Monday, October 25, 2010


Courtesy Allen Young

After many years of studying all kinds of diet fads from low carb to high carb to fat free to the cave man diet, the secret to losing weight has finally been verified and it boils down to the rather obvious solution of either reducing caloric intake or increasing calorie burning (exercise) or both.  I have been wondering if that same principle might be applied to the information we take in as well.  What happens to our brains when we get too much information?  I have recently found it increasingly hard to keep up with the handful of blogs and online discussions that I am a part of, as well as the RSS reader, my podcast subscriptions, the 5-10 books I may be reading at any given moment in addition to all the other noise and clatter from TV, cell phones, and radio.   Sometimes I think I am suffering from a bad case of Too Much Information.  It’s not that the information is bad or not useful it’s just that, like the food we consume, at some point my brain can’t do much with it and it just turns to mental flab.  I think I need to either go on an information diet or start setting aside more time to write so that I can turn this flab into mental muscle.

On my days off I am fond of sitting on my back porch with my pipe and a good book however lately I have found that I don’t even want to read because the sound of the birds and the wind through the trees is just too beautiful and serene to mess up with the words of people.  So I’ve been doing a lot of sitting and staring and getting quiet when I get the chance.  When the noise outside fades I can finally truly hear again.

The apostle Paul once wrote, “Knowledge puffs up but love builds up.”  I’m a big fan of knowledge and information but without love, without connection, without action they ten to leave me a little bloated. 

So here’s a couple of questions:
  • Do you feel like you are sometimes drowning in a sea of Too Much Information?
  • How do you turn your mental flab into something of substance?
  • Do you ever find it helpful to cut back on your intake of information?


steve said...

I definitely suffer on occasion from information overload, but I call it data overload. The difference being that data is useless information whereas information actually feeds the mind. It's the difference between junk food and real food.

It is always helpful to cutback on the inputs and just enjoy the beauty of the world in everything we see. I turn the regular TV off, turn the regular radio off. I read my news online and read the books that I want to read, I watch what I want when I want, and will feed my mind instead of poison it. My two cents. Good day.

Crispin Schroeder said...

I love that distinction you put between data and information. That's a great way to look at it.

Pi Man said...

I absolutely feel overload from reading, studying, analyzing, and the overload of opinion, not to mention the non-stop advertising as well as propaganda. Sometimes I just have to take a break, and I hope this doesn't come out wrong, but even from "spiritual" matters in the sense that I allow to many things/people pull me in too many directions. So, I literally cut back those obligations, learn to say "no" more often, and take small breaks from all forms of media, until I recharge, regroup, and can focus again on what is really important in life. And more and more I'm seeing that that is lovingly dealing with what's within my so called "circle of influence," as their is always something there if I'm willing to open my eyes. Nice observations, Bro. Thanks. TA

steven hamilton said...

"with my pipe and a good book" too! if and when we ever gather together, i'm bringing my pipe!

Crispin Schroeder said...

Sounds like a plan Steven!