Monday, January 24, 2011

When is too much information too much?

How much are we to know? I mean, let’s think about it; how much information are we suppose to process each day to be fully informed adults?

As for my self, I probably don’t know half of what I should or what society should think I should know. But, it is nice to know Walter Lippmann was in the same boat as me, because in his own words, “I cannot find time to do what is expected of me in the theory of democracy; that is to know what is going on and to have an opinion worth expressing on every question which confronts a self-governing community.”

On any given day, we are supposed to have opinions, on Health Care Reform, explosion in Moscow, the Superbowl contestants, and what outrageous outfit Nicki Minaj stepped out in today. It’s too much, no one person can know this much information all the time, but mass media demands that we do.

What would Lippmann say about our society? He was arguing back in 1925 that our society was already on information overload. He would probably say the same thing he said back then, “ it’s bad enough today…to be condemned to live under the barrage of eclectic information.”

So, what does one do? Do we continue as well always have; selfishly knowing only what concerns us, or do we attempt to know everything to consider society as a whole (less one Nicki Minaj clothing choices)?

For me, I think I will take the advice of Lippmann, “life is too short for the pursuit of omniscience by the counting in a state of nervous excitement of all the leaves on all the trees.”

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