Swiss economist Rolf Dobelli may not be a household name to you, but he is famous across the world for refusing to consume any kind of news.
Last week, he listed 15 reasons to avoid news altogether, citing the fact that it stunts creativity, wastes time and makes us view everything in a superficial way. After a four-year exile from news, Dobelli portrays himself as a recovering drug addict who has managed to eradicate a poisonous habit.
It is unfortunate for Dobelli that his argument preceded the horrific terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon, an abominable act that rightly received worldwide coverage.
Without the harrowing personal accounts, grotesque pictures and fluctuating updates on the pursuit of the bombers, the world would have remained none the wiser to an atrocity which has moved people from Scotland to Switzerland, from China to Croatia.
Presumably Dobelli was blissfully unaware of these events, ambling around with purity of mind as bloodied victims put their lives on the line to help others in need.
He may knowingly point to one of his fifteen commandments – ‘Thou shalt not read news because it reminds us of one’s own passivity’.
Except this is an entirely subjective view. We can choose to be passive to domestic or world events, or we can gain a sense of perspective from them; we can let them pass us by, or we can use them as a platform to volunteer or donate, or to spread the word of injustice.
Reading and watching coverage of fighting in Syria, whilst reading about those who have been hit the hardest by the government’s austerity measures, makes us realise just how lucky we are.
Without a perspective on the world, we become insular creatures meandering inside the claustrophobic bubble of our own insignificant existence.
Dobelli’s radical opinions on news consumption are misplaced, creating a mystical fantasy land where nobody needs to know anything that doesn’t concern them. If the world actually worked like that, we would be in a lot of trouble.
If you want to shut yourself off from everything that is happening around you, denying its inevitable impact on what we think, how we behave and who we look up to, then Rolf Dobelli is right: enjoy your blissful ignorance.
But if life in the real world still satisfies you, then pop the bubble of existence he is trying to create for you.