in giving the children only happy family times, good meals, and making do. The woman who wrote it didn't realize the extent of their danger until adulthood. The family made a very smooth transition from danger to safety and the children were oblivious, except what was obvious.
    I say hurray to you, Alison. You would be just that kind of mother.

  7. Ami says:

    Oh, hear hear!
    I am EXACTLY the same way. My Mother is constantly calling with the Bad News from the TV or some such…and she's always disappointed that I'm not keeping up with things.
    The fact is, I am only interested in the Good News.

  8. Melissa says:

    Bravo!!! I am the same way.

  9. Bravo! So true. I constantly shock people with my complete ignorance of the latest horror. Ignorance IS bliss in some instances.

  10. Ali says:

    Hear, hear!
    Ali x

  11. kelleigh says:

    ..Life is hard enough without allowing ourselves to be consumed by other people's nightmares..
    Resonates with me. Great post!

  12. Jenna says:

    Unfortunately, you can't live in a vacuum. No one says you should become obsessed with all of the ills of the world or allow it to overpower your life. I agree that getting too much news and info isn't healthy. Being informed and becoming buried are two different things.
    But, it is your duty as a thinking, caring human being to try to make the world a better place. If not for your fellow man (or woman), for your son. That means becoming involved in righting some wrongs.
    Obviously you want your home to be a haven but it doesn't have to be an "either – or" situation. You can still become involved in the outside world and make a difference AND have a quite, warm, and safe home.
    Give it a try, you might find out that it isn't all that bad.

  13. Mari says:

    Dearest Alison, I was just like you until society forced me into engaging with it on 12 September last year. This happened to my in-laws: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/ne
    Thank goodness for creative people like you who give us joy and comfort in your blogs, but life is full of conflict, I hope you and your readers never experience it.

  14. Ali says:

    It would help if it wasn't a non stop assault of death and disaster. Who the h*ll wants a daily dose of negativity, week after week.
    What's especially disturbing is what I see as the trend towards bad news as a sort of ghoulish entertainment. Fact-based reporting has been replaced by speculation, gossip and rumour. Whatever sells papers and garners ratings. Its morbid, unnatural and unhealthy. What's worse, if the public didn't lap it, the media wouldn't trowl it out. If I choose not to participate in this Cirque du Ghoul, thats my business.

  15. Gayla says:

    One would think at my age I'd either agree with you or disagree, but I don't. The jury is still out in my soul on this one. I so want to agree, and I so believe in sanctuary of the spirit, soul, home, and mind. But John Donne's meditation 17 rings so deeply inside my core… No man is an island, entire unto himself. Each man's death diminshes me… Never send for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee… Dunno… I will bless your decision with all my heart for you and your lucky little Finley… For me, limbo, as usual. Hugs to dear you!

  16. J. Noall says:

    I struggle with depression and years ago my wonderful psychiatrist told me to quit reading and watching the news! I don't miss it. My husband checks the headlines on the internet and lets me know anything that I need to know. Now, when I overhear news at the gym, or other places I am shocked at the news reporters that report tragedy as a gossip item and show no respect for what the victims are going through. I'm glad I shut off the news. I don't miss it.

  17. Patricia says:

    Dear Alison, I agree with you. I’ve been reading you for about 4 months now, but tonight I’m compelled to write and say – thank you for being there, and speaking your truth. I feel sure that you are not oblivious to life’s horrors – I’ll bet that you are keenly sensitive to them – To cope you find the best of life, and there is plenty of it to remind us of! Thanks for some counter balance – we need it! Best of all I believe, you keep yourself positive, and there, for your sweet son.
    Your fan, Patricia (from Canada)

  18. Patricia says:

    Dear Alison, I agree with you. I've been reading you for about 4 months now, but tonight I'm compelled to write and say – thank you for being there, and speaking your truth. I feel sure that you are not oblivious to life's horrors – I'll bet that you are keenly sensitive to them – To cope you find the best of life, and there is plenty of it to remind us of! Thanks for some counter balance – we need it! Best of all I believe, you keep yourself positive, and there, for your sweet son.
    Your fan, Patricia (from Canada)

  19. Patricia says:

    Sorry bout that twice thing.

  20. I make very conscious choices to NOT watch the news part of the news (just the weather, if I can stay up that late), to only read books that are somehow uplifting, to not read the newspaper, to not engage in political discussions… That's not to say that I'm ignorant of the welfare of our country or that I'm careless as to our state of affairs. I do have a few good friends and I do occassionally engage in listening. I actively choose peace in my home. And that includes the topic of my ex-spouse. If it's going to cause me to stay up worrying, we'll discuss it another day when I'm not quite so fragile concerning that topic. Obviously, there are areas of an immediate nature but those are few and far between. I've found that a moment of thought before a long conversation, saves me much in antacids =) Blessings… Polly

  21. Paris Parfait says:

    I agree that our homes should be our sanctuary and we must try to keep the bad news at bay as much as possible and maintain a calm environment at home, However, we have a responsibility to our children and to our planet to try to change things for the better. After all, who's looking after things while we privileged Westerners are at home in our sanctuaries? What gives us the right to sit and do nothing, while other people (politicians and activists) do all the hard work of trying to make sure we can live in such privilege, comfort and relative safety? I for one don't want my daughter to think she has a birthright of privilege; her birthright also involves hard work, helping others and doing her part in cleaning up the environment. I don't subscribe to the ignorance is bliss theory; I agree with the commenter above who quotes John Donne's "no man is an island, entire of itself…" What happens in one part of the world ultimately affects us all. And if we do nothing to try to right some wrongs, perhaps we get the government/politicians we deserve. The world is in a mess at the moment and if we want a better world for our children, it's up to us to change it, one small act at a time. If not us, then who?

  22. Sally says:

    We still have an obligation as citizens to "watch" our goverment, and, theoretically at least, keep it on a straight and moral course. USA is in such a funk now because of people's refusal to step up as citizens and be informed about world issues. A truly informed citizenry would never have re-elected the Bush gang of war criminals, crooks and liars.

  23. Lisa says:

    WELL SAID!!!! I too do not listen to the garbage either, India Knight wrote a brilliant article extolling much the same ideas as your own in todays Times.
    I started to make a point of routinely ignoring the "news" out of neccesity when my husband was serving in Iraq. He has now thankfully retired yet my habit remains and I have to say, I lead a more serene, calm life as a direct result of this choice. I am not ignorant, far from it, I have made a deliberate choice for the sake of my sanity; like you, for the good of myself and my boy! x

  24. Lynn says:

    You talk such sense Alison (as usual!) I was concerned that I knew nothing of the news so started to watch and just got plain stressed so I am going back to not knowing but feeling better!

  25. Elaine says:

    I can understand your need to media-block when the "if it bleeds it leads" all gets too much – however there is much 'news' that doesn't grab headlines that is good and kind – you just need to turn to pages with double digits to find it. As to living in a world we cannot change – we CAN change things for the better, if by no other means than to speak out against what offends us most and by living considerately.
    Take heart! 🙂

  26. Helen May says:

    I've never called it ignorance, you little monkey!!
    I just believe that it is important to maintain a knowledge of the world around you so you can make sense of the world you live in. Though some of the horrors of the world can be just plain awful to see, we have to accept that they are happening. In this world we all have the opportunity to make the world a better place to live in and being aware of what is around us helps us to do that. Anita Roddick was indeed a formidable and utterly incredible woman – and the main reason for that was that she made a difference in the world – she couldn't have done this without embracing fully the goings on in the world around her. Understanding the world around us helps us to develop empathy and in a way acceptance. Everything in our lives is affected by what is going on in the world around us – mortgage increases, inflation rises, redundancies (and I should know having just been made redundant myself!), education and much much more. I'm all for making the home a spiritual haven for our families, but we are part of a society and there is no escaping that. When our children get a little older we can't shelter them from the horrors of everyday life. But being able to help them to come to terms with it involves us explaining things to them, helping them to get the right perspective and having a view and standpoint on issues which help them to formulate their own opinions and ultimately shape their place in society.

  27. cd&m says:

    I'm so with you on this one, I choose not to watch the news, I really don't want such graphic pain, suffering and fear in my home.

  28. Jayne says:

    I know what you're saying, but I can't agree. If you ignore the news you risk being ignorant of others' suffering. How else would we hear about issues such as Darfur? Sometimes I find the weight of it all really pulling me down emotionally and then I know I have to pull back for a while, but like it or not I think we all have a duty to know what's going on around us and not just leave it all up to 'someone else' to sort it.

  29. Sue says:

    I totally agree with you!

  30. Anita says:

    Because elections in the US are just choosing the lesser of several evils, I see no reason to even care which "politician" is in control…
    I do, however, have a favorite this year, for the first time in years…
    Otherwise I agree, too much negative coming into one's life makes a person edgy, agitated, and negative… Sometimes even paranoid…

  31. Thea says:

    Greetings from Colorado and amen sister! I agree 100% Reminds me of the Chinese proverb: If there is peace in the home there will be peace in the person, the world etc….. It's gotta start with each individual. And if everyone came from a happy loving home there would be far less crime and atrosities for the media to swoop down upon anyway. Love your blog. Excellent.

  32. Clare says:

    Oh here, here most definitely – couldn't agree more!

  33. jennicakes says:

    But should a home be a haven for haven's sake? Or should it be a haven *from* something we're aware of, and understand, but have the sense not to effect every waking moment of the day?

  34. Sasha says:

    I read this and, once again, you've put my thoughts into words. I never make a point of watching the news. I do not have daily papers delivered. Any news worth knowing has a way of seeping into our consciousness somehow anyway. I would like to think I have an open mind and a social concience, but when sometimes my own life and that of those I love can take tragic twists and turns, that is all I can cope with at times. I want our home to be a haven we can feel safe and secure in, when all around the world seems to be going mad.

  35. Danielle says:

    I couldn't agree more either. I avoid the news like the plague! It's not good for one's mental health! It used to really annoy me that a certain group of individuals wanted to ram doom and gloom down my throat on an hourly basis, but now I just feel pity for the people in charge of the media. It's very sad that other people's misery has been turned into such a multi-million dollar business. It's not about the truth any more. It's about sensationalism selling papers and boosting viewing figures. They're like vultures swooping in for kill at the latest catastrophe. Life is NOT all bad. The news presents a totally unbalanced view of the world. Who ever said that only bad news is news? So nowadays, rather than getting annoyed with the media, I send them blessings and pray for their enlightenment! I still prefer not to watch it though.

  36. Lindsey says:

    AMEN sista!! My thoughts exactly! If only every parent would feel this way! Could you imagine? Our children could live normal childhoods without all the extra stress and worry and curiousity about such inhumane and cruel things and not strive to be what they saw or heard on tv …gasp! Kids need to be kids and let the naive and curiousity come out in play and not from the news which makes the world seem too scary to even grow up in for them! Thank you for this post 🙂

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