There is too much information in this world. And I know that seems like a ridiculous thing to say but in some ways it is not and it is the reason why we are unfulfilled, overwhelmed and confused.
And I wonder if anybody else feels like this?
I always feel I am trying to catch up with this constant flow of information. That there is a need to keep up with it all. A feeling that responding is necessary otherwise one is seen as not being in the know (of your field).
Perhaps it is not that there is too much information in terms of actually providing necessary content but something else. And here is what I’ve noticed. It is all the same of the same. I can’t tell you how many articles are telling me exactly the same thing.
It is clear to me I have a capacity. It takes me a bit of time to absorb and understand really what is being communicated. I then have to think about this information, mixing it with what I am already aware of and reflect on how I understand and feel about it. I prefer thinking rather than reacting. I am learning to slow down and not always have a reply and say I need to think about it.
There are some other things I have noticed about all this information that isn’t necessarily helping us. The reality that we are told one thing today and then another the next day, often contradicting. When I look at the environmental discourse I see this as a hindrance to action. A friend told me a little while ago that she is happy to make behavioural changes that are better for the environment but she it is unclear where to start, what is right, and so on. And I totally agree. People want clear, consistent and truthful information.
Plastic is bad but so is cotton. Ban plastic straw and replace with paper, but paper pulp mills are one of the top pollutant industries in the world. Don’t eat meat but eat water guzzling almonds. And on and on….
In addition, the feeling of missing out on information is a paralysing outcome of all this. We don’t want to admit that we haven’t read the latest or that we haven’t even heard about what’s been happening. We shame and embarrass people fro not having heard or read about something. We push everything as if everything is a need to know. But it is not.
And this feeling of too much information is related to the ‘is anybody listening’ article I wrote because I think having too much information is leading us to no longer listen.
I have taken an active choosing. What do I need to know? What do I want to know? What information will not change my life? What information will? And always, what is the other side of the information?
And I wonder…if we truly pooled together the information how much more we could actually do. This got me thinking of how I would like to find information.
I had a crazy thought (and perhaps, as always, it’s already been shared or even exists). A centralised internet library one that has categories.
As I was listening to a radio episode about plastic recycling, I looked up the company mentioned. Loved it. For a while, a question about recycling sea plastic has been on my mind so I searched for it in this company’s community threads. I found the answer to my question. But then I kept going. I realised, this really clear and useful information needs to be hunted down, it’s not easily found. I also realised that most probably this information exists multiple times on the web. I find it sad how we aren’t pooling together all this information to make it actually useful.
I truly believe we have all the solutions we need, but often they are not where we are looking.
Imagine you have a plastic category. Then you have sub-sections listing everything about:
- how plastic is made.
- used and exposed plastic.
- recycling plastic.
And so on.
I don’t know I just think there needs to be some organisation of the information so that we can actually find and use it.
And perhaps this does already exist but has fallen victim to the algorithm judges and that is a whole other article.