I used to subscribe to the Economist.
I was inspired by conversations with Greg Wolff, and his ability to discuss global happenings and policy ramifications in ways that made me feel young, inexperienced and incompetent. I asked him for help, and he suggested reading the Economist regularly.
I followed up on his suggestion, and subscribed. For about two years, I read the Economist with near religious fervor. My knowledge grew. I was able to talk about world policies, events and economies, tragedies and triumphs as I was never expecting, couldn't predict and thrilled about. I started to understand the reasons behind policies, the fears of economic problems and excitement of developments outside of my usual areas of interest.
However (is there always a downside to every good side?), I also became aware of the world in ways I couldn't have predicted. I knew about conflicts in Darfur long before it was politically vogue to talk about them. I learned about the dangers of Myanmar and the upheaval happening in that part of the world. I worried about the economic shifts occurring globally.
And that knowledge caused a downward spiral.
I knew about the conflicts. I knew about the wars. I knew about the upheavals, the problems, the issues. I understood just how devastating the policies of the village idiot in the United States government was, and how badly the average citizen was going to fare in the upcoming years.
I read, and I understood, until the knowledge was too painful.
And I stopped.
My Economist magazines grew in an unread pile. The realization of the world's suffering and being unable to stop it, unable to change the course, impotent against the tidal wave of disaster overwhelming this world (my, my, overly dramatic today, eh?) caused a mental shutdown, and I wanted to be like the average American: obvlious to the outside world, small in the small cocoon of existance, not knowing and not caring for the outside world.
Except that knowledge once gained never really goes away. You can't pretend you don't know once that link has been made.
I'm going to subscribe to the Economist again. Maybe I'll be able to drink from the firehouse again, maybe I won't. But half knowledge is worse than no knowledge, and I want to know again. Maybe I can figure out a good balance, maybe I can't. Of course, having the magazine in portable, electronic format would be most ideal.
Does the Economist come in Kindle or Sony reader format?
Does anyone local want to share a subscription?