Blood in the water, sharks circling

Edahn Golan

Hardly anything trumps bad news, especially if it’s full of blood and gore. Everyone rubbernecks to see the damage when passing a car accident. Serious twisted wreckage makes us slow down even more to get a longer look at the disaster.

Bad news is great, especially for a news outlet. A terrorist attack drives traffic to news sites like nothing else. Some of it is concern and worry, no doubt, but the need to be horrified is still a leading motivation.  There is no finger pointing here. I’m annoyed by those ahead of me slowing traffic as they pass by an accident, but I too can’t help but twist my neck around to assess the twisted steel. Bad news headlines grab my attention faster than good news.

This column has had its fair share of bad news. The closer to home the story – knowing the people involved – the more attention it attracts. The juicier the details, the fancier the blood splatters, the gorier the carnage, the further the shock is carried. Everyone loves those details, but we don’t like admitting it; at least not publicly or widely.

Columns dealing with ethics attract less readership than the more scandalous stories. While they have a small whiff of blood, after all ethics addresses bad news, they lack the full-blown effect of a juicy topic.

We are sharks in sheepskin. Not wolves, trying to fool the flock that we are something else, but sharks, circling, on the scent of blood. The more blood in the water, the more decisive the reaction on our part. The sheepskin is not to get us closer to the victims, but to dress our conscience when looking in the mirror, and that is the mechanism that we need to examine.

Ethics are boring, gray and take the fun out of something far more interesting; therefore talk about ethics is too easily ignored. It may seem counterintuitive, but the “do good” calls, with less attention, still generate more feedback.

Clearly, the thirst for blood is built into our system, just as benevolence is part of us. Sniffing for blood keeps us alive and happy; benevolence pulls us up and ahead. It is what leads us to improve as a society. The duality is there, so there is no need to deny it, but we should consider the balance between them. This is an internal struggle; at times Sisyphean, but external events force us to face it.

The ongoing ethical issues surrounding the diamond industry, for example, are not just “issues,” they are our collective face. The reflection from the mirror that we must see, the growing barrier between supply and consumption, the widening divide between creating and making a living from the creations. We should not flinch. If we do, we will be the blood in the water that attracts the sharks.

Source Idexonline