by Madeleine Kando
The older I get the more I am confronted with the problem of finding enough time to read, listen to and watch the enormous amount of information we are all confronted with over our media tools: t.v., radio, papers and the internet. There is nothing wrong with information per se, but when there is too much of it, it tends to become toxic. I mean too much information is like too much rain: some of it is good for plants, too much of it will drown them and make them rot.In other words, we are suffering from information overload. One sure sign of information overload is one’s inability to produce the appropriate emotional response to information. Here is an example: I am driving my car, listening to NPR. The newscaster informs me that serial killer X has just eaten the cut up remains of his latest victim. Without interruption, the same voice continues to inform me that we might expect some rain within the next 24 hours. I don’t bat an eye. Just waiting for the next bit of news. THAT is a true indication of ‘information overload’. I am suffering from the toxic fumes of too much information.
So I thought it might be useful to devise a test. This test will help us, poor saps, who are subject to this endless torrent of information, to protect us, like an umbrella if you will.
Here is an example of the test, which I have named the ‘duh test’.Information:‘SMOKING IS BAD FOR YOUR HEALTH’.
Answer this information with the test: ‘well … duh!’If the information does not pass the test, scrap that information.
Don’t you find yourself often listening or watching programs that pretty much state the obvious? Even certain books that are on the best-seller’s list would not pass my ‘duh test’. Although I admit, if a book is well-written the writing itself makes up for the content. One such book is ‘In Defense of Food’ by Michael Pollan. Yes, the content of the book does not pass the test. I have known since I was 10 years old that vegetables are good for you. That lucky charms are bad for you. But it helps to have someone who writes so well reiterate my belief for me. So, in this case the ‘duh test’ is an affirmation. Meaning: ‘see, I was right all along’.
I highly recomment this test to you. It will save numerous hours of staring at the boob tube or ruining your eyes in front of your computer. Every time you read or watch something, say that mantra: ‘well.. duh’. The time saved by applying this simple test could be applied to going for a walk with your dog, planting your garden or wondering what you will make for dinner.
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Wednesday, July 23, 2008
by Madeleine Kando