"In the news today ..."
Instinctively we watch and listen - we attend to the news - because our survival once depended on it.
And over thousands of generations we are conditioned to attend to what we perceive as 'new', for in 'newness' there may be something to fear, something threatening.
"In the news today ... " the train crash, the murder, the bomb blast, whatever, first grabs our attention and then, with the help of our super-honed neurology, ignites a fractal of a thousand thousand trajectories in mere nanoseconds.
Neurochemicals gush and pool, muscles tighten, capillaries, arteries and air tracts pulse open and shut.
Murder, mayhem and tragedy embellished with HD and Dolby, chilling close-up and micro-analysis, every hour on the hour. Vicarious impact registering again and again. Initially this reaction is similar for each of us, then different.
Most viewers or listeners grok that the 'news' is a 'sleight-of-hand', that the news is not really of immediate concern, it's not really happening to them.
And so they soon relax as does their neurology. In military terms, their systems 'stand down'.
But some do not interpret the trickery and perceive an aspect of the story as 'real'. They don't stand down and, over time, anxiety grows and depletes the body's natural capacity for restoration.
They may eventually start to depress about the world they perceive through the news.
And what if you're a young child and your mind doesn't yet have the capacity to discern the artifice of TV and radio news?
Then you perceive the train crash, the murder, the bomb blast, whatever, as deeply frightening. Repeatedly. And your neurology responds accordingly, forming new synaptic paths that are re-accessed repeatedly. And over time, your growing mind is shaped by a new normal that's not normal at all.
"Stay tuned. There's more news coming your way next hour."
(Let's do something about this - please sign the ChooseNews petition)