Society’s obsession with negativity diminishes our sense of hope

El McCabe


Our society seems to be obsessed with negativity. All news channels are packed with stories about violence, deaths, or even the latest celebrity scandal that portrays only the worst aspects of humankind. Due to the surplus of these types of stories, citizens become desensitized and unaware of the subconscious impact this mindset has on their daily lives.

Focusing so heavily on the negative paints a hopeless picture for the state of mankind. When all you hear about is Syria on the news and climate change melting the ice caps in Antarctica, you are much less likely to attempt to change something in society. It appears to be a daunting and insurmountable task to promote positive change in our world, and as a result of all the negative, many do not even attempt to try. Even those who do actually benefit society and raise awareness have their stories overshadowed by news stations, which are solely concerned with their ratings. It comes down to the fact that people crave to hear the “juicy” information, and that is what sells.

An important question to consider is who is more at fault, the media or the viewers and readers? If the media companies are simply giving consumers what they want, how can we blame them for society’s negative outlook? On the other hand, does the overflow of negative stories discussed by the media desensitize citizens to the harmful effects it has on their mental outlook? I do not have a concrete answer for this “chicken or the egg” dilemma. What is certain is that both the media and mankind feed off of each other, and the negativity will keep increasing until something breaks. This phenomenon is seen often in the celebrity world, where stars try to “out do” each other in terms of embarrassing themselves and gaining negative attention. For example, Miley Cyrus’ performance at the VMA’s did exactly what she wanted. It elicited reactions worldwide. It did not matter to her how others viewed her performance; the fact that the whole world saw it was all that mattered. This mentality is unfortunately shared by everyone, from celebrities to editors-in-chief to regular Joe’s, and you better bet there are consequences.

If this negative mentality continues to thrive, adults and children will never be fully satisfied with their lives. I expect more people to go to prison, steal, lie, cheat, and be unhappy with themselves as time goes on, because they have been bombarded with images and messages that the world is not a good place. A lifetime of these messages adds up, and I am sure that society’s negative mentality has already altered the lives of millions. Changes in this mentality shift will be slow and gradual, but will truly do wonders for the human quality of life.

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