Brief Instructions for Overcoming the Anxiety of Informational Abundance

Share

Synopsis

The Internet is like a perpetual monsoon of information. How to survive and thrive within the torrent?

1/ The Internet results in a world of informational abundance—more information than we could ever process, from a dizzying number and variety of sources.

2/ Assertion: This abundance is catalyzing the realization of more diverse, complex, and fragmented human identities/worldviews than have ever existed.

3/ We are becoming fluid mosaics comprised of innumerable micro-experiences and shards of information from a near-endless and ever-growing number of sources.

4/ As we swim through numerous intermelding oceans of ideology, intention, culture, and perspective, near-infinite bits of information from countless contexts and belief systems are filtered by our minds and synthesized into a vast patchwork tapestry of identity/worldview.

5/ Despite filter bubbles counteracting this trend toward identity-/worldview-expansion, no one can remain purely static in the Internet age without being willfully blind/deaf.

6/ One must choose the anxiety of closing oneself off to informational abundance or the anxiety of opening oneself up to it.

7/ The anxiety of closing oneself functions as follows: One maintains an obstinate tribalism and false certainty in the face of mountains of evidence of one’s worldview’s incompleteness, resulting in severe cognitive dissonance, a fierce need to always be “right,” and a vague, almost-unconscious, gnawing sense that one is actually a fraud.

8/ Contrarily, the anxiety of opening oneself functions in the following way: One admits that one’s worldview is incomplete—that one actually “knows” very little in an absolute sense—and begins attempting to refine/expand one’s worldview to account for new information; in an age of informational abundance, one quickly notices that this entails changing one’s mind in subtle or significant ways all the time, every day; this process can be overwhelming and unsettling, especially at first.

9/ The only way to overcome the anxiety entirely (not that I have) is to embrace flux of identity/worldview; to accept deeply the idea of “grey pilling” oneself forevermore; to relinquish the need for the security of a static, unchanging identity/worldview; and to see the beauty and honesty in doing so.

10/ If one can accept a fluid, ever-changing state of being and open oneself up to an unending process of refining and rearranging one’s worldview/being, one may find a certain rapture in the Internet’s eternal wellspring of new information/experiences; one may find a spectacular opportunity to explore, to remain forever curious, and to make peace with the immense uncertainty inherent in the human condition.

If you appreciated this post, consider supporting Refine The Mind.

 
Jordan Bates is a writer and perpetually curious autodidact interested in just about everything. He tweets a lot. He questions all the things. He makes unusual rap songs. He wanders the globe and writes about the most vitalizing, useful, and/or world-changing insights he happens upon. He dreams of a more compassionate, cooperative global community in which every human being's basic needs are met and in which all sentient beings are respected. Befriend him and/or get his best ideas sent to your inbox, if you like. Amor fati, humans.

Tags: cognitive dissonance, internet, jordan bates, refine the mind, uncertainty

blog comments powered by Disqus