Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Just some clutter to add to the clutter

Lately whenever I’m on my computer, I feel so overwhelmed by information it’s unbearable. There’s just so much out there to see and read that it’s defeating. My brain literally experiences content overload, and I find myself wasting time reading about the most trivial things that have no significance to my life. Yet when I tell myself I won’t go near Huffington Post or Wikipedia, I feel almost guilty. It’s like there’s information out there to be known, and I’m not taking the time to know it. But when it comes down to it, in the big scheme of things, does it even make a difference?

Trivia certainly has its place in my world. Random facts and stories help to make a well-rounded person, and they can serve as great conversation starters. But how much information is too much? While some of this knowledge is useful, a lot of it just feels like clutter. And when it becomes clutter, it’s difficult to distinguish what’s worth caring about, and what isn’t.

I think that’s kind of a common theme for a lot of us. The Internet and the abundance of information it offers has desensitized us to the point that we can’t figure out what is worth a second glance and what isn’t. This is especially true with the sad stories and tales of misfortune – which make up the majority of headlines.

After spending some time browsing the Web I’m often left feeling like there’s no point in even attempting to make this world a better place. There’s just so much wrong with it. And when that happens, people throw in the towel. There’s a very fine line between caring too much and not caring at all. Nothing stirs our emotions anymore.

Once upon a time there was this thing called a print newspaper, which had a limited amount of space. It was the job of journalists to navigate that space and to decide what was critical for readers to know, and what wasn’t. Responsible citizens of our world could read The Globe or The New York Times front to back and feel like they did their part to become concerned, mindful beings. We could rest easy knowing that we felt empathy for something or someone, if nothing else.

That doesn’t happen any more, and I miss those days. Readers have to maneuver through billions of stories in an honorable attempt to find something worth knowing, worth caring about.

I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is, or why it is, but it’s like the more I know, the less I feel connected. I may need to pull a Thoreau and peace out for a while.