Thursday, January 20, 2011

Say what? Something new? Feed your brain at your own risk

We live in the age of extremes. We've got extreme sports, extreme energy drinks, and extreme marketing campaigns. Apparently our doctors often need to take extreme measures. Our leaders lead us into war against the extremists. Even Vanilla Ice was to the extreme when he rocked the mic like a candle and lit up the stage and waxed chumps like vandals. (Unfortunately I will never be able to un-remember all the words to "Ice, Ice, Baby"--word to your mother.)
The people at the "news" keep our attention rapt. Make sure you're not too comfortable...not now. Don't you know that we just had the worst Thursday ever during a hurricane season. And every year the hurricane season is the worst we've ever seen. I shouldn't take this too lightly, though. When the mud slides, and the earth quakes, and volcanoes spew Bird Flu into our water supply....AMBER ALERT!!!
Everything is the best thing ever or the worst thing since outdoor toilets. One day, eggs are nature's perfect food...a real life saver. Tomorrow they'll declare that eggs cause cancer...and AIDS...and the plague.
I blame information. We have so much information bombarding us, it's hard to know what is useful and what is useless or even made up. How many times have you caught yourself referencing some web article you read, and you're relaying it to others as fact. There is no verifier on the Internet. You can make up anything you want, and people will believe long as it looks like a website they should trust. I'm as guilty as anyone:
"We, as a people, have the most information since Moses tamed the dinosaurs."
Who said that? It has quotation marks, so someone must have said it. I read it on Yahoo, I think. NO! I just made it up.
Media---Internet, radio, TV, satellite, fiber optics, telephones, microphones and Semaphore---all serve one purpose...the spread of information. Our global motto should be, "Dude, check this out!"
I foresee two likely problems we will face during The Information Age. 1.The easy access to any information, including information that professionals have spent lifetimes to fully understand, lets any schmuck try to do things beyond their knowledge or ability. There will be something important overlooked. It will be overlooked because someone used the information that someone else gathered and produced. Eventually this is going to catch up to someone important. Hopefully the result will not be catastrophic. 2.We're bound to be a world of doubters. Like the boy who cried wolf, false information will lead to a general distrust of our fellow human's facts. This will lead to someone important ignoring something important.
Too much information can be just as damaging as too little information.
We've absorbed so much over the last 50 years--it would be prudent to have a period of digestion. Instead we'll fill our bellies until we the gluttons we are.