Too Much Information

July 15, 2009

The information age has brought about an unfortunate side effect.

Everyone feels they have the right, nay, the duty to be up in everyone’s business.

Now that information is so easy to come by, we’ve got an odd paradox. People don’t like to read a lot. We’ve got shorter attention spans than rats on speed. But we think we have to know every last bit of dirt that’s being churned out by the news, magazines, and yes, even Twitter. We’re like that horde of ants trying invading your home looking for every bit of food in your house.

I have a theory, and it’s kind of timely, so I’m proud of it. Right now, a bunch of money is being pumped into our toilet of an economy. A undisputed side effect of so much money being available is that the money is worth less. Of course, economics is about the last area of information that most people don’t care to mine, so I don’t know if that’s lost on people or not.

Anyway, the more information we’re bombarded with, the more advertisements, the more news, the more gossip, the more mundane, inconsequential information we try to fill our pudding-like brains with, the less valuable it all becomes. Someone needs to tell this to ad firms. They’re paying way too much money for ads I don’t give a rip about.

There is a lot of information that just doesn’t matter. And because people strive eat it up, it makes all our knowledge worth less.

Here’s some things that people miss the point with too much information.

People Who Don’t Know Us
This is an obvious one, and a painful example of people not having real friends. Two million people care what Ashton Kutcher is doing right now. I don’t. I care if he entertains me or not, which he doesn’t. If he can’t be entertaining at work when he’s getting paid, how entertaining can he be in real life when he’s not? And let’s not forget the old fashioned celebrity Twitters you still find on the magazine rack. Jon and Kate? Classic example of ‘too much worthless information.’ They would’ve been fine if they had kept their lives to themselves, but they saw dollar signs, and thought people would care about their ordinary family, and thus they destroyed it. Which is probably the best thing that ever happened for the show…

The Government
I don’t usually comment on current events, and definately not politics. But this week there was some story about the CIA and a secret plot to kill some terrorists after 9/11. Everyone wets themselves when a story like this comes out and starts throwing around words like ‘cover up’ which is a phrase that makes me want to hurl, it’s so cliche. “Whaaaat? You mean that a government agency which everyone knows takes part in every facet of national security actually had a plan to kill some bad guys after 9/11? I smell a cover up! Squawk, Squawk, Squawk.”

It’s like people haven’t gotten used to the fact that WE DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING THE GOVERNMENT DOES. Every President has done things without the direct approval of you. If we did know everything, they couldn’t do their jobs. Now I am all about accountability, especially in this day and age; I’ve read 1984. But does the government keep you accountable for your job? Do they come to your cubicle and ask if you have any secret projects? Hmm? Did they spellcheck the new office newsletter you wrote? No? Then deal with the fact that other people can’t do their job if they have to tell you every move they make.

A lot of people like believing in conspiracies, which I think is cute. Cute in the way the pitiful way a one legged dog would be cute. A lot of people also like ‘questing.’ I suspect there is some overlap in these two groups. X-Files nerds just have waaaay too much faith in the government’s abilities. Everything the government does comes out eventually. It always does. People can’t keep secrets. Look at how quickly Watergate fell apart. Someone has to talk, or get a book deal or some shallow thing. That’s proof that there is no conspiracy. There is always a leak! The reason they’re called conspiracy theories, is that the leak hasn’t come out yet, and the fact that there’s no leak proves there’s no conspiracy. I win!

And if next week our government overlords rain down on us with alien technology from Roswell and enslave us all, I will graciously retract this statement and hail our new masters and you can throw it in my face from your post in the salt mine.

God
No matter what God says, it isn’t enough. We’re just never satisfied. We feel like we have to pick his brain, break him down, and box him up. He has to fit in our little theory. We want answers, and now! God has to be a Calvinist, or whatever, or we’re not happy. Like it’s any of your dang business if God’s a Calvinist!

Some people look at the Bible and they say, ‘That’s it? Isn’t there another chapter? Is this the abbreviated version? Did some pages fall into my hat?’ They get to the end and just can’t believe God would leave things so open ended (which is one of the universally known best literary devices ever, so it turns out God’s a pretty good author.) But people like things tied up like a Hollywood movie, and like any movie that makes money, it’s got to have a crappy sequel that ruins the whole franchise.

Here it is. You aren’t going to figure God out outside of what He’s said. It’s impossible. If you really think about what God has told us, it’s possible to understand in your mind, but to fully grasp it isn’t even possible. So study what He’s said, and don’t obsessively defend theories that He hasn’t spelled out. Your theories, your 5 step plan to figuring out God, your plans to have ‘effective’ prayers are so short of all there is. Concentrate on what God has already said. You’ll never reach the depths of it all.

What’s your favorite thing to obsess over? What do you think we should cut down on?