Knowledge obesity and ignorance unplugged

Given today's near-universal access to knowledge and an infinite number of sources and options for accessing it, a new type of intelligence seems to be emerging in the last few years, maybe decades. Time management and prioritizing sources of information have always been important. In today's world, however, a happy marriage of these skills has become much more critical than ever before, not to mention the multitude of creative ways in which information can be processed and tailored to your individual needs.
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Every now and then a new buzzword comes along, only to travel across the globe in no time. To speed things up, there's usually a social-media "trending" label attached to make sure a wildefire spreads even faster across the multicultural pastures of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, to start with. Looking at management terms alone, one lexical career follows another, with sustainability, disruptive innovations, agility, resilience and synergy among the more popular culprits. You know what I mean, don't you?

Too much of a good thing

Given today's near-universal access to knowledge and an infinite number of sources and options for accessing it, a new type of intelligence seems to be emerging in the last few decades, one where time management and prioritizing sources of information have become more critical skills than ever before. In the past, it was all about schools, universities, libraries, training programmes, apprenticeships and workplaces themselves. Today, it's more about identifying the best possible ways to achieve a pre-defined goal in a pre-defined period of time, using globally-accessible technologies. 

Imagine, for example, your task at hand is to explore the concept as broad as 'justice'. How should you go about it? Where to start? Britannica or Wikipedia? Philosophy or law? Lectures or textbooks? Universities or legal practice? Or maybe watching Prof. Michel Sandel's Harvard series is a good starter? After all, it says something about today's world that a university lecture, held in a rather traditional (albeit interactive) form, freely available on YouTube, should garner as many as 12,600,000 views...over 11 years.

Information overload vs. learning on steroids

As learners, we are conditioned to be much less patient than our parents used to be at our age, and there's little we can do about it, unless we choose to become a little more aware of our very own behavioral patterns and limitations at some point. The sheer diversity of stimuli we are bombarded with every single day, however, is making it very difficult for us, from the moment we wake up and reach for our smartphones, up until when we put our laptops to sleep mode (ironic as it sounds) after a day's work, having explored hundreds of websites, dozens of apps and great many sources of video content. 

Remember the times when you had to wait another week to watch a new episode of your favourite TV series, preferably in the company of family or friends? Now, all you have to do is to turn on your Netflix, HBO or Amazon Prime app and indulge in whatever content pleases your heart, as much as you want, up until your brain says 'no more!'. 

Under such circumstances, it's all too easy to lose focus and get distracted. Not temporarily distracted but REALLLLLLY distracted, in the life-long sense of the word. While binge watching may not be as harmful as other addictions, not at first sight at least, it certainly carries some long-term risks in terms of how we go about our everyday lives, and how attentive we are, how patient, how tolerant, how considerate of others and how mature, of course.

How about 2021?

Need a worthy New Year's resolution? How about watching less or at least looking back every once in a while, with a simple question at the back of your head: Could I have used all this time a little better, for my own or someone else's benefit? 

No pressure, but life REALLY IS a precious gift and the things we so often take for granted are in fact much more fragile than we would like them to be, as 2020 has proved, over and over again, all too painfully, for far too many. It's almost fair to say that never in the history of mankind has something so small caused so much havoc in the lives of so many, in such a short period of time, sparing next to no country, city or home.


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