Sunday, June 7, 2009

Information Overload

I'm not sure if it's because I'm obsessive compulsive or not, but I tend to have a voracious curiosity. As an occasional consequence I find myself getting obsessed over a few topics to the point where I start to have headaches from trying to absorb so much information in a small amount of time. The topics often change, but my obsession stays the same.

For instance, over the last week or two I have been obsessed over environmental news so I've been reading every article I can on World Changing and Good, as well as the various cross posted articles that they link. That doesn't seem so bad, until you add it to the fact that I already spend seven hours a day watching/listening to podcasts and streams about technology from CNET, politics from The Young Turks, and news from Brian Williams, Keith Olbermann, and Rachel Maddow!

There simply aren't enough hours in the day for me to take in the amount of information I'd like to accumulate. Thankfully, since the podcasts/streams don't run on Saturday and Sunday, I can spend weekends catching up on my various YouTube subscriptions and the newly posted talks on TED.

Part of the problem comes from the fact that I want to know a lot about a lot of subjects. Most people seem satisfied to know a lot about a little, or a little about a lot. Nope, not me. I want to know as much information as I can possibly acquire. That said, I don't actually want to DO anything with the knowledge... I just want to know it!

This used to annoy the hell out of Ex. She was of the view that if you see problems in the world you should make an effort to help make things better. It's an admirable position, to be sure. Unfortunately, for her, I like to tell people how messed up the world is, and then tell them how it should be changed. I remember, on our second date, Ex asked me what I was doing to change the world. I looked at her like she was crazy and responded, "Why the hell would I want to do something like that?"

On reflection, I suppose Ex is more noble and respectable in that regard than I am. My main pleasure from accumulating knowledge seems to come from using it to intimidate others with my intellect. That probably speaks volumes to my insecurity, but there it is. Part of me WOULD actually like to do something with all this information I've gathered, but it's hard to find the start of the yellow brick road when all you can see in front of you is the land of Oz.

Thankfully (or perhaps aggravatingly; we'll have to wait and see), I'll be taking a forced vacation from all this data acquisition next weekend when I head to Hickory, NC for three days to visit my grandmother, Mame. Even though it's a suburb of Charlotte, Hickory is somehow the land that technology forgot. Cell phone coverage sucks there and Internet access is slow almost to the point of futility. There's nothing to do there but talk to Mame and play with my aunt's chihuahua.

I can already sense the feeling of withdrawal...

Have fun and keep living life... or some approximation thereof.

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