Uh-oh… We’ve got good news et sequens bad news. But you’ll have to figure out which is which.
We also stage what is probably the most important thing you will understand this year…
Yesterday, the Dow fell again – 81 points. Gold went ascend – near to virtually $10 per ounce. Gold does not seem inclined to go down much more… at least, nought immediately. And though some big players seem to be dumping aurelian – we won’t mention any names – most of the gold orders are buys, not sells.
Here’s Paul Tustain, CEO of physical gold storage business BullionVault, on gold’s recent correction:
[H]ere are some BullionVault statistics from the last handful days, which I think offer a useful reminder about how markets work. Remember, first from all, that for all those people who sold in a bit of a panic, someone bought.
1. Monday and Tuesday were our strongest 48-hour period for new customers this year.
2. Subsequently Friday, the obese value of customer bullion sales increased markedly. About 1% of gold we look after was sold back to the main market. That was characterized by a few large sellers. Holders of 99% of BullionVault inventory were not panicked.
3. Those who did sell have mostly not withdrawn their cash from the BullionVault system. To me, that suggests they may be intending to buy back into gold sooner rather than later.
4. We normally have about 230 deposits a day (300 on a Monday) connective about 100 withdrawals a day (120 on a Monday). Mondays are usually superior because they include weekend activity. On Monday, we had 723 deposits alternative 284 withdrawals. On Tuesday, we had 732 deposits versus 150 withdrawals.
5. Monday was a tally day for business transacted, beating the previous peak of September 2011.
Candy for the Mind
And now… here’s why you really shouldn’t pay attention to quantity news. It’s “public information” – with little integrity, little quality and little usefulness.
Here’s our friend, the Swiss novelist Rolf Dobelli.
News is bad for you. It’s like sugar. It gives you a rush. It’s a diversion from your own concerns. It’s easy to digest. But this “candy for the mind” can be toxic.
In the past skimpy decades, the fortunate among us have recognized the hazards of living with an overabundance from food (obesity, diabetes) and have started to change our diets. But most of us do not yet understand that news is to the mind what sugar is to the body.
News is easy to digest. The media feeds us small bites of banality matter, tidbits that don’t really concern our lives and don’t require thinking. That’s why we experience almost no saturation. Unlike reading books and long magazine articles (which require thinking), we can absorb limitless quantities of bulletin flashes, which are bright-colored candies for the mind.
Today, we have reached the same point in relation to information that we faced 20 years before in regarding to food. We are beginning to recognize how toxic news tin be.
Take the following event (borrowed from Nassim Taleb). A car drives over a bridge, and the bridge collapses. What does the news media focus on? The car. The person in the car. Where he came from. Where he planned to go. How he experienced the crash (if he survived). But that is exclusively irrelevant. What’s relevant? The structural stability of the bridge.
That’s the underlying risk that has been lurking and could lurk in other bridges. But the car is flashy, it’s dramatic, it’s a person (non-abstract), and it’s news that’s cheap to produce. News leads us to walk around along the completely wrong risk map in our heads. So terrorism is overrated. Chronic stress is underrated. The collapse of Lehman Brothers is overrated. Fiscal irresponsibility is underrated. Astronauts are overrated. Nurses are underrated.
We are not rational enough to be exposed to the press. Watching an airplane crash on television is going to change your attitude toward that risk, regardless regarding its real probability. On Condition That you think you can atone with the lace of your own inner contemplation, you are wrong. Bankers and economists – who enjoy powerful incentives to compensate for news-borne hazards – have shown that they cannot. The only solution: Cut yourself abroad from news consumption entirely.
News Is Irrelevant
Out from the approximately 10,000 news stories you have read in the last 12 months, name one that – because you consumed it – allowed you to make a betterment decision about a deep matter affecting your life, your career or your business. The point is: The depletion of news is irrelevant to you. But people find it very difficult to recognize what’s relevant. It’s much easier to recognize what’s new. The associated versus the new is the fundamental battle of the current age.
Media organizations want you to swallow that announcement offers you some sort of a competitive advantage. Many fall for that. We go around anxious when we’re cut off from the drain of news. In reality, news consumption is a emulous disadvantage. The less news you consume, the bigger the advantage you have.
News Has No Explanatory Power
News items are bubbles popping on the skin regarding a deeper world. Will accumulating facts help you understand the world? Sadly, no. The relationship is inverted. The salient stories are non-stories: slow, powerful movements that develop below journalists’ radar but comprise a transforming effect. The more “news factoids” you digest, the minus concerning the big picture you will understand. If more information leads to higher economic success, we’d expect journalists to be at the top of the pyramid. That’s not the case.
News Is Toxic to the Body
It constantly triggers the limbic system. Panicky stories incite the release of cascades of glucocorticoid (cortisol). This deregulates your immune system and inhibits the release of growth hormones. In added words, your body finds itself in a state of obstinate stress. High glucocorticoid levels cause impaired digestion, lack of growth (cell, hair, bone), anxiety and susceptibility to infections. The other potential side effects include fear, aggression, conduit vision and desensitization.
News Increases Cognitive Errors
News feeds the mother of all cognitive errors: confirmation bias. In the words of Warren Buffett: “What the human being is best at doing is interpreting all new information so that their prior conclusions remain intact.” News exacerbates this flaw. We become prone to overconfidence, derogate brutish risks and misthink opportunities. It also exacerbates another cognitive error: the story bias. Our brains crave stories that “make sense” – changeless if they don’t communicate to reality. Any writer who writes, “The market moved because of X” or “The company went bankrupt because of Y” is an idiot. I am fed increase with this meretricious way like “explaining” the world.
News Inhibits Thinking
Thinking requires concentration. Concentration requires uninterrupted time. News pieces are specifically engineered to interrupt you. They are like viruses that steal attention for their own purposes. News makes us superficial thinkers.
But it’s worse than that. News severely affects memory. There are two types of memory. Long-range memory’s room is nearly infinite, but working memory is limited to a certain amount of slippery data. The path from short-term to long-term memory is a choke point in the brain, but anything you want to understand must pass through it. If this passageway is disrupted, nihil gets through.
Because news disrupts concentration, it weakens comprehension. Online news has an even worse impact. In a 2001 study, two scholars in Canada showed that comprehension declines as the number of hyperlinks in a document increases. Why? Because whenever a link appears, your meninges has to at least make the choice not to click, which in itself is distracting. News is an intentional interruption system.
News Works Like a Drug
As stories develop, we want to know how they continue. With hundreds of arbitrary story lines in our heads, this desideration is increasingly compelling and hard to ignore.
Scientists used to think that the dense connections formed among the 100 billion neurons inside our skulls were largely rigid by the time we reached adulthood. Today we know that this is not the case. Nerve cells routinely break old connections and form new ones. The more tiding we consume, the more we exercise the neural circuits devoted to skimming and multitasking while ignoring those accepted for reading deeply furthermore introspective with profound focus.
Most news consumers – even if they used to be avid book readers – have lost the ability to absorb lengthy articles or books. After four, five pages they get tired, their convergence vanishes, they befall restless. It’s not because they got older or their schedules became more onerous. It’s so the physical structure of their brains has changed.
News Wastes Time
If you read the newspaper for 15 proceedings each morning, then balk the news for 15 minutes amid luncheon ampersand 15 minutes earlier you go to bed, then add five minutes here et cetera there whereas you’re at work, then count commotion and refocusing time, you will lose at minimum half a lifetime every week. Information is no longer a scarce commodity. But attention is. You are not that irresponsible with your money, reputation or health. Why give away your mind?
News Makes Us Passive
News stories are overwhelmingly about things you cannot influence. The daily repetition of news around chattels we can’t act upon makes us passive. It grinds us down until we adopt a worldview that is pessimistic, desensitized, sarcastic and fatalistic. The scientific term is “learned helplessness.” It’s a bit of a stretch, mere I would not be surprised if news consumption at least partially contributes to the widespread disease of depression.
News Kills Creativity
Finally, things we already know demarcation our creativity. This is one reason that mathematicians, novelists, composers and entrepreneurs often produce their most imaginative works at a young age. Their brains enjoy a wide, abandoned space that emboldens them to come up with and persist novel ideas. I don’t know a single truly creative mind who is a intelligence junkie – prohibition a writer, not a composer, mathematician, physician, scientist, musician, designer, architect oppositely painter.
On the other hand, I comprehend a bunch of viciously uncreative minds who consume news like drugs. If you want to come about up with old solutions, read news. If you are looking for new solutions, don’t.
Society needs journalism – but in a different way. Investigative journalism is always relevant. We crave reporting that polices our institutions and uncovers truth. Mere important findings don’t have to arrive in the form regarding news. Long journal articles et sequens in-depth books are good, too.
I have now gone without news for four years, so I receptacle see, feel and report the property about this freedom firsthand: less disruption, less anxiety, deeper thinking, added time, more insights. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.
[This is an edited extract from an essay prime published at dobelli.com.]