Stuart Brand Quote: The Only News

A thought against the daily onslaught of political news (never mind the weather, local crime, and traffic accidents that comprise the everyday local TV news) — in the big picture of human history (and progress), almost none of that matters; and in the little picture of your life, very little of it matters. You can step away from it for days or weeks at a time, and live your life, and it will go on, without being affected in any way by that ‘news’. It’s not that the ‘media’ is biased or has some agenda; it’s that the media’s job is to attract viewers, and thus to alert you about what’s unusual, what’s different, whether or not it has any true relevance to the big, or little, picture.

In that John Brockman book I mentioned several posts ago, I came across this quote, from Stuart Brand (famously editor of the Whole Earth Catalog):

Science is the only news. When you scan a news portal or magazine, all the human interest stuff is the same old he-said-she-said, the politics and economics the same cyclical dramas, the fashions a pathetic illusion of newness; even the technology is predictable if you know the science behind it. Human nature doesn’t change much; science does, and the change accrues, altering the world irreversibly.

Science is news because it changes humanity’s perception of itself and of the universe it resides within. This is why the daily news includes what amounts to political and religious figures trying to deny this changing perception, in order to maintain their political and social advantage. Obvious examples are left as an exercise for the reader.

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