I have just finished deleting all the news feeds from both my My Yahoo! and iGoogle homepages. I have also unsubscribed to The New York Times Select service and will no longer be getting emails from The Atlanta Journal and Constitution.
In other words, I'm done.
Keeping abreast of current events is widely held to be wise and good. My mother's favorite pastime was pouring over the day's newspaper from stem-to-stern. She'd also make sure she watched both the local and national news programs at 6pm, and the local again at 11pm. She got these habits from her father, and there is no way of knowing how far back the tradition goes.
But not any more.
My readings of the Taoist sages Lao Tse and Chuang Tse have long since taught me the futility of keeping up with current events, and I have to say that keeping up with the news has done nothing to make me happier or wiser. Writing politically minded essays has done nothing for me or the world. It's all bombast and word games.
The simple truth is that people's minds can't be changed. They are going to believe what they are going to believe. Arguments and rationality do nothing.
The only hope lies in art. A decent piece of art aims not at the head, but at the gut and the heart. A good work of art can change a person not by changing their politics, whatever that really means, but by opening their heart in compassion and engaging their sympathy and their humanity.
And so I go forth as an artist, avoiding the temporal and trying to understand the eternal. I have no idea what effect this might have on this blog. Maybe it will improve it. I have no plans to kill it quite yet, though.
I'll see you on the other side.