Health,  Life

How to Deal with Information Overload in the Digital Age

Every day, we are bombarded with massive amounts of information, as if we should know everything happening in this world. However, a dense flow of information hinders the brain from deep processing of the content and eventually leads to a decline in our memory. So, take some time to clear your mind and “get out of touch with the world”!

Before, I thought of myself as a person who kept pace with the times, was well-informed and open-minded, but now, I am less and less afraid to say so. Although I try to keep up with the times, I always feel more and more powerless. Every day, massive amounts of information continue to pour in through various channels. As soon as I opened my eyes in the morning, the first batch of news of the day had already been sent to my phone. Before I’m fully awake, someone has sent a profile, an email, or a comment analysis. It seemed like everyone had something to say, but almost no one actually learned anything or offered their opinion. All kinds of news throughout the day are like buzzing locusts, flying on us in swarms, and they are growing in number and speed. The world is closing in on us like never before, and we are receptive to a never-ending flow of information with little resistance.

It seems like we should have a reaction to everything: climate change, veganism, gender equality, COVID-19, cryptocurrencies, the latest TV series, hypersonic weapons, vaccine boosters, investing and retirement plans…

“What do you think?” “Don’t you also think…?” “Have you heard?”

“Yes, I’ve heard about it, but I don’t know exactly what’s going on. I’ll find out later.” I should have answered this way, but in fact, I often expressed my opinion at that time without further research. . The most dangerous button in the world is the “send” button on social media. Through it, people can quickly create various news. “Internet public opinion storm” has become a new way of judging, and unprecedented misunderstandings, conflicts, quarrels and hatred have emerged among people.

In my 60s, I still have a thirst for knowledge and a willingness to listen. The question is, will others listen to my opinion? A young woman recently called me out for being a “typical white old man” simply because I disagreed with her. To her, I belonged to a certain group. Everyone seems to point to someone else these days and say, “You belong to such-and-such group!” “You should learn how to make yourself better!” correct!”

The world is always changing and that has never changed. It’s just that the change is so fast now that it makes me dizzy. Although I am ashamed to admit it, in many things, I really pretend to understand, saying “I know, I know”, but I don’t know anything. For example, a friend said to me before: “If you don’t buy bitcoin, you are too stupid.” I habitually nodded, but in fact I have no idea what a cryptocurrency is, and honestly, I don’t want to. to understand. For me, just figuring out how to buy stocks and bonds is a lot of fun. Although I use search engines to find information every day and read a lot of news every day, I always feel that I have acquired less and less knowledge. Just after I roughly understood or digested a piece of news or an event, the next piece of news came rushing in immediately, urging me to read and express my opinion.

Philosopher Rolf Dobelli, author of the bestselling book “The Art of Thinking Clearly,” argues that the deluge of news creates a feeling that “I understand the world better and somehow relate to it.” illusion, the reality is quite the opposite: news is a distraction, a waste of time, and, most importantly, irrelevant to most people’s personal lives and their understanding of the world. Do I have to digest all the “breaking news” that’s been thrown at me? Do I have to know how good Kate Middleton is playing tennis or what Rishi Sunak just tweeted?

Dobelli recommends “abstaining from journalism altogether,” which is nearly impossible in our day-to-day lives. What just happened yesterday is “old news” today. We can immediately know anything that happens in the world, which is also unprecedented in the development of human beings. Moreover, we ourselves also post news and upload photos on the Internet. While feeling overwhelmed by receiving too much information, we have also become “information manufacturing machines” that create pressure on others.

Nowadays, even when we are waiting for the train, we will stare at the big screen at the station and watch various information played on it in a loop. Where there are no screens, we pull out our phones to watch, like on the subway. A German public insurance institution conducted a survey on the digital consumption of Germans. Nearly 3/4 of the respondents said that they go online multiple times a day or stay online all the time: using social media to handle official business, send and receive emails, browse news, Watching movies and TV shows, playing video games, shopping online… The amount of information available to people is increasing every minute. According to data from the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy, in 2020, the world’s data volume has reached more than 50 zettabytes. If all these data are stored on CDs, and the CDs are piled up, it can reach an astonishing height of 2.6 million kilometers, which is about 63 times the circumference of the earth!

Psychiatrist Volker Busch in Empty Your Brain! “Written in the book: “The continuous bombardment of digital information is gradually clogging our brains.” The dense flow of information will hinder the brain from processing the content in depth, and eventually lead to the decline of our memory, and the things left in our minds are becoming more and more difficult. less. Our brains get used to the comfort mode and lose the ability to remember things by heart.

So, is “information dieting” a viable solution? The answer is yes. We may even have to go on a “digital fast” from time to time, because the next wave of digitalization is coming – the direct connection between the human brain and the computer. If this technology becomes ubiquitous, everything in the digital world will become faster.

Busch suggested that since we cannot escape, we should get along with the world in another way. Take 15 to 30 minutes every day, turn off your phone, calm down and feel the surrounding environment. Only when the brain has the opportunity to quiet its thoughts can we better feel our inner self, process past experiences, organize information, and remember them. In addition, it is also wise to “receive information selectively”. Choosing limited content, staying focused, reflecting, and questioning while reading or watching can also improve the information processing ability of the brain.

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