By Alyssa Fountain, Guest writer

If the eyes are the windows to the soul, surely what we watch must give us a clue about what we really hold dear. Social media and the newest trends all clamor for our attention, but we are deeper people than that. At some point we all need to know what is going on in the world so we can engage with it.

Miley Cyrus has won the attention of almost every TV-watching, Internet-surfing person out there after her VMA performance. It was incredibly shocking, slightly horrifying and demeaning, but what is worse is that she took up almost every stage while other things happened worldwide.

Four days before Miley Cyrus’ performance, the Syrian government used chemical weapons on its own citizens. During that week, the U.S. government debated about going to war with Syria.

In the weeks that have followed, militants have killed multiple people in the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, the American government went into a “Shutdown” and Venezuela has threatened three U.S. diplomats, accusing them of plotting to overthrow the government.

We have to ask ourselves what is so intriguing about Miley Cyrus and other celebrities that cause us to not worry about life-or-death situations.

At Pacific Lutheran University we have so many chances to engage the world, but we do not choose to do so very often.

We, as humans, like to spend our energy on things that we can relate to. We crave information on something that applies to us, to our generation or to someone we grew up with.

Most of us do not think on a worldwide scale simply because we don’t understand what is happening. Moreover, we are afraid to confront the reality of the state of our government, or even to process the concept of a child victim of chemical warfare.

This response, while understandable, is something I discourage. Even though it hurts more to look at victims of war, it will lead to a greater empathy with our fellow humans.

Though it is taxing to try to understand a government shutdown, it is necessary to know where our world today stands.

Miley Cyrus captured everyone’s attention for good reason. Yet while that happened, the world kept turning and atrocities occurred. At the end of the day, it is your choice on whether or not to keep up with what is most shocking to your taste buds or the flavor of the whole meal.

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