My Chrissy Teigen Moment
by Ploum on 2022-09-29
I have no idea who Chrissy Teigen is and I’m not interested to know. As Saayaa put it, it’s the whole point of calling this kind of moment : realizing you have missed some news and that you are happy about it!
Mine was at the start of 2019. At the end of 2018, I decided to spend three months without any social media nor any news website. But let’s put some context first.
I’m a knowledge freak. I want to know it all about everything. All the time. As soon as I learn about a subject that I didn’t know previously, I will spend at least one hour exploring it, reading wikipedia pages about it just to get a big picture of said subject, trying to find a reference book and ordering it.
This makes me an awful human to hang out with because as soon as someone speak about a subject I either know better than him about it or, given a couple of hours, will soon know. It may sounds pretentious but I’ve been very rarely at fault there. Most people are so bad with knowledge that they can pretend to have a passion about a subject for years and not even know the basics I would learn in one hour. That’s said, I’ve learned to respect people that have real-life experiences because they know stuff I could never learn by reading. Or people who are deeply obsessed about a subject and have read more books than me about said subject. The rest of the time, I’ve learned to fake ignorance to pretend being a human.
This condition explains why I’m so sensible to news. News are full of new stuff while being really bad at explaining them. So, for each news, I would do some research to understand it better than the journalist who wrote it. Even for subjects I’m not interested in.
As I kid, I liked football and was a fan of Anderlecht, a popular team in Belgium. Football is the most popular sport in my country. Growing up, I lost interest for that sport and, instead, became more interested by cyclism, being a cyclist myself. But, on most belgian websites, you can’t have cyclism news without seeing football news. This means that, subconsciously, I was aware of most of the things happening in the football world. This led me to weird situation were football fans started to discuss around me and I realized that, most of the time, I knew more than they were. Imagine : they were watching the games on television, they were watching endless discussion on tv between "experts in talking about 22 guys throwing a ball on a field" and, without even being interested by the subject, without ever watching television or videos, I had more knowledge (which said a lot about the power of reading and the weakness of videos).
My first disconnection happpened in the last quarter of 2018. I’ve written a lot about it on my blog. The funny bit is that I thought that I didn’t miss anything important, demonstrating that news were worthless.
Early 2019, as I felt back into an highly connected state, I saw multiple reference to the Belgium Football team losing a final against Switzerland.
I didn’t understand. I mean, even being disconnected, I knew there was no world cup nor euro. I read about "Nation’s League" but what was this thing?
So I started to investigate and I realized that there was a whole new international football competition I had never heard of and that Belgium went to the final. This is quite a big news and I managed to miss it completely.
And you know what? I was proud. I had managed to not know it all. This was so relaxing to realize that I didn’t burden my brain with that knowledge. A true Chrissy Teigen moment.
In restrospect, this was probably not my first moment. The month before, during a family reunion, my parents started to talk about the "Gilets jaunes" in France. I didn’t knew what it was. They told me it was all around the news. I asked them to explain what it was. And I really enjoyed their explanations because I was listenning about a subject I didn’t know about. A very rare experience for me.
War in Ukraine
Another moment came this year in April. My wife went home distressed because everybody was panic buying iodium pills at the pharmacy. I quickly broken my disconnection rule to see if there was some nuclear accident. There was none so I ignored it.
A few days later, as I was walking to a store, I saw the newspapers on the stand. They were talking about the ongoing war in Ukraine. It seems that my wife and I were the only one in town not knowing about that war. We learned about it several days after everyone (we don’t have television) and it was fine not knowing.
All those examples demonstrated that the huge majority of the news has absolutely no impact on your life. Even a not-so-far war. You don’t need to be informed. But it’s really hard to not be informed.
Not being informed is now a luxury. We have a body built to resist starvation and a brain adapted to the rarity of information. Too much food led to an obesity crisis. The same happens for information. But you can control the food your ingest. You are never forced to eat. On the opposite, we are forced to know. Bad quality and highly processed information (fast-info) is forced into our brain. Not knowing is like organic eating : a pricey luxury.
Not knowing feels so good…