Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Too Much Information

In my last post I talked about how I gave up the newspaper and let go of the part of my persona that needed to be an "informed citizen". I want to expand on that a little bit today.

I find that living simply involves so much more than physically simplifying my environment. The mental clutter has to go too. And, man, in our culture, with so much going on all the time and so much information available, it's easy to have a mind full of nonsense. Just crammed full.

I've always been an information junkie, but embracing simple living has forced me to take a good hard look at this "need to know" business. What do I really need to know? What kinds of information should I let in? Is it my job, as one measly individual, to be informed about every thing of significance in the world? And how could one measly individual possibly contain all of that? In our global society, there's just too much going on. Even the most informed citizen would have to be missing huge chunks of information and would never truly be able to see the big picture. We will always be acting from partial information.

When I accepted the impossibility of being truly well-informed, I changed directions. There are a few things I choose to study, and I prefer to be informed through books and longer treatments of these issues, rather than snippets on the Internet or in news reports. The things I want to know, I want to know as fully as I can. All the rest, I leave to others. I know that the knowledge others have gleaned is out there, should I ever need to tap into it. But I don't need to try to hold it all in my puny little head. What's the point of that anyway? To be able to contribute well to this world, I think we each need to focus on our own small part of it. We need to become experts in our own small patches of earth, not generalists. The wisdom we find in our own patch of earth will have practical applications. All that general knowledge is just wind, hot air.

True knowledge is derived from direct experience. The less we focus on the diffuse knowledge of the Internet and other media, and the more we turn to real knowledge birthed in the matrix of earth and sky around us, the more meaningful our actions will be. Our actions will spring from Truth which waits all around us if only we could be present. Truth waits to be apprehended--to be directly perceived. Can we adequately apprehend Truth from the news snippets we watch on t.v. or read on the Internet? Finding Truth (and the practical knowledge that derives from it), requires presence--to be right here, right now, in this moment.

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