Entry: The Devil is in the Distractions 2012.12.31



The Internet, academia, and 24-hour news are highly effective tools of Satan. A deluge of disparate clouds of unfiltered data creates cognitive noise. The intent of which is to inform, yet functions more effectively to distract us from events in life that have personal impact. The siren song of the 21st century is data, stimuli, input, in whatever forms they take. What is referred to as "The Information Age" can more accurately be called "The Data Age". Information comes from critical analysis of data. We get lots of data, which we mistakenly regard as information.

If we accept as ubiquitous this flood of data, the most important skill an individual can develop is the ability to distinguish what is true, necessary, and relevant from the superfluous. I would argue that a staggering majority of our daily data input is superfluous.
If this cognitive wheat-from-chaff skill is not developed, our executive functioning is impaired. This is a neuro-psychological fact, called cognitive overload. This phenomenon can also pervade on a societal level, not from a structural or organic malfunction, but from that simple, easily understood concept of capacity.  Like a mental traffic jam, too many cars and not enough road.

So what is the solution? I would argue that the steps are equally simple; less input, or more capacity. It is in our best interest to work towards developing habits that accomplish both in various measures. Simplifying life to decrease input, while devising strategies to increase our capacity to discriminate, store, analyze, and retrieve the information that is relevant. So if you’re looking for a New Year’s resolution, how about limiting exposure to 24-hour news channels and regular exercise. That's how we thrive. My apologies to our ever present punditry,(of which I might now include myself...odd)your services will be decreasing in necessity.


For everyone who freaked a little at my Independent Baptist opening sentence, feel free to replace "Satan" with your own nominal term for instrument of personal and social destruction. I chose Satan, but you may prefer "Evil","The Devil","Beelzebub","Lucifer", or "The Government / Corporations / Military-Industrial Complex", my premise remains.


While composing this I was listening to:

No music my boys were watching

The Dark Knight


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