You don’t have to look very far to find things that are wrong with the world today. Just a few minutes watching the news or scrolling through social media is enough to make anyone wonder if the world is coming apart at the seams. But are we seeing the bigger picture?
An article featured in BBC entitled Psychology: Why bad news dominates the headlines poses the question, “Why are newspapers and TV broadcasts filled with disaster, corruption and incompetence? It may be because we’re drawn to depressing stories without realizing it . . . there’s some evidence that people respond quicker to negative words. In lab experiments, flash the word “cancer”, “bomb” or “war” up at someone and they can hit a button in response quicker than if that word is “baby”, “smile” or “fun” (despite these pleasant words being slightly more common).”
In a world where media companies are paid by the click, getting people to hit a button quicker by triggering a negative emotional response can directly impact revenue. As bestselling author Max Brooks puts it, “Fear is the most basic emotion we have. Fear is primal. Fear sells.” The unfortunate consequence of this is becoming more and more prevalent. Many people today harbor an unhealthy obsession with negative news and divisive commentary. But what happens when we shift our focus from the bad to the beautiful?
While photographing for National Geographic, Dewitt Jones learned to see the world through a different lens. He documents the experience in his acclaimed short film Celebrate What’s Right with the World. In the film, Jones highlights the corporate vision of National Geographic as they seek to demonstrate the beauty of life visually. “When I was growing up, I used to hold that maxim: I won’t believe it until I see it. Yet the more I shot for Geographic the more I realized that I had it backwards. That the way it really works is, I won’t see it till I believe it. That’s the way life works. Well, I believed it, I believed the vision of the Geographic and the more I did the more I’d see it in everything.”
In her book Steps to Christ, author and health pioneer Ellen White makes a similar observation: “Nature and revelation alike testify of God’s love. Our Father in heaven is the source of life, of wisdom and of joy. Look at the wonderful and beautiful things of nature. Think of their marvelous adaptation to the needs and happiness, not only of man, but of all living creatures. The sunshine and the rain, that gladden and refresh the earth, the hills and seas and plains, all speak to us of the Creator’s love.“
“Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things.” – Philippians 4:8
The world is full of beauty if we choose to see it. “The more I shot for the Geographic,” Dewitt Jones reflects, “the more I realized what a powerful force our vision can be. As I celebrated what was right with the world, I began to build a vision of possibility, not scarcity . . . a vision that showed me that no matter how bleak and desolate, no matter how dry and devoid of possibilities a situation might seem, that if I was open to it, I could always find a perspective that would transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.”
“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” – Michelangelo
How we choose to see the world is a crucial element of CREATION Life. Our Outlook is constructed one action and thought at a time. For better or worse, our perception controls our reality. By focusing on the good, by celebrating what’s right with the world, we can begin to see possibilities rather than problems and discover opportunities rather than obstacles.
Written by Joshua Morton