Brief Instructions for Overcoming the Anxiety of Informational Abundance

Brief Instructions for Overcoming the Anxiety of Informational Abundance

Pop Culture November 22, 2016 / By Jordan Bates
Brief Instructions for Overcoming the Anxiety of Informational Abundance

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.

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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.
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