Saturday, March 6, 2010

Information Addiction

We can all agree that the internet has changed everything. Communication, entertainment, and research have each become incredibly more convenient since the advent of wi-fi. For better or worse, gone are the days of turning pages in encyclopedias, using a TV Guide, and mailing letters. However, when everything is at your fingertips and simply waiting for a URL to zing you off to sights unseen, the novelty of the little things is trampled. There are pleasures to be had in putting pen to paper, or aimlessly leafing through a dictionary. Now the experience been reduced to frantic Googling to secure the information you want as fast as humanly possible. The process has become so slight and so streamlined, that I've found myself reading entire articles and processing nothing.

This is partly due to impatience on my part. I've always considered myself an impatient person, and while I've had internet access nearly my entire life, dial-up internet imparts a degree of restraint on a developing mind. It wasn't until broadband internet and wi-fi became prevalent that my inner information glutton evolved. Today, I sigh when a Youtube video is longer than a minute long, and I read more box-scores than Op-Eds. I use Google Reader to aggregate interesting websites into a sickening buffet of information that I can consume as efficiently as possible. It is troubling, and I'm working on it.

Regrettably, blogging has probably exacerbated this phenomenon, but in many ways it forces me to focus and practice measured writing and pacing. At the same time, I have no such poise when thinking of things to write about. The whole thing resembles an ouroboros.

This restlessness is no longer an internet-contained phenomenon. I drive too fast, check my watch 20 minutes (and every subsequent 20 minutes) into a movie, and wonder out loud why anyone writes songs longer than 4 minutes. I have my phone set to check my email every fifteen minutes, stock quotes every hour, and software updates instantaneously. I'll probably never make a pot roast, a turkey, or any incarnation of slow-roasted barbecue. I rarely sleep more than 7 hours and I resent even sleeping that much.

I could argue that I'm simply interested in many things, and that there is no harm in that, which would be true if I was deriving as much pleasure out of these things as I should be. But I'm not, as the preceding paragraph has explained. So now I've established the problem, what steps am I taking to remedy it?

Well, for starter's I'm drinking tea. I'm also running a lot, and reading a lot (full chapter books!). When I do these things, I am doing only these things (mostly). This is in stark contrast to the normal cerebral whirlwind. I've done more crossword puzzles, and casually research Yoga. I've read philosophy to understand belief systems larger than myself and to gain perspective. Little things, but it's helping. Maybe I'll fall off the wagon and read Wikipedia until 3am, but I haven't been on hipinion today and I'm ok with that. That has to count for something.

1 comment:

  1. I suggest we do more camping/outdoor activities where we don't bring our cell phones, or at least don't check them