How we invest our time matters. It tells people what we actually claim is important. There’s a difference between what we say is important and what we actually do. What we do telegraphs to everyone what is actually important to us.
When you spend time with your significant other and constantly look at your phone, you are telegraphing to that person that the phone is more important than the person you are with – or rather that potentially someone else more interesting is more important than the person you supposedly care very deeply about. Where we spend our attention is like purchasing importance.
This goes beyond individual relationships. Imagine if we took the time we spend on politics and devoted it to something else? Maybe service of our neighbors, or someone in need around us. Or what if we spent that time with our families? Or maybe our church or place of worship? Or personal growth, or working, or exercising, or cooking really good food, or walking your dog, or just going for a walk, or running, or reading, or sleeping?
All of those are much better uses of time than the ridiculous volume of time, emotion, and attention that we invest ourselves in politics. I’m not arguing that politics is worthless and should be ignored. But seriously, with our 24-hour news cycle, there really isn’t all that much actual news – most of it is fabricated fighting over things that don’t matter.
Here’s what politics ultimately is – a fight over who has power. A fight over who is right. A fight over who gets to determine what rules are made. A fight over who the bad guys are. A fight over who gets to spend other people’s money. A fight over things you always thought there was common agreement for but now we aren’t so sure about that common agreement anymore.
Or do we invest as much time in politics because we are bored or afraid – bored with our lives or afraid to examine our lives? Maybe. Maybe our politics has become more entertainment than serious policy moves. Regardless, most of the time we can skip most of the “news.” It really isn’t news at all. It’s anxiety development.