MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “non-fiction”

Push the button

petergriffin - do not push buttonLife can change in an instant. It is at those moments you realise how short time is. How little you spend truly appreciating things that are important, and actually living. It is in those instants that you suddenly awake at the thought that you spend too many moments overthinking and worrying about things that won’t matter later on.

An instant is all it takes for the world to change.

In an age where technology has evolved to the extent that it connects people across countries, continents, oceans, time zones with just a click of a button, anything is possible. At any moment. In just an instant.

In our daily lives we are constantly pushing buttons. Some are in the form of switches, like the one you press to turn the light on or off. Some buttons start our cars, open doors, turn on the cooker / boiler, launch our computers/ tablets / phones. Things that we nowadays take for granted and happen automatically.

But what happens if we push the wrong button? If suddenly – in an instant – we mistakenly erase important data that we can’t recover? It is in that instant that time freezes. It is then that we realise how much power a simple button has, and how much we have entered an automated mode that we often do things – press buttons – without really considering the consequences.

We live life on full speed and when things get a bit out of hand we panic, we feel lost and desperate. It is not about the speed with which we do things. It’s about the buttons we push and the impact they will have on our lives. Even if it is just one button. The implications may be huge. Just think that a bomb – any type of – can explode at the simple push of one button.

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Journalism Under Fire

https://static.kent.ac.uk/nexus/ems/116.jpgJournalism is printing what someone else does not want printed; everything else is public relations”. George Orwell’s quote, today more than ever, remains relevant, at a time when media and control over them has become a highly controversial issue, mainly due to the ethics involved. Because, while journalism should, ideally, be objective and free of political affiliations, nowadays, the newsroom is dominated by the ominous shadow of advertising revenue. In a period when almost everything has been affected by the financial crisis, media – the people’s source of information – are searching for sources of income, while at the same time competing against social media and the plurality of free news.

How then can we distinguish the truth in what we read? And how can we dismiss ‘fake news’?

This was the topic of a very interesting discussion held in Athens in the context of the New York Times Athens Democracy Forum, hosted by the journalistic platforms Oikomedia and Hostwriter. The aim was to examine why Media have come under Suspicion and how journalism can regain public faith. Five guest speakers from international media participated: Serge Schmemann (New York Times), Philip Faigle (#D17, Zeit online), Simon Wilson (BBC Brussels), Prune Antoine (freelance journalist) and Tasos Telloglou (Skai TV/ Kathimerini).

The prevailing view, shared by many journalists and citizens alike, is that the observation of how real life unfolds is absent from many media reports today, mainly because of the rising trend of ‘opinionated journalism’. This trends sees the inclusion of a commentary, with the reporter him/herself often expressing a view on the story reported. But that is not what the role of the journalist is supposed to be, nor what the point of journalism is. It is supposed to be about the clear, undeterred, fair and objective presentation of facts that have been thoroughly researched and presented as is. Journalism is the means to make heard as many voices involved in a story as possible, and to cause, through that, the audience’s critical thought, so that citizens themselves may launch a public debate on the matter. In an era of rapid technological evolution, media outlets are perfectly positioned to become platforms promoting such active public discussion.

Instead, citizens increasingly turn against media, viewing them with suspicion and distrust and accusing them of transmitting ‘fake news’ and siding with any one political group. As such, it is not strange that, especially in Greece, citizens do not trust the media, and in fact increasingly tend to avoid the news. The 2017 annual Digital News Report by the Reuters Institute for Journalism revealed that Greeks have the lowest rate globally in trusting media with only 23% (compared to, for example, 62% recorded in Finland, the highest rate). Greece is also the only country in the world that believes social media do a better job in separating fact from fiction than traditional news media (28% vs 19%). In addition, over half the respondents (57%) in Greece and Turkey are avoiding the news, compared with fewer than one in ten in Japan (6%). One of the main reasons for this ‘media avoidance’ may very well be all the ‘negative’ news constantly broadcast, regarding the economy, politics, corruption, accidents, war, bloody conflicts and terrorism attacks around the world. News that not only contribute to increasing fear and agony for a future that is already blurred, but also result in further dampening an already low morale and bad psychological state. Consequently, people prefer not to know, endorsing that ‘ignorance is bliss’.

But in all this, how much are the journalists themselves to blame? Are they not asking the right questions? Are they presenting news out of context, indeed causing misinformation? Is the need for higher revenue placing at risk not only the independence of the organism but also its credibility as a source of objective and truthful facts? Press freedom is not only about the pluralism of views, but also about their presentation as facts, without editorialisation.

Journalism should be about opening questions not answering them. The journalist’s view has no place in the story they are reporting.

Today’s need to ‘sell more copies’ and ‘record more online views’ has irreparably also affected the quality of journalism. We need to go back to basics, to remember that in order for a fact to be reported correctly, you need to experience and (re)search it as best as possible to make it easier for the reader to comprehend. And most of all, to realise that people want to read about things that concern their lives and that affect them.

There will always be a need for stories. This was broadly acknowledged at the discussion. The main issue, however, is that journalists should never stop striving for their fundamental element: objectivity. And to step away from the uniformity and unanimity that so often characterises news stories today. After all, the mind opens up when it tries to do, see and think something differently. Otherwise, it is not even worth it.

When things go wrong

cat-tigerThings are bound to get rough. It’s a fact of life. Nothing is perfect all the time. There comes a moment when things will go wrong. And sometimes, too many things go wrong for too long. But like Charles R. Swindoll said, “life is 10% what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it”.

There are days when you won’t want to get out of bed, out of fear that something (even more) terrible will happen. Days when you’re overcome by negative thoughts, when you’re convinced that someone cast a spell on you – the neighbour, the person who competes with you for a parking spot, those others who are always jealous of you but hypocritically act as if they’re happy for you. And somehow, your mood drops, you don’t feel like doing anything, seeing anyone or even getting out of the house. Because you know that when one thing goes wrong, a whole lot of others will follow. And they usually do. Something breaks that you can’t fix; your computer gives up on you; you lose your lucky charm that you’ve had for years.

They say there is a reason things happen. You just never find out what it is.

But what you need to force yourself to do is to abandon the negative thoughts. Being negative attracts negativity. And in the same sense, being positive will turn things around. Try to smile and the sun will shine a little brighter. But most of all, surround yourself people who offer more than sympathy. People who will embrace you, look out for you and persuade you that there are things in life worth being grateful for. And if something goes wrong now, it’s because something even better is on its way.

You just have to believe.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Sympathy

Complaining, whining, nagging

http://rbk.h-cdn.co/assets/cm/14/50/548a5ac82c9a3_-_rbk-nagging-0612-1-xln.jpgWe tend to complain. A lot. And the ‘we’ goes to the human species. Because no other animal has the tendency to complain, whine or nag as much as we do.

We often complain so much because we’re too afraid to act. We fear that we might not be able to change circumstances, that there is nothing we can do to make things better. We complain because we don’t believe enough in our own strength and capabilities.

Then again, we too often complain because we feel we deserve better.

We nag because we want things to be done a certain way, usually different to the current one, and we are irritated and agitated if this does not coincide with the notion in our minds.

Motivational speech includes prompts to stop complaining and appreciate things more. To be willing to change and adopt a more positive aspect on life. After all, aren’t optimists the ones who see the glass half-full and a silver lining in everything?

Complaining places you in the position of a victim as it is a sign you do not have control of a situation. It also causes you to waste (valuable) time. Instead, “champions never complain; they are too busy getting better” (John Wooden).

But in the end it all comes down to how good you feel within you and about yourself.

The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything”.

Wait…and then wait some more

https://images.intelligentinvestor.com.au/w827-h465-cfill/Blog_patience.jpgYou can’t force yourself to be inspired. Whatever you’re trying to do, be it to write an article, find a choreography, make a cake, or even go for a walk. If you can’t feel it, you won’t do it.

It’s simply really. Because the more you don’t really want to do something – the more uncertain you feel about it – the less inspired – or rather enthused – about it you will be.

The point is to allow yourself to find that time when you’ll do something not because you have to, but because you want to. There is a difference.

Sometimes you just have to be patient. And then be patient some more.

Things will come when the time is right. And it will all fall into place.

Making a house a home

https://neurosculptinginstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/HOME.jpgHome is not a place it’s a feeling”. It’s the sense you get that you are exactly where you want to be. With the people you want by your side. To create the memories that will last a lifetime. It’s the starting place of love, hope and dreams. It’s your refuge, your retreat, your safe haven. It’s the place where your heart will always be.

It may take bricks to build a house, but it takes so much more to build a home. Perhaps that is why it becomes all the more important when after roaming around countries and houses, you may finally decide on settling somewhere and begin to think longer-term. You start planning for a future without that sense of insecurity of “who knows where I’ll be by then”; when you’ve found where you want to be and want to build a home there.

We are the ones who create the homes we live in. We fill them with love, with dreams, with memories and the longer-term prospects that a beautiful story can start from right there.

Life takes you to unexpected places. Love brings you home”.

The cure of a smile

smile-winkA lot of things can be said about a smile. How everyone smiles in the same language. How it is the shortest distance between two people. How it takes more muscles to frown than to smile. How you never know who might be falling in love with you when you smile. How everything seems so much brighter and more positive when you smile, because it radiates happiness, and in essence that is what we truly need in our lives.

Just think how much better your day starts when you wake up with or next to a smile. It’s the most elegant and attractive feature you can wear. It confuses people who expect you to be upset. Yet it is also contagious, because, really, you can’t hold a grudge against a beautiful smile.

And most of all, the people who can make you smile even when you feel like crying; aren’t they the ones you truly want in your life? They are the ones who know the power and cure that lies with this body curve.

A smile is your most powerful weapon. So wear it often and with confidence.

“Let your smile change the world, not the world change your smile

We fall in love to feel alive

http://static.pblogs.gr/f/341533-myspace.jpgThere is a saying that “the heart has its reasons which reasons knows not” (Blaise Pascal); that sometimes what you feel you want and what you know is rational are incompatible. But the heart is a powerful organ. It’s what keeps us alive.

Maybe we should listen to it more.

The heart has a way of making you feel things deeply, intensely and with full force. It is most evident when the feeling of love is concerned.

Falling in love is a process. One that is both terrifying and wonderful at the same time. One which devours your very being, but completes you to the fullest. It is what takes complete and utter control of you, of every sense and emotion you have.

Like this brilliant article says. “we fall in love not just with a person wholly external to us, but with a fantasy of how that person can fill what is missing from our interior lives”.

We fall in love because we want to feel wanted, desired, attractive, important. Because we need someone to share our experiences with, to make them priceless, to give fun a new meaning. We both want and need that special someone who will be the reason you count down the days for the weekend, and with whom you make plans for the future. That person who will acknowledge your value and won’t hesitate to fight for you. The person who will demonstrate that no matter the tough times you will unavoidably encounter, your relationship will endure, because together is a notion that is always strongest. We fall in love because we need that spark of optimism, of hope, of brightness in our lives.

However, it is true that “all love stories are frustration stories…to fall in love is to be reminded of a frustration you didn’t know you had” (Adam Phillips). “It is as if, oddly, you were waiting for someone but you didn’t know who they were until they arrived”.

The person you fall for is one who subconsciously you had already been expecting. The person who you’ll find you share with so many common habits, beliefs, likes, interests. It’s the person who makes time fly when you’re together and with whom time is never enough.

Love becomes a progressive transformation of an initial infatuation – “that parallel intensity of longing for our lover’s presence and anguishing in her absence”. It is indeed only when you meet that person who clicks with you, that you start missing them when they’re not around, because it is only then that you realise what it is you were longing for.

Love is a constant struggle between enthusiasm and torment, between giving and receiving, between compromising and accepting. But it is the intensity of it all that makes it worthwhile. And ultimately it is the very reason we fall in love, to feel alive.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Together

Also part of Daily Prompt: Passionate

Crash landing

http://media.gettyimages.com/videos/dark-clouds-silhouetted-by-orange-sunset-grenadines-available-in-hd-video-id1B65074_0063?s=640x640Can you see it? That black cloud rapidly approaching. The one you think will bring a shower of rain and will quickly pass. Do you see it? Do you see it turning into a dark blanket covering the valley? It’s the one that won’t go away as quickly as you believe. The one that will stay for days, pouring down and affecting every atom of your being. It’s the same one that will make you feel as if you’ve crash-landed face down after a prolonged period of flying high.

Such clouds usually mark the day after you return from a holiday. When you’ve had the chance to relax, to forget about everything for a while, to turn off phones and social media and just…be. To try and appreciate the nature surrounding us, and connect with people you may hardly see during your hectic daily routine. But just as you’ve grown into this new, calmer and more tranquil, habit, suddenly you have to return to reality.

And that’s when the clouds come along too.

But they become darker once you realise that your expectations of your return are nothing at all like what you actually encounter.

Because life is sometimes too complicated for our own good. It’s filled with questions that will never be answered. With “whys” whose explanation will come when it no longer matters. With dilemmas of whether it is better to have something or not, to painfully know or live in naïve ignorance. They are things we simply can’t control but are forced to deal with and move on.

And that is when the post-holiday blues settle in. It’s when you don’t feel like doing anything. When you master procrastination and postponement taking them to other levels. When you’re overcome with a desire to flee again, because you feel suffocated to have returned so abruptly.

You know that you need to wait out the storm. Because it will all pass. You just need to be patient and show the strength you hide inside of you. We are all much stronger than we know. It usually takes a few dark clouds to make us see that.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Complicated

 

Closing for holiday

https://ronetlcnaptown.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/closed-for-dr-king-day-sign-yellow.jpgIt’s that time of year when you walk around and see “closed” signs all over. With the sun burning and the sea seducing you towards it, even the last remnants in the city are scouring for opportunities to escape, even if just for a few days, maybe even hours.

August has its best and worst moments. The worst is knowing you are among the last of those stuck working in a stifling hot city, having to tolerate all those lavishly flaunting their holidays all over social networks.

The best is that at some point during the month, you too will be found on that other side. Lying on a beach somewhere, with the only stress you have being that you don’t actually have anything to worry about. At least not for those moments.

This is also the best month to do pretty much anything you want – to fall in love, to travel, to pick up a new hobby. Because everything seems so refreshing and light. It’s the month when you regenerate yourself. When you reconsider your life options. When you take time off to relax and review everything in a different perspective. That is when you realise where you stand and where you want to go. When you stop and think about it.

And perhaps that is the best thing with this month. That it gives you the chance to take a break and detox yourself from everything so that when you return you’ll be stronger, more determined and more optimistic that better things lie ahead.

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