Dark reading counters the inspiration we need

Kseniya Walcot Enlarge photo

Kseniya Walcot

Sifting through the articles of online newspapers, I read headlines that entail topics about drug cartels, murder, theft, bribery and the like. I suddenly switch to a different website, with yet another set of intriguing headlines and realize our culture enjoys enveloping itself in a dark mind-set.

The results remain prevalent not only in our media publications, but also in the activities which we partake in for pleasure. The Hunger Games (an incredible series), movies and books describing zombie apocalypses, and the recent year-round talk of vampires and werewolves, makes me wonder if weíre pessimistic or just plain fascinated by the worlds we may not see or understand.

A variety of individuals read these types of literature and journalism. Some read for knowledge about the current crimes going on to protect themselves and their families. Others read because they know the characters presented in the reading (vampires, werewolves and zombies) donít exist, but an apocalypse or societal disorder, is possible. We fear instability, and after enduring the hardships of a brutal economic recession, that fear isnít a silly monster in the closet, but a tangible, real concept.

The gloomy literature could be our special coping mechanism, which our time especially developed to ease realityís bite developing an escape from the turmoil of our lives. I theorize the primary animalistic instinct of physical escape made itself dormant and in its place, we let our minds create a need for a mental escape.

But just how healthy is our concept of escape?

Reading the articles that contain the dark mind-set could damage our outlook on challenging situations, as we set ourselves to think the characters left their problems behind by running, so why canít I? Itís a hopeless situation, so why bother? We put ourselves at risk of conditioning ourselves to be cowards or quitters who essentially wonít do anything to change what seems to be a grim future.

Or readers could derive from the strongest, most diligent characters in a series their sense of perseverance and learn an escape is a temporary fix for any conflict, and eventually, we must face our problems head on, before they take on a life of their own.

As our country slowly recovers and bounces back from the effects of the economic recession, (yes, I am that optimistic), I feel like we donít need this dark, depressing literature. Instead, we should be picking up pieces that portray hope in a clearer light and offer optimism for the future because without a certain amount of optimism, we have no future. Personally, I would much prefer reading about the latest in medicinal and technological breakthroughs to reading about a competition where children kill each other over resources.

We are as big as we feel, and with every passing event, Americaís attitude towards itself fluctuates, according to how we condition ourselves to feel about our country and its future.

Line up the facts of our time versus that of previous centuries. We have medical technology that allows us to effectively treat and cure certain diseases, and while medicine is always a work in progress, the medications scientists are constantly improving may lead to hope for the sick and better public health.

Awareness of the environment makes the inhabitants of our time more vigilant over threats to the fragile ecosystems of our planet and through novel political policies, we are constantly striving towards a safer and more intact planet to live on.

Educators also realize the educational system in America is in need of a major makeover, so they are doing something about it. This change is currently underway in our community through Durango High Schoolís small learning communities, a relatively new development that integrates what the student is learning with what they want to gain from their educational experience.

Sure, our time is rigged with economic changes and social trends that may not have been prevalent during previous decades, but why not define the new millennia by becoming comfortable with these changes, and if we donít like the changes, obtain optimism from the power we have to modify them to our liking in order to create the bright future we are capable of.

Itís time to get our heads out of the mud puddle of the pessimism offered by low-spirited literature, and seek works and articles that have the potential to truly inspire positive transformation.

Kseniya Walcott is an advertisement editor and journalist at El Diablo, the Durango High School student newspaper. Her parents are Leo and Yana Walcott of Durango.