We Know Too Much
We are not suffering of lack of information. In fact, exactly the opposite. Main stream channels of television, radio shows, internet shows, email blasts coming to our inbox, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp , SnapChat, and so on tell us more than you ever want to know about “the latest” this or that greater or smaller event, with links to further information (or disinformation).
We are like little rats in a cage made to run around and around to catch the latest only to forget it the next day in our quest for the new “latest” piece of trivial (or not so trivial) news. The media industry including the social media competes for our attention and time. Most of the readers of this article have had the experience of going on one of the above-mentioned sources, only to find themselves hours later still perusing more “information”.
There was an old saying that in order to keep the population occupied and placid you need three things: bread (food) circus, and magic. The media “information” bombardment is part of the circus as most “information” is not worth anything.
What is not immediately obvious is that all this rat-like training – the information-chasing game – we are subjected to (which is nothing more than a stimulus response training) has nothing to do with informing us of much. The name of the game is economics – money! In a video that went viral, the former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya admitted that “we want to psychologically figure out how to manipulate you as fast as possible and then give you back that dopamine hit.” (You can find the link at the end of the article)
Sean Parker, the first president of Facebook admitted publicly that the thought process that went into developing the social media platforms was based on “how do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible. And that means that we need to give you a dopamine hit every once in a while [the ‘likes’ on your posts]”.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine also helps regulate movement and emotional responses, and it enables us not only to see rewards, but to take action to move toward them. Therefore when you post something no matter how inconsequential and you see “likes” on your social media, you get an instant reward (dopamine hit), you feel good, and you do more of the same, oblivious that this action becomes more and more overbearing on your time and energy. Even worse, it leads to addiction. Yes, the same kind of addiction as for drugs, alcohol, porn, or gambling. We don’t realize that this “feel good” and rewarding emotional response is just an unconscious answer to a stimulus to which we react with a knee-jerk reflex. We are oblivious that this response is momentary, and that feeling good in the moment does not enhance or promote our well-being, our intelligence, our success in life or our personal development. So, we continue this chase for the latest piece of “news”, the latest post, and the latest ding on our mobile devices.
We don’t ever stop to look inside ourselves and discover what we really want, dream of and what our path is in life. We don’t look back to learn from our history, we refuse to think and love to feel. Feel good of course, and all the time!
But information for the sake of information is not knowledge. It can lead to knowledge but, to do that, it needs to be sorted out and discriminated correctly by reason and logic, and not by feelings. Sometimes a vital piece of information does not make us feel good but that does not diminish its importance. Do we know how to sort out the essential from the inessential?
The sad truth is that most people have forgotten how to do that. Because the amount of “information” we are barraged with is not giving us the tools to make that discernment. This is not their goal. When monetary “piece of the pie” interest is all there is, the quality of information is irrelevant. Our age of information has almost no relationship to discerning thought. And so, despite the information age we are the most dis-informed and misinformed society since the Middle Ages.
Quantity does not equal quality. And to discern quality from quantity you need critical thought. Oh, forget critical thinking. You need to think!
You will never know everything. In fact the most important information on the internet is not even listed on the first 10 pages of the main search engines. You have to know what to look for. And only when you learn how to discern and think correctly using your mind the way it’s supposed to be used as an instrument for your development, then you can understand and begin to form a modest judgment.
No-one can ever know everything. It’s the wrong question. It’s not the quantity that’s decisive, but the quality. How do we know the essential, the things that have real weight? This is the real question.
As I said, to do this you need to develop the faculty of discernment. Before NLP and learning about critical thinking it took me years of reading tens of books to realize that some of them were not worth reading and others carried just a kernel of information which was important while the rest was irrelevant and on many occasions, pure garbage.
Now you know why I teach NLP and Time Line Therapy®. To save you that time.