We shouldn't pride ourselves because we aren't injecting something to our veins. Almost certainly, we are doing something with equal commitment. We're checking news at four minute intervals, to keep the news from ourselves at bay. We're doing sport, exhausting our bodies in the hope of not having to hear from our minds. We're using work to get away from the true internal work we're shirking. The most compelling addictions can sound very righteous to the world.

In a short few sentences, I think, this text is telling us that:

Addiction is not just about drug addicts, and if we look very carefully at our lives, we ourselves are also, somehow, addicts.

But I cannot understand what the author means by these examples:

"checking news" (what's wrong with checking news?)

What does it mean? "to keep the news from ourselves at bay." I know what keep/hold something at bay means, it means to prevent something dangerous or unpleasant from happening or from coming too close. But checking news doesn't sound very dangerous or unpleasant.

Or what's not true about doing sport or using work?

It's totally confusing.

  • Well, I think there is nothing wrong with checking news, the problem is when this habit turns into addiction and you repeat this action at short intervals (again and again)
    – helen
    Sep 6, 2018 at 10:31

2 Answers 2


Your general sense of the text is correct. It is stating that some of the things we do on a daily basis to an extent is an addition, and it provides several examples, including checking the news, playing sports, and working.

"News from ourselves"

The "news from ourselves" is a play on words to present a direct contrast of news in the traditional sense of the word. Since news is usually never good news, "News" in this context could be interpreted as the types of problems we have in our personal lives. In other words, we watch the news so we don't have to think about the bad news happening in our daily lives. At least this is my interpretation.

“We're using work to get away from the true internal work we're shirking.”

Again, reusing the same word with different meanings. Work is traditionally meant to mean our job, but it also means a task or duty. Therefore "true internal work" could be interpreted as the duty to be reflective and self-improve.

Apparently the word I'm looking for is polysemes. This text has plenty of polysemes in it. :)

  • One possible interpretation, and that's amazing, how fast!.
    – a.RR
    Sep 6, 2018 at 10:29

It is common for self-help books (in the US, at least) to speak of the process of addressing and conquering one's own emotional and psychological issues as "work".

You are progressing with your abandonment issues but you still have a lot of work to do.

The "news from ourselves" is a figurative phrase, intended to be clever in the context of "news addiction", and it would mean "what our hearts are trying to tell us". You can substitute "minds" or "subconscious minds" for "hearts" there.

Addiction to news is a way of "shirking" or avoiding the "internal work" we have to do, the work we must do with respect to our own psyches, our own "issues".

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