November 14, 2005

Information overload

It happens to everyone; I’m no different. I’ve finally began to feel the the pain, and now I’m looking for ways to manage it. I confess: I’m an information junkie. I’m an information addict.

I’ve always been this way. Get to data first, and knowledge will surely follow. I’ve never been impatient with not understanding stuff—never expected to understand everything. My strategy to the world has always been to just read/listen/watch whatever’s going on, even if I don’t understand what the hell is going on.

An analogy to make this clear: I’ve got lyrics of hundreds of songs memorized in my head here. I can’t remember them at will of course; I’m not a robot or something. But everytime I hear a song I like, I can sing along (OK, not really sing along … I’ve got a terrible voice). Most of the times I haven’t a clue ’bout what these lyrics mean, but that’s never stopped me.

Every once in a while, I suddenly remember a song I’ve not heard for a while, and it makes perfect sense. Almost as if I’ve written it myself. Every once in a while, I get moments of such clarity that makes all the useless junk sitting in my head worthwhile. These moments never last long enough for me to quantify them (fancy term). They’re always fleeting, always on the edge of understanding. But that’s what makes me go.

You would not believe all the shit I’ve got stored in my head. I’ve got a great memory for ideas, concepts, plots, outlines, et cetera. I almost never remember specifics though—for example I usually have to read half-way through a book to even begin remembering all the character names. And sometimes these ideas just click.

But lately even I’ve been feeling overloaded. I’m high on data, and lately none of it is making much sense. It seems to me that I’ve stopped understanding it all, and just play along. I’ve become hyperactive. I can’t go a few hours without checking my mail, without checking for new stuff on my subscriptions.

There’s way too much data out there, and sadly my strategy won’t cut it in the internet era. I’ve begun to reject broader & broader pieces of data, and am afraid that pretty soon I’ll reject almost everything being offered to me. That’s my worst nightmare: I become like all the people out there who never think about stuff and never change their minds.

I just don’t know how to deal with the mess I’ve drawn myself into, but given time I’m sure I’ll manage somehow.

It’s the curse of getting stuff too easily, I’m sure of it. Remember: you can always stand on the shoulders of giants to look even farther away, but none of it is not gonna make any sense if you don’t work at it.

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