Topic: Overload Alert
“Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.” — Gertrude Stein
Do you agree?
Ok, I admit it. I’m a Millennial. Yes, I constantly check my phone. And when I say constantly, I mean in increments of every 15 minutes or less. I’m completely addicted to it. But, how can you not be addicted? We now have a powerhouse of information right at our fingertips. We can instantaneously find correct information, with processes that are oversimplified and, honestly, our search never requires much thought. But, is this something we should embrace? Are we even using common sense to make decisions or absorb the information?
What’s the capital of Sri Lanka? Google it. What’s the best way to wear my booties? Look it up on Pinterest. Should I keep renting, or save to purchase a home? Scroll through the listing on Zillow. Heaven forbid my phone’s battery is below 5%, and there is no plug in site. It’s amazing how quickly I can find one!
When did I become this person that relies solely on that little device in my hand?
Let’s say I Google some word I need to define, maybe spell it phonetically – as I often do – only to be taken to the wrong answer. In my haste, I would have no clue that result was incorrect nor take the time to double check my facts. How does that commercial go? Meet my new boyfriend. I found him on the internet, and he’s French. They can’t put anything on the internet that isn’t true. Hmmm…
I even catch myself not processing information when I’m checking the time. I will look at my phone, and put it down, only to pick it right back up because I was just going through the motions. I still will have no idea what time of the day it is, and have to recheck.
Am I ever even thinking about what I am reading in my news feed scrolls? I saw a news headline the other day, and instead of making my own decision about what they were reporting, I clicked on the article to see what their opinions were. What did they think? I was looking for an opinion in a news source, which is supposed to be unbiased.
How have I become someone who is told what to think?
But why think? The answers are supposed to be right there for me. Easy, and no thought required. Why do we need to use our common sense, when we can find the answers we need at that moment just as quickly? Who has time to think about anything?
When I saw this prompt, I immediately started thinking about Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 459. Do you guys remember that book? The society began to accept the way things were. Whether they were overworked or over involved, they no longer had time to read or even question anything. Books became available only in abridged forms because people just did not have time to read them; and then books are outlawed altogether and firemen were hired to just burn them. I need to go back and reread this book. I’m sure with my recap you agree. But, it challenges the reader to ponder this same question.
Through this prompt, I just discovered another book I want to read too. This quote was what really got my attention: “Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski,” in What The Internet is Doing to our Brains – by Nicholas Carr.
After much thought on this topic, I still have hope. Our society must make a conscious effort to use reasoning in our daily thoughts and reactions. We just have to let our minds work and interact with those that are like us, as well as those that are not. It’s the only way we can make informed decisions that support both our minds and our hearts.
I know that even as a Millennial I still have hope, because I will always ask why. It’s my favorite question.
And yes, I probably will still Google it too, just for backup.